Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Fall 2017 - 16

M e d i c a l R e c o R d F e at u R e

Teen Pregnancy Prevention:

Providers' Role
Prevent
Pregnancy,
Plan Your
by Jen May, Ed.D., Program
Future Manager, Berks Teens Matter
Co-County Wellness Services
BerksTeensMatter.org

O

Prevent
Pregnancy,
Plan Your
Future

BerksTeensMatter.org

ur nation has recently celebrated a decline
that has twenty-seven local partners who serve
in teen births. Yet birth rates for ages 15on BTM's Leadership Committee. The mission
19 remain the highest among comparable
of Berks Teens Matter is "for public and private
countries. Approximately one in four (1/4) females
stakeholders to work together to develop and
will become pregnant at least once before age 20,
implement a coordinated plan to sustain programs
and one in five (1/5) teen moms will have a second
and practices to reduce teen pregnancy, leading
child during her teen years. The national decrease
to improved educational outcomes and long term
in teen births should be applauded, but our efforts
well being of families and communities in Berks
BerksTeensMatter.org County." Our BerksTeensMatter
.org
are far from over, especially in Berks County. Berks
goal is to reduce teen pregnancy
County teen birth rates continue to be higher than
in Berks County by 40% by 2022. We aim to
the rate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For specific age
achieve our goal through four strategic priroties: community
ranges (18-19) as well as specific zip codes (19601-04) the rates are
engagement; education and youth; parents and families; and
three to four times (3-4 x) higher than the Commonwealth.
health care providers.

Prevent
Pregnancy,
Plan Your
Future

Teen births and parenthood affect a whole community, as they
are closely associated with a host of social and economic issues that
impact teen parents, their children and society. Teenage mothers are
more likely to live in poverty, depend on public assistance and be
in poor health than slightly older mothers. Their children are more
likely to suffer health and cognitive disadvantages, come in contact
with the child welfare and correctional systems, live in poverty
and become teen parents themselves. Older teens (18-19) account
for seventy-two percent (72%) of teen births nationally, and the
trend is similar in Berks County. Since many older teens still attend
high school, or have begun college, unplanned pregnancies can
disrupt or derail educational achievement. From a purely economic
standpoint, teen births cost Berks County $18,000,000 annually.
The statistics show a bleak future for our community if we
cannot focus on reducing teen births and the existing disparities.
Research suggests that the practice of individual non-profits
working independently of one another to impact social change is
inept. If we want to make sustainable change, communities must
work together within a coordinated and systematic practice called
collective impact. Formed by Co-County Wellness Services in
2014, Berks Teens Matter (BTM) is a collective impact initiative
16

|

www.berkscms.org

Prevent
Pregnancy,
Plan Your
Future

Health care providers can play a critial role in reducing
teen pregnancy. Every day, youth are exposed to messages
about sexuality. Providers are in a unique position to
offer accurate, timely information in a confidential
setting. Dialogue should include the importance of
delaying the initiation of sexual activity as well as
contraceptive options if a patient is sexually active,
or is planning to become sexually active. These
contraceptive options should include IUDs and Implants,
which are highly effective, and have been approved
for use with adolescents by The American College
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), The
American Medical Association (AMA), The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Berks Teens Matter recognizes that many
providers have not been trained in adolescent
reproductive health and may not feel comfortable
broaching the topic. Any conversation with teens
about sex and contraception has the potential
to include family values, cultural expectations,


http://www.BerksTeensMatter.org http://www.BerksTeensMatter.org http://www.BerksTeensMatter.org http://www.kos-spine.com/

Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Fall 2017

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