217727 Adolescent Leadership Council: A novel program for teens with chronic illness

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gary Maslow, MD , School of Public Health, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Kimberly Alexander, BSN , Pediatrics, Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC
Cathleen Adams, MD , Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI
Wendy Froehlich, MD , Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Kate Herts , Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Jodie Senouillet, MS , Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI
Matthew Willis, MD, MPH , Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI
Michelle Rickerby, MD , Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI
Need/Background: Adolescents with chronic medical illness often struggle to transition to adulthood and adult medical care. Nonetheless, few interventions exist to guide the process.

Program Objectives: The Adolescent Leadership Council (TALC) of Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI is a novel program that brings together high school and college students who live with chronic illness. TALC provides group mentoring and community leadership opportunities. Program Design: Participants in TALC live with over thirty chronic illnesses (diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, heart disease, etc.). TALC staff and college mentors facilitate group discussions about the experience of illness. Topics include diagnosis, transition to adult care, family, friends, and school. Participants engage in leadership/community outreach activities including producing a newsletter, organizing presentations, and serving on a hospital advisory board. Parents participate in a concurrent group.

Program Outcomes: Since 2005, 70 adolescents, 30 college mentors, and 70 parents have participated in TALC. Participants have distributed 6,000 newsletters, presented at grand rounds, a national conference, and to high school and college students. A formal evaluation using standardized measures of TALC participants found a significant decrease in loneliness and isolation. All high school seniors who participated in TALC have gone on to college. Programs in Virginia and Wisconsin were started in 2007 based on TALC's model.

Conclusions: Engaging adolescents as leaders and providing mentorship is of benefit to both the adolescents and the community. Adolescents with chronic illness can share their expertise on the experience of illness to decrease peers' loneliness and isolation, and improve systems of care.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1 Describe program goals of The Adolescent Leadership Council. 2 Understand potential youth leadership activities for young adults with chronic illness in the community. 3 Understand the role of group mentoring at decreasing loneliness and isolation for young adults with chronic illness.

Keywords: Chronic Illness, Children and Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in the program planning and evaluation in its entirety.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.