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Youth Health

We provide clinical services, health promotion, education and training, advocacy, and research in youth health.
About

​The Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine is committed to improving the health of young people in British Columbia through clinical services, health promotion, education and training, advocacy, and research. 

The Division advocates a strengths-based model of adolescent development, focusing on health and well-being, and the transition to adulthood. We communicate with patients and families in a way that is clear, respectful, and respects privacy and confidentiality. 

Our clinic runs a bit differently than most other medical clinics. In our clinic, the healthcare team sets aside time to get to know you as an individual, focusing not just on medical issues but on you and your life as a whole.

In our clinic we take a whole person approach to care. We work with youth between ages 12-18. Some youth we see may have a medical condition already diagnosed, some may have undiagnosed conditions, others may have developmental and social challenges. For whatever reason, the youth we see have been impacted by health challenges that are interfering with their ability to function in their family life, school, and/or with their peers. Our clinic offers a comprehensive assessment. We can work on setting goals and finding resources which can lead to better health and wellbeing. 

We might talk with you about friendships, dating, school, family, sexuality, jobs, home life, sleep, eating, health conditions, social activities, drugs, stress, and your mood and worries (just to name a few topics). We want to work with you to help you move successfully towards healthy adulthood. If needed, we can help with the transition to adult services. And if we are not the best place to help you meet your needs, we also offer referrals to other professionals and resources to find the best support.

Youth are seen on their own and with their families, caregivers, or support persons as we strive to encompass Youth Friendly and Family Centered Care.
 

You need to be between 12 and 18 years old and have a referral from your physician (for example, your pediatrician, family physician, psychiatrist, or specialist physician) or primary care nurse practitioner, for a complicated youth health issue. 


Talk with your doctor about whether a referral is right for you.

 

Your physician should contact the Youth Health Program Secretary at (604) 875-3472 or fax a referral form to (604) 875-3958. 


If you have already been to the Youth Health Clinic or have a referral placed already, you can call or e-mail the Youth Health Program Secretary directly to make an appointment at (604) 875-3472 or toll-free at 1-888-300-3088 extension 3472. 

 
Please bring:
  • Your BC Medical Card (Care Card) 
  • Any letters or reports from your doctor and school 
  • A list of your medications 
  • Any questions or ideas about what you want from the visit 
Typically our first appointment will be about an hour and a half long. We will start by meeting with you and your support people (whether that is your family, caregiver, friend, or a social worker), so that we can understand everyone’s concerns, questions, experiences, and observations.

If you agree, we will also meet with you by yourself and talk to you to gain a better understanding of your situation from your own point of view. What we talk about is kept private (confidential) and is not shared with anyone outside of the team of professionals without your permission. We hope that this will help you to feel safe in talking to us about sensitive topics. There are a few limits to privacy, which are discussed below in the "Privacy and confidentiality" section.

You have the right to access your own health information and to be involved in your care. Please ask any questions you might have to make sure you understand the information.
 

Follow up visits are decided with you and your family before you leave from your first appointment. Typically we will see you 4-5 times for about 1 hour and then help you find supports closer to your home if longer-term support is needed. However, this varies for each person, and if you need more or fewer appointments we can make that happen. We make follow up appointments through our Program Secretary who can be reached at (604) 875-3472 or toll-free at 1-888-300-3088 extension 3472.

 
  • I have the right to live and to have my pain and suffering treated, regardless of my age, gender or income. 
  • I have the right to be viewed first as an individual, then as a patient.
  • I have the right to be treated as a unique individual with my own abilities, culture, and language.
  • I have the right to be afraid and to cry when I feel hurt.
  • I have the right to be safe in an environment that is unfamiliar to me.
  • I have the right to ask questions and receive answers that I can understand.
  • I have the right to be cared for by people who perceive and meet my needs even though I may be unable to explain what they are.
  • I have the right to speak for myself when I am able and to have someone speak on my behalf when I am unable.
  • I have the right to have those important to me close by when I need them.
  • I have the right to learn, relax, and feel comfortable even if I am receiving care.
  • I have the need to have my rights fulfilled. 
Consenting to treatment means giving your doctor permission to treat you. Doctors aren't allowed to examine or treat you without your consent.  

The age when children begin to give their own consent varies. It is not measured in years. You are able to give your own consent when you are able to fully understand your choices and their consequences. Until then, your parent or guardian will make these decisions for you.  

If you have more questions about consent, talk to your health care provider.  
 

When we discuss sensitive topics and ask you personal questions,  your personal information will be kept private. No one will share your information without your knowledge and permission.


