In spring of 2021, Erie Niagara AHEC staff embarked on a journey that would transform the way they thought about teen healthcare. In collaboration with HOPE Buffalo, Program Manager Brittany Mitchell completed the PATCH (Providers and Teens Communicating for Health) Site Coordinator Training to establish this program at Erie Niagara AHEC.
The PATCH for HOPE Buffalo and Erie Niagara AHEC Program is an innovative, youth-driven initiative working to ensure all young people receive high-quality, youth-friendly services in their community. We believe that teens are experts in their own experiences, and the most qualified individuals to educate on the concerns they face when accessing healthcare.
Through PATCH, teens ages 14-18 are trained to become Teen Educators and lead workshops for both healthcare providers and their fellow teens. The peer-to-peer workshops empower participants to manage their own healthcare and equip them with the skills needed navigate and advocate for youth-friendly services. Provider workshops encourage participants to give teens the healthcare they need and deserve. Professionals have the opportunity to engage with teens and hear genuine insights into teen concerns, preferences, and realities.
In October 2021, 12 teens from zip codes 14206, 14211, and 14215 completed the PATCH Teen Educator Orientation. They learned about important teen health topics like mental health, body positivity, and sexual identities. Teen Educators also practiced conducting the PATCH for Teens and PATCH for Providers workshops. Throughout the next 8 months, these youth will continue to learn about relevant health topics and become resources to their peers, families, and communities. Teen Educators will be conducting workshops starting in January 2022. We can't wait to see all the amazing work they will accomplish!
Are you interested in learning more about teen health? Host a PATCH workshop and ask a Teen Educator! They can give you the information you need. Contact Program Manager and PATCH Site Coordinator Brittany Mitchell at email@example.com to schedule a workshop!