Improving adolescent preventive care in community health centers

Jonathan D. Klein, Marjorie J. Allan, Arthur B. Elster, David Stevens, Christopher Cox, Viking A. Hedberg, Rita A. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Objective. To evaluate implementation of the Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services (GAPS) in Community and Migrant Health Centers (CMHCs). Design. Before and after comparison of health center policy, clinician and adolescent self-report, and chart reviews in 5 CMHCs. Participants. Eighty-one preintervention and 80 one-year postintervention providers and 318 preintervention and 331 postintervention 14- to 19- year-old adolescent patients being seen for well visits at 5 CMHCs. Intervention. Health center staff were trained to implement GAPS and were provided resource materials, patient questionnaires, and clinician manuals. Main Outcome Measures. Delivery of and receipt of preventive services and perceived access to care. Results. CMHC systems changes were related to stronger leadership commitment to adolescent care. Providers reported high levels of preventive services delivery before and after guideline implementation. After guideline implementation, adolescents reported increases in having discussed prevention content with providers in 19 of 31 content areas, including increased discussion of physical or sexual abuse (10% before to 22% after), sexual orientation (13% to 27%), fighting (6% to 21%), peer relations (37% to 52%), suicide (7% to 22%), eating disorders (11% to 28%), weapons (5% to 22%), depression (16% to 34%), smokeless tobacco (10% to 29%), and immunizations (19% to 48%). Adolescents were also more likely to report knowing where to get reproductive or mental health services and were more likely to have received health education materials. Implementation also increased documentation of recommended screening and counseling in 51 of 79 specific content areas assessed in chart reviews. Conclusion. Implementing GAPS increased the receipt of preventive services at these health centers. Adolescents received more comprehensive screening and counseling, more health education materials, and had greater access to care after implementation. GAPS implementation may help improve the quality of care for adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-327
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Community health centers
  • Preventive services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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