Creating Healthy Opportunities: Conversations 995

Creating Healthy Opportunities: Conversations with Adolescent Health Experts

“Creating Healthy Opportunities: Conversations with Adolescent Health Experts,” was commissioned by the Partners in Program Planning for Adolescent Health (PIPPAH) initiative of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The views presented are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily represent the views of the MCHB, HRSA, or any individual PIPPAH grantee.

The National Conference of State Legislatures is a PIPPAH grantee. Our adolescent health, safety and wellbeing work focuses on a range of policy topics, including: teen pregnancy prevention, adolescent brain development, juvenile justice, mental health, positive youth development, risky behavior, tanning restrictions for minors, tattoos & body piercing for minors, traffic safety, and youth in transition from the foster care system. While teenagers might look like small adults, they are experiencing profound developmental changes and they need safe environments and caring adults to guide them through experiences they are facing for the first time. As young people navigate the new challenges of adolescence, they make decisions about sexual activity, engage in new and dangerous activities like driving, and develop new needs for mental health care services and substance abuse prevention and treatment. The Conversations with Adolescent Health Experts below will bring the policy issues alive and help adults understand what it's really like to be a young person today.

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PIPPAH grantees include the following organizations:

Shay Bilchik PhotoShay Bilchik (listen to interview) is the founder and Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute in Washington, DC. The Center’s purpose is to focus the nation’s public agency leaders, across systems of care and levels of government, on the key components of a strong juvenile justice reform agenda. This work is carried out through the dissemination of papers on key topics, the sponsorship of symposia, and a Certificate Program at Georgetown providing public agency leaders with short, but intensive study, and ongoing support in their reform efforts. Prior to joining the Institute on March 1, 2007, Mr. Bilchik was the President and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America, a position he held from February of 2000. Shay led CWLA in its advocacy on behalf of children through his public speaking, testimony, and published articles, as well as collaborative work with other organizations. Prior to his tenure at CWLA, Shay headed up the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJDP) in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he advocated for and supported a balanced and multi-systems approach to attacking juvenile crime and addressing child victimization. Before coming to the nation’s capital, Mr. Bilchik was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami, Florida from 1977-1993, where he served as a trial lawyer, juvenile division chief, and Chief Assistant State Attorney. Mr. Bilchik earned his B.S. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida.


Jane Brown PhotoJane Brown (listen to interview) is the James L. Knight Professor in the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and an expert in the effects of the media on sexual health and the use of media to promote health. She has been involved with a number of interventions using mass media to improve public health, including a 10-city evaluation of a media campaign to keep adolescents from starting to smoke cigarettes, and a state-wide campaign to reduce sexual violence among adolescents. She just completed a NICHD - funded R01 longitudinal assessment of the influence of the sexual content in American media on North Carolina adolescents’ sexual beliefs and behaviors. Brown is the co-editor or co-author of four books, including Sexual Teens, Sexual Media (Erlbaum, 2002) and is on the editorial board of six journals in communication research, adolescent and sexual health. She has served on the national boards of Advocates for Youth, the Trojan Sexual Health Advisory Council, and the CHHD -W Population Sciences Committee (PSC) study section. She currently is on the Research Advisory Committee for The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and the Board for Children, Youth and Families of the Institute of Medicine.


Angela Diaz PhotoAngela Diaz (listen to interview) is the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Pediatrics and Community Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York, NY and Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, a unique program of free, integrated, interdisciplinary primary care, reproductive health, mental health, and health education for teens. She is President of the Children’s Aid Society. Dr. Diaz has been a White House Fellow, a member of the FDA, and a member of the Board of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She reviews grants and serves on advisory panels for the NIH and the CDC and has received several NIH grants. In 2003, she chaired the National Advisory Committee on Children and Terrorism. In 2008, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Diaz is active in public policy and advocacy and has conducted many international health projects in Asia, Central and South America, Europe and Africa.


Abigail English PhotoAbigail English (listen to interview) is Director of the Center for Adolescent Health & the Law in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Center is a nonprofit legal and policy organization that works nationally to promote the health of adolescents and young adults and their access to comprehensive health services. Ms. English has worked on legal and policy issues affecting adolescents’ access to health care for more than three decades. She has advocated for the legal rights of adolescents in the health care system, participated in major litigation affecting the legal rights of children and youth, authored numerous publications, taught courses in adolescent health and the law, and lectured widely to youthserving professionals. She has served on many boards and advisory groups and as President of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. Her research and policy interests focus on the barriers that affect adolescents’ access to comprehensive health care and on strategies for overcoming those barriers. Her expertise includes key issues related to financial access to health care for adolescents and young adults, consent and confidentiality protections, HIV/AIDS services, sexual and reproductive health care, and the rights of vulnerable populations of young people.


Richard Kreipe PhotoRichard E. Kreipe, MD (listen to interview) is Professor of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Fellowship Director at the University of Rochester, NY; Board Certified in Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Kreipe is currently past-President of the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM). He co-edited the first Textbook of Adolescent Medicine, and is currently co-editing the Textbook of Adolescent Health Care to be published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In recognition of his achievement as an interdisciplinary educator, he has received 12 faculty teaching awards, the Andrew W. Mellon Dean’s Teaching Scholar Award, and was the SAM Visiting Professor in Adolescent Medicine for 2003. He was also the recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Adolescent Health Adele D. Hofmann Award for 2003. He is the Principle Investigator at the University of Rochester in the New York State Department of Health Center of Excellence for the Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth public health initiative, a long-term, statewide, communitybased effort to promote positive youth development. Dr. Kreipe is the Medical Director for the Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders. He also serves on the New York State Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board.


Karen Brown is a public radio reporter and freelance writer who specializes in health care. Her work frequently appears on NPR and in national magazines and newspapers. She has also produced several radio documentaries on mental health topics, including childhood bipolar disorder, siblings of the mentally ill, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She has won numerous national awards, including the Edward R. Murrow Award and Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, as well as journalism fellowships, most recently the 2008-09 K aiser Media Fellowship in Health. Her work is featured online at  


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