This article describes the development and promotion of a Teen Wellness Center (TWC)—a teen-centered, full-service clinic—intended to increase teen access to contraceptive and reproductive health care. Responding to historically high rates of teen birth in Gaston County, North Carolina, The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) opened the TWC to (1) implement evidence-based interventions for youth, (2) increase youth access to contraceptive and reproductive health services, (3) mobilize the community to address teen pregnancy prevention, (4) educate key stakeholders on teen pregnancy prevention approaches, and (5) work with diverse communities to provide culturally appropriate strategies.
To increase access to adolescent reproductive health services, the article authors (1) built community support for adolescent reproductive health services, (2) provided technical assistance in opening the TWC, (3) strengthened referral partnerships between community organizations and clinical services, and (4) educated teens on how to access reproductive health services. These efforts led to a 12.5% increase in the number of adolescent reproductive health services clients aged 15-19 years, and a 12% increase in family planning clients aged 18-19 years. Notably, findings indicate youth may find less stigma associated with seeking services from a clinic offering a range of health services than one providing only services labeled “family planning” or “STI.”
The findings, though limited to teen pregnancy prevention and access to reproductive health care, are significant because they may be similarly applicable to other sexual health services, such as sexual health literacy programming and HIV/STI prevention and treatment services.