The only times this changes are: 

  1. If you are at risk of killing yourself 
  2. If you are at risk of seriously hurting someone else 
  3. If you haved been abused or neglected by an adult 

If any of those things happen, we would have to involve the necessary people to help keep you safe.

 
You have the right to information about yourself. We encourage you to ask questions and get involved in your health care. You can ask your nurse or doctor if you can read your medical chart. Your parents can also ask to see your chart, but they need YOUR permission first. 
 
When you come to see a doctor in clinic, you might feel that they are asking you lots of questions. But what about YOUR questions? Asking questions during your appointment is a great way to be involved in your health care.

Here are some ideas about how you can get your questions answered:
  • Plan ahead - think about what you want to ask and write the questions down. Keep track of your questions in your smart phone or on a piece of paper (check out this video on keeping track of your health information using your phone or tablet).
  • During your appointment, write down the answers to your questions too!
  • Make sure you understand the answer - ask the doctor or nurse to explain if you have any further questions. If you don’t understand, keep asking until you do.
  • Ask an adult to help you to ask your questions.  
Find more information on asking questions and being involved in your appointments in the Transition Youth Toolkit.

The BC Children’s Hospital Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is a group of diverse, energetic youth aged 12-23 who meet monthly to work on projects to support youth-friendly, patient-centred care.


The YAC creates opportunities for youth leadership at BC Children’s as members build awareness of the needs of young people among faculty and staff, and strengthen connections between youth and their care providers.  


The YAC operates under the leadership of the Division Adolescent Health and Medicine, and is managed by Sabrina Gill, Nurse Clinician, supported by Dr. Curren Warf, Division Head.  For more information and to attend a meeting, contact Sabrina.  

Check out some of the YAC's past projects here.

 



Team

Our team is committed to supporting your health. We are changing constantly to meet your needs. We want your ideas and feedback to make sure we are helping you. There are several people on our team and we work with other specialists in the hospital as well. 

These are the main members of our team:

Dr. Curren Warf is a Clinical Professor of Paediatrics and Head of the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine. He is a pediatrician and specialist in adolescent medicine that has worked with teens and their families for many years and in multiple contexts. Dr. Warf attended medical school at the UCLA/Drew School of Medicine in Los Angeles, and completed his Pediatric Residency and Adolescent Medicine Fellowship at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. After being on faculty at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California School of Medicine, he relocated to Vancouver in 2009 to join the BCCH/University of British Columbia Department of Paediatrics and become Head of the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine. He holds a Masters of Science Degree in Education from the University of Southern California. Dr. Warf is a Fellow of the Canadian Pediatric Society, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.

 

Dr Dzung Vo is a pediatrician specializing in Adolescent Medicine, and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, at BC Children's Hospital and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his residency in Pediatrics and fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Vo sees health from a "whole person" perspective, which involves the body, the mind, and the social environment. He can help address the broad range of adolescent health issues, and is particularly interested in mindfulness-based interventions, and working with youth with chronic illness, chronic stress, and chronic pain. He is passionate about helping young people manage stress, develop resilience, and move towards positive health and behaviors.

 

Dr. Peiyoong Lam is an Assistant Clinical Professor for the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine Department of Pediatrics and the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for Children and Adolescents. She graduated from the University of Melbourne and completed her Pediatric Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. She works mostly in eating disorders on the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program in BC. This program provides inpatient care as well as day program and outpatient care with 2 new assessment clinics per week. She also has a clinical role in Adolescent Health and Medicine.  Her teaching and research interests are in Adolescent Medicine and Eating disorders and she contributes to province-wide guidelines in management of pediatric eating disorders in the emergency department, acute pediatrics, and family medicine. 

 

Dr. Eva Moore is an Adolescent Medicine Pediatrician, and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine. She completed medical school at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland and trained in Pediatrics at the Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington. Her fellowship in Adolescent Medicine was completed at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and she has a Masters of Science in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Moore works in the Youth Health Clinic, Provincial Eating Disorders Clinics, Social Pediatrics outreach sites and Adolescent Medicine hospital consultation. She enjoys working with youth and their families to find pathways to better health and wellbeing by using their own strengths with the support of available resources. She has a special interest in improving health of marginalized and underserved populations which is the focus of her research and community engagement.

 

Dr Katherine Mitchell earned her medical degree from the University of Calgary. She completed residency in Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia. She is currently a fellow in the Department of Adolescent Health and Medicine. Dr. Mitchell is interested in understanding the complex relationship between each youth's biological, psychological and social health. She enjoys working with youth to help them cope with a wide range of adolescent health issues, to assist them in identifying and moving towards their own wellness goals. Her current research focuses on boys who have been sexually exploited, and explores precursors to exploitation, the exploitation experience and health outcomes. 

