Adolescent and Young Adult Health

“By empowering today's youth, we will lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future for generations to come.” (United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon)

This document has been peer-reviewed by Fellows of the RACP to help you find high quality CPD resources on adolescent and young adult health, development and wellbeing.

Resources are categorised by type:

  1. Key organisations & websites
  2. Webcasts
  3. Courses
  4. Tools
  5. Key journals
  6. Recommended reading

Professional Development in Adolescent and Young Adult Health

Major demographic change has resulted in the current population of 1.8 billion adolescents and young adults being the largest that the world will ever see.  Characterised by major changes in the body and brain, the years from 10 to 24 are a highly dynamic period of human development second only to infancy in terms of its significance across the life course. Adolescence is the period during which individuals “acquire the physical, cognitive, emotional, social and economic resource that are the foundations for later life health and wellbeing” (Lancet Commission, 2016).

Beyond being an important period of human development, adolescence is also a time of changing health needs. This is especially in relation to the onset of new health risk behaviours (e.g. smoking, alcohol and other drug use), the emergence of mental health disorders (75% of adult mental disorder onsets before 25 years), new sexual and reproductive health needs (e.g. contraception, pregnancy, STIs, gender orientation), and greater risks from injury (e.g. road traffic injuries). A significant proportion of adolescents and young adults also have chronic health conditions from physical, mental and developmental disorders.

Health services have important roles to play around adolescent and young adult health and medicine. Clinicians are required to manage established health conditions, support young people’s growing health literacy and self-management skills, and identify and respond to emerging health concerns. Managing the transition from paediatric to adult health care for adolescents with chronic health conditions requires working with young people, their families and the health care system. While structural, community and school based interventions are important population responses for many adolescent health risk behaviours, clinicians can play important roles in anticipating, identifying and responding to new health needs. 

Important actions for Fellows include:

  • Reviewing your clinical skills to maximise your clinical effectiveness with young people and their families.
  • Understand how different determinants affect the health of adolescents and young adults. Age, gender (gender orientation and identity), socio-economic status, education, ethnicity, and urban or rural domicile all have an impact.
  • Understanding that a lot of what happens during adolescence has a great impact on one’s future health and that of the next generation. Tobacco-use, harmful use of alcohol, drug abuse, mental health disorders, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity typically commence during adolescence.
  • Generating interest and commitment for adolescent and young adult health and medicine at global, regional and national levels.

Short on time? Try this:

1. Key Organisations & Websites

Useful as a starting point and overview of current work in this area

CPD tipCPD TIP:  Don't forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these websites. Download the current MyCPD Framework here.

  • The Adolescent Health Research Group (AHRG)
    The AHRG works on a diverse range of projects. The Group aims to provide high quality, accurate and timely research that seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of all young people in New Zealand.

  • Australian Indigenous Health Info Net
    The Australian Indigenous Health Info Net website provides links to policies, projects, resources and publications related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents’ health.

  • Australian Association for Adolescent Health
    The vision of the Australian Association for Adolescent Health is to bring young people and professionals together to promote the health and wellbeing of adolescents throughout Australia. Their website provides resources such as reports, policies and information on professional development opportunities.

  • Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM)
    SAHM is a multidisciplinary organisation committed to improving the physical and psychosocial health and well-being of all adolescents through advocacy, clinical care, health promotion, health service delivery, professional development and research. SAHM produces policies and guidelines, hosts an annual scientific meeting, runs a clinically oriented listserv, and publishes the Journal of Adolescent Health.

  • International Association of Adolescent Health
    IAAH is a multidisciplinary, non-government organisation with a broad focus on adolescent and young adult health. IAAH is committed to the principle of youth empowerment in all aspects of its affairs. It encourages and fosters national youth health organisations. 

  • The Lancet
    The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing brought together experts from a wide range of disciplines to produce a blueprint for future investments in adolescent and young adult health. The report, Our Future, is available here. The Lancet website has also curated a range of its publications on adolescent health that are freely available. (See other sections of this curated collection for additional resources from The Lancet).

