News and Events

Next Steps for Adolescent Health

photo georgeAdolescents and young adults make up over a quarter of the global population. They are also considered the most pervasively neglected group in global health. Yet a quiet revolution is now bringing recognition that adolescents are central to almost every major challenge in global health. Bringing greater visibility to adolescents and their health has been an important facet of that recognition, which Professor George Patton has done much to promote.

Professor Patton was recently at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, Washington, where he presented a symposium titled ‘Next Steps for Adolescent Health’ (hotlink to The presentation tracked progress in our understandings of adolescent health and major influences on health over these years. It also addressed currently available global data, gaps, and potential solutions.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is responsible for the Global Burden of Disease Study which will play an important role in the new Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Well-being  and in guiding the development of better health information systems for this age group.

RCH Inaugural Graduation

susan webThe inaugural RCH Graduation was held in the Ella Latham Theatre on Thursday 3rd April to celebrate the graduation of our patients beyond the care of the Royal Children’s Hospital and to wish them well for their transfer to adult health services. Attended by 45 patients, the event was a collaboration between Transition Services, Live Wire (Starlight Foundation) and the Chronic Illness Peer Support (ChIPS) Program (Centre for Adolescent Health). Graduating patients, their families and friends along with RCH clinicians and senior members of the RCH Executive including the CEO were in attendance. The ceremony included a key note speech by Professor Susan Sawyer (Director, Centre for Adolescent Health) who acknowledged that while many patients and their families would miss the staff at the RCH, that they were not alone: “As you have grown up with us, whether you like it or not, you have also become part of our lives, and you will also be missed by us”. On behalf of all of the RCH staff, she thanked the young people for “allowing us the honour of being part of your lives”. Following this, a new ‘graduate’ shared her story with the audience that was followed by a DVD screening of well wishes from clinicians, and finally, the presentation of graduating certificates. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the photo booth provide a great hit with patients, family, friends and staff alike who all had fun documenting the special occasion over refreshments.

The occasion highlighted a very significant event in the lives of our transitioning patients. Feedback has been exceptionally positive, which suggests we can look forward to the event becoming a regular feature on the RCH calendar.

Congratulations to Dot Henning

Dots front page IJSA March 2014Dot Henning is congratulated for her efforts in leading new research into the sexually transmitted infection Mycoplasma genitalium in young people experiencing homelessness who access care at the Young People’s Health Service (YPHS) that is run by the Centre for Adolescent Health.

The study offered STI screening (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Mycoplasma Genitalium) to asymptomatic young people accessing primary level care at YPHS for health concerns other than sexual and reproductive health. Of the sixty young people tested, 8 tested positive for Mycoplasma Genitalium and 10 for Chlamydia, and three testing positive for both. Mycoplasma Genitalium is increasingly recognized as an important STI, and this study provides important data to the prevalence of this STI amongst marginalized youth. Additionally, this study highlights the complex health needs of this population, and supports the need for comprehensive primary health care.The research findings have just been published in the March 2014 edition of the International Journal of STD & AIDS with the article gaining a mention on the journal’s front cover. Dr Peter Azzopardi (Research fellow, Centre for Adolescent Health), Clinical Nurse Consultant Donna Eade and Youth Health Nurse Alison Langstone (previously) from YPHS, and Dr Alex Marceglia and Nurse Practitioner Alison Bean-Hodges from the Sexual Health Service at the Royal Women’s Hospital provided valuable assistance with the study.

New Intake of students

Orientation 2013 006Centre for Adolescent Health and the University of Melbourne recently ran a two day orientation to welcome this year’s intake of post graduate students. Students undertake a Graduate Certificate, a Graduate Diploma or a Masters in Adolescent Health & Wellbeing, and come from a variety of professional backgrounds including nursing, teaching, medicine, allied health, social work and youth work. What they all have in common is a passion for making a difference with young people.

12 year partnership

PoliceSince 2003, the Rotary Club of Central Melbourne (Sunrise) has sponsored a member of Victoria Police to study adolescent health & wellbeing at the University of Melbourne through the Centre for Adolescent Health at RCH.

With young people disproportionately represented in crime statistics, the capacity of Victoria Police to effectively engage with young people is vital. The most recent recipient of the Silk Miller Scholarship, Liz Toffoletti (undertaking the Masters) recently received her award at a morning tea, attended by Tom Callander (Rotary), Prof Susan Sawyer ( CAH) and Commander Sue Clarke (Victoria Police), pictured here with Liz Toffoletti

Graduation Day


Proud smiles, congratulations and photos were the order of the day as we honored the achievements of our graduates at a ceremony held in the beautiful Gryphon Gallery in the 1888 building at the University of Melbourne. Moving testimonials were delivered by Rachel Hughes from the oncology stream and Gavan Bennett from the wellbeing stream. It was great to catch up with students to hear about their work and future plans as they put theory into action at their respective workplaces.

New facilities for homeless young people

YPHS photoThe Centre for Adolescent Health provides health services to homeless and socially marginalised young people through the Young People’s Health Service (YPHS) at Frontyard, 19 King Street Melbourne. Melbourne City Mission has undertaken a major renovation of the space at Frontyard, with a new-look entrance and intake area that now provides an open, respectful waiting area for young people who can access a range of youth services including primary healthcare.

YPHS has three specially equipped clinic rooms that enable the team of three  nurses with advanced adolescent skills to provide clinical services (Monday to Friday) between 12 and 4.30pm.

Alongside the physical restructure, a new intake and assessment tool has been developed to facilitate access to the range of services at Frontyard for all young people who are homeless and / or at risk of homelessness. The tool is designed to ensure that young people are aware of the range of services available at Frontyard as well as identifying the various needs individuals might have. In particular, the tool enables greater engagement by our nurses in prevention of health issues before they become a crisis.


Few Australian adolescents with type 1 diabetes have confidential visits with doctors


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Not many adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) in Australia have confidential visits with their doctors as guidelines recommend, new research suggests.While guidelines emphasize the benefits of seeing young people alone for confidential consultations, parental involvement is known to contribute to better diabetes control in young people with T1DM, and parents may feel conflicted about allowing their children to have more independence in the health setting, the authors write online February 10 in Journal of Adolescent Health.

New publication: Balancing parental involvement with adolescent health care

Dr-Rony-DuncanA recent paper Balancing Parental Involvement With Adolescent Friendly Health Care in Teenagers With Diabetes: Are We Getting It Right? was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

This paper discusses how the rates of confidential care for adolescents in chronic illness outpatient settings are low. Parents also feel conflicted about confidential care for adolescents in this setting. Understanding how to attend to both parent and adolescent perspectives is an important clinical and research opportunity.

Lancet Editorial

adolescents1One Quarter of the world’s population are adolescents. Over the last 18 months there have been increasing numbers of academic publications recognizing the importance of adolescent issues, and now there is to be a Lancet Commission in Adolescent Health in partnership with the University of Melbourne, University College London, London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Columbia University. Vol 383 February 1, 2014 385
Click here to read the Article