The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently profiled Minneapolis-based healthcare clinic Aqui para Ti as part of their “Innovations Exchange” feature online. Aqui para Ti (“Here for you”) has provided a full range of services to Latino adolescents and their families–including medical care, health education, and referrals–since 2002.
As AHRQ notes, a 2009 evaluation of Aqui para Ti showed distinct improvements in health-related outcomes for program participants, the majority of whom (98.5% of the parent population and 80% of the adolescent population) were born outside of the United States. Latino families can face extraordinary challenges during this transitional time, which may be compounded by high rates of teen pregnancy and inadequate support for parents and others who take on parenting roles within Latino households.
The clinic uses an innovative, family-centered approach, developed after community-led research from the non-profit Wilder Foundation identified a strong need from local parents who requested “guidance on how to talk to their children about healthy behaviors.” Aqui para Ti was designed with this need in mind, and incorporates a unique curriculum for parents delivered through regular, onsite parenting discussion groups.
As the evaluation results indicate, adolescent visitors increased their birth control use as a result of their interaction with Aqui para Ti, with half of all youth electing to use a highly effective birth control method (i.e., IUD, birth control pill, or patch). 86% of all youth surveyed indicated that their “overall health had improved since initiating program services,” and 100% of respondents noted that they “trusted” Aqui para Ti clinicians. Parents, too, reported improved communication with children as a result of their interactions with clinic staff, as well as increases in “their confidence in seeking guidance and support from providers [...to] support their children’s development.”
The full AHRQ article, which includes a comprehensive description of Aqui para Ti activities and useful suggestions for adoption, is available here: www.innovations.ahrq.gov/content.aspx?id=2784
For more on Aqui para Ti, including clinic hours and contact information, click here: www.hcmc.org/depts/hcclinics/Aquiparatiprogram.htm