If you care for a tween or teen, chances are you probably already know that adolescents and young adults have their own unique sets of health needs and challenges.
During this often awkward transition between childhood and adulthood there may be times when seeing a pediatrician may not seem quite right but an adult provider might not be the best fit either. This is where an adolescent medicine specialist comes in.
But what exactly does an adolescent medicine specialist do? We sat down with Jasmine Reese, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Specialty Clinic at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to learn more.
Q: What is adolescent medicine?
A: Adolescent medicine is a branch of pediatrics that provides specialized care for the physical, mental and social well-being of teens. This does not replace your child’s primary care provider, but works in cooperation with them to provide care for specific health related needs. Our clinic sees patients from age 12-21 and we can offer guidance and support to both the patient and their family during the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Q: What are the most common conditions that you see adolescents for?
A: I see adolescents for a variety of concerns including reproductive health concerns including changes related to puberty, contraception counseling and initiation, and sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment. I also see teens for mental health concerns including for eating disorders, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other behavior problems that occur both at home and at school. Our clinic routinely screens for any mental health related issues and we are able to diagnose and manage many of these problems. We are also able to link them to the appropriate resources and therapists within the hospital or within the community when needed.
About Jasmine Reese, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P.
Undergraduate studies: microbiology and molecular biology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
Medical degree: Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica
Pediatric Residency training: Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona
Adolescent Medicine Fellowship training: University of Alabama at Birmingham
During her fellowship training Dr. Reese also obtained a Masters degree in Public Health with a specific focus in Health Care Organization and Policy and Maternal and Child Health. During that time she has gained knowledge and expertise in a variety of adolescent health problems including reproductive health, weight management, and complex psychosocial issues. Dr. Reese is now currently dedicated to building an adolescent medicine specialty practice and teaching the medical residents and students of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Q: Why might a parent want to bring a child to an adolescent medicine specialist instead of a primary care pediatrician or an adult provider?
A: A primary care provider may be looking for red flags of certain conditions, but may not have all the resources for managing the complex needs of adolescents—including time and special training. At our Adolescent and Young Adult Specialty Clinic, we can take the time to talk one-on-one with our patients as well have in-depth conversations with their caregiver.
A typical appointment can last anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes, allowing plenty of time to accomplish all aspects of treatment and education. This is especially important for issues that may be uncomfortable for parents to discuss, such as reproductive health in teen girls. We can educate not only the patient on the subject, but also guide the parent or caregiver on how to talk about the topic with their teen.
Q: What kind of training is required to be an adolescent specialist?
A: I am board certified in pediatrics with additional three-year subspecialty fellowship training in adolescent medicine. This means I spent an extra three years completing additional education focused on the care of teens and young adults.
Q: You’re also an assistant professor with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Does this mean you work with the pediatric residents?
A: Yes, we have two residents that rotate through each clinic block. This training will help them learn the unique aspects of teen care, how to perform thorough psychosocial assessments, and how to manage a variety of complex adolescent health problems. This rotation also will allow them to develop skills they can utilize in the general pediatric setting.
Q: What inspired you to specialize in teens? What do you like most about your job?
A: I had a really good mentor that was able to bring energy and a dynamic atmosphere to the education and care of teens, which inspired me to pursue a fellowship in adolescent medicine. I enjoy establishing rapport with the teen population and being able to offer dedicated time for the care of their unique needs.
The Adolescent and Young Adult Specialty Clinic is located in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Outpatient Care Center on the St. Petersburg campus. A referral is required. To learn more or to make an appointment please call 727-767-TEEN (8336).