 

Sabrina graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University College of the Cariboo. She also holds certificates from the Mental Health Specialty Program and Practice Education for Health and Human Services. Sabrina has gained extensive experience working with the Adolescent population as an RN and has a special interest in educating adolescents on how to build resilience and strength. She has the opportunity to work in a diverse role as a clinician, educator, and resource for staff, patients and the community. Her main goal is to advocate and encourage "youth friendly care" for the adolescent patients at BCCH.

 

Resources

For Youth and Families

For a comprehensive list of resources and services by category, please visit the BC Children's Hospital ON TRAC Services and Resources Guide.  

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Drug Cocktails - Get the facts about the risks of mixing prescribed medication with booze and street drugs

YouthinBC - crisis-line, online support, and educational resources

YouthCo - A Vancouver-based youth-driven organization. Includes information about HIV, HepC and sexual health. Also provides support and education programs.

YouthVitalSigns A youth-driven research project that gave Vancouver a 'report card' in youth subjects. 

NIDA for Teens - The National Institute on Drug Abuse's teen website has scientific information, games and a blog all about street and prescription drugs.

First Call - Is a great website for youth and their families, especially the resources for transitions from childhood to youth, and youth to adulthood.

BC Council for Families - Programs and resources for families

Websites for Youth with Chronic Health Conditions

The Gutsy Generation website has teen-relevant information and ways to get involved with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

ON TRAC

Transitioning Responisbly to Adult Care

Check out this website for youth, families and health care providers to learn more about tools, tips and activities to help youth get ready to transition to adult care.

On Trac BC

Youth-to-Youth Violence

BC Children's Hospital and Kwantlen Polytechnic University created these books in partnership to provide information and practical solultions for those affected by youth to youth violence. The effects of youth violence are many and can last long after an episode of violence. Although statistics show that youth who are violent or are victims are a small number compared to the total number of youth who live in BC, violence is a reality in many youth's lives.

The Youth-to-Youth Violence project was partially funded by Acting Together: Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) project at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Youth to Youth Violence: A Guide for Parents

Youth to Youth Violence: A Guide for Youth

Youth to Youth Violence: A Guide for Adults Working with Youth

Libraries at the hospital

The Kelty Resource Centre

The Family Resource Library

Other BCCH Libraries and specialty libraries


Resource development

The Youth Health Program is active in developing resources for youth, families and health professionals. We are provide education and tools to the staff of British Columbia Children's Hospital (BCCH) to support them in providing best care for the youth and families see at BCCH. There is also a variety of material available to teens and parents through our Family Resource Library

Mindful Awareness and Resilience Skills for Adolescents (MARS-A)

Mindfulness means "paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjdugmentally."  Mindfulness-based clinical interventions teach mindfulness meditation skills, and have been shown to help people cope with chronic stress, pain, and mood symptoms.  MARS-A is an 8-week outpatient training program to teach adolescents (age 15 - 19 years) mindfulness skills to cope with psychological distress, including depressive and anxiety symptoms, chronic pain, and chronic stress.  MARS-A is a partnership between Adolescent Medicine and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at BC Children's Hospital.

For information and referrals to MARS-A, MARS-A Mindfulness Flyer for Providers and Patients_Spring 2015.pdf

For more general information on mindfulness with children and youth, including a short video "Mindfulness: Youth Voices" - see the Kelty Mental Health Resource Center mindfulness page

Contact the Youth Health Program Secretary or fax a referral form




Mindfulness

Mindful Awareness and Resilience Skills for Adolescents (MARS-A)

Mindfulness means "paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjdugmentally."  Mindfulness-based clinical interventions teach mindfulness meditation skills, and have been shown to help people cope with chronic stress, pain, and mood symptoms.  MARS-A is an 8-week outpatient training program to teach adolescents (age 15 - 19 years) mindfulness skills to cope with psychological distress, including depressive and anxiety symptoms, chronic pain, and chronic stress.  MARS-A is a partnership between Adolescent Medicine and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at BC Children's Hospital.

For information and referrals to MARS-A, MARS-A Mindfulness Flyer for Providers and Patients_Spring 2015.pdf

For more general information on mindfulness with children and youth, including a short video "Mindfulness: Youth Voices" - see the Kelty Mental Health Resource Center mindfulness page

Contact the Youth Health Program Secretary or fax a referral form



SOURCE: Youth Health ( )
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