  • Raising Children Network
    This is an evidence based website that clinicians can recommend to parents of adolescents. Some information is also relevant for clinicians.

2. Webcasts

Useful for brief overviews of topics and recent developments

CPD tipCPD tip: Don't forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these webcasts in Category 5 (1 credit/hr). Download the current MyCPD Framework here.

  • Being Me
    In this Four Corners episode Isabelle and her parents share their story and experiences, in order to help other transgender children to not feel alone. 

  • About a Girl
    'About a Girl' is an Australian Story episode which follows a remarkable transgender teen who has had to overcome prejudice, bullying and legal hurdles. 

3. Events and Courses

Useful for in depth, structured learning

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these events and courses. Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

  • Global Adolescent Health
    This 6 week free online course, created by the Centre for Adolescent Health at The University of Melbourne, explores the dynamic factors affecting the health and wellbeing of young people around the world.

  • Postgraduate Program in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing
    A Masters, Graduate Diploma, and Graduate Certificate are offered by the University of Melbourne through the Centre for Adolescent Health. This online course is designed to meet the needs of those who work with young people from different disciplines. There are two streams on offer; Health Promotion and Oncology.

  • Parts I & II Cancer Care for Adolescents and Young Adults
    The Royal Children's Hospital Centre for Adolescent Health provides two introductory courses on cancer care for adolescents and young adults, designed for those currently working with young people who have cancer or anyone with a professional interest in the field. 

  • Postgraduate Program in Youth Health
    The University of Auckland offers a Post Graduate Certificate/Diploma or Master in Youth Health. Subjects are delivered by a mix of distance and face-to-face teaching, with the ability to structure practicums towards specific areas of interest. The course is designed for any professional with an interest in developing academic skills in youth health. 

  • An Introduction to HEEADSSS Assessment
    This free online course, developed through the Werry Centre (Auckland) and now hosted on the Goodfellow website, offers an introduction to health professionals who are interested in increasing clinical skills in engaging with and assessing adolescents and young adults. 

  • Adolescent Health: Improving Health Outcomes in Young People
    This fee paying online course has been developed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, U.K., and is designed to equip practitioners with the skills to help young people lead healthier and more active lives. 

  • Online Learning Opportunities from the Office of Adolescent Health
    The Office of Adolescent Health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services provides a number of online learning opportunities targeted towards organisations in the field of adolescent pregnancy prevention, as well as other professionals providing services to adolescents. 

  • CEP 1: An Introduction to Co-existing Problems in Youth
    This free e-learning course is designed to upskill health professionals working with young people. The content has been developed by the Werry Centre at the University of Auckland. 

4. Tools

Useful for implementing what you have learned in your daily practice

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these tools. Download the current MyCPD Framework here.

5. Key Journals

Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on specific topics

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for your time reading these ​journals in Category 5 (1 credit/hr). Download the current MyCPD Framework here.

  • The Lancet
    The Lancet website has curated a range of its publications on adolescent and young adult health that are freely available.

  • Journal of Adolescent Health
    The Journal of Adolescent Health, a multidisciplinary scientific journal, is the official publication of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. 

  • International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
    The International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the dissemination of new information in the field of adolescence. 

  • Journal of Youth and Adolescence
    This journal publishes papers on the subject of youth and adolescence aimed towards a range of educators and allied health professionals. 

  • Emerging Adulthood
    Emerging Adulthood is an interdisciplinary journal for advancements in theory, methodology, and empirical research on development and adaptation during the late teens and twenties. 

6. Recommended Reading

Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on specific topics

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for your time spent on these readings in Category 5 (1 credit/hr). Download the current MyCPD Framework here.

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RACP curated collections are managed by the Learning Support Unit, based on the contributions and peer review of Fellows of the College and other experts.

We thank Dr Bridget Farrant, Professor Susan Sawyer, Professor Kate Steinbeck and Dr Michelle Telfer for their contributions to this page.

Tell us what you think about this page and make suggestions for improvement by emailing myresources@racp.edu.au.  

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