“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:
Key organisations & websites
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.
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1. Key Organisations & Websites
Useful as a starting point and overview of current work in this
- 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.
Useful for brief overviews of topics and recent developments
- 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
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.
Useful for implementing what you have learned in your daily practice
5. Key Journals
Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on
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 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
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians 2015. Position Statement: Sexual and Reproductive Health Care for Young People
This position paper by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) highlights the significance of sexuality and relationships education, as well as sexual and reproductive health care, for adolescents and young adults in Australia and New Zealand. A number of other position statements and policies produced by the RACP with relevance to adolescents are also available from the RACP's Policy & Advocacy Library.
Health for the World's Adolescents: A Second Chance in the Second Decade
This e-report, published in 2014, highlights the World Health Organisation's (WHO) approach to priority adolescent health policies and programmes.
Azzopardi, P.S., Kennedy, E.C., et al. (2013) The Quality of Health Research for Young Indigenous Australians: Systematic Review. Med J Aust; 199 (1): 57-63.
A systematic review of literature was undertaken to assess the extent and quality of the evidencebase related to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous young Australians.
The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the Second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 2015.
The Department of Health's report on 'The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents' presents an overview of the mental health of young Australians, following a survey of over 6,300 families with children and/or adolescents conducted in 2013-14.
Kelly, A.B., Mason, W.A., et al. (2016) Depressed Mood During Early to Middle Adolescence: A Bi-national Longitudinal Study of the Unique Impact of Family Conflict. J Youth Adolesc. 45(8); 1604-13
This article from the Journal of Youth and Adolescence explores the extent to which family problems are linked to adolescent depression.
The Health and Wellbeing of Māori New Zealand Secondary School Students in 2012
The University of Auckland and Adolescent Health Research Group have released this report of Māori-specific findings following New Zealand’s largest survey of the health and wellbeing of taitamariki Māori in secondary schools.
[Youth 2012] Clark, T., Fleming, T., et al. (2013) Health and Well-being of Secondary School Students in New Zealand: Trends between 2001, 2007 and 2012. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 49(11), 925-934.
This article describes indicators of health and well-being for New Zealand secondary school students, explores change between 2001, 2007 and 2012, and compares these findings to international estimates.
Denny, S., de Silva, M., et al. (2014) The Prevalence of Chronic Health Conditions Impacting on Daily Functioning and the Association With Emotional Well-Being Among a National Sample of High School Students. Journal of Adolescent Health 54(4):410-5.
This study aims to describe the prevalence of self-reported chronic health conditions among high school students in New Zealand. It looks at the extent to which the condition impacts upon their activities, and explores the association between the level of impact of the illness or disability and the emotional well-being of students with chronic health conditions.
Suris, J.C., and Akre, C. (2015) Key Elements For, And Indicators Of, A Successful Transition: An International Delphi Study. Journal of Adolescent Health 56(6):612-8.
This study set out to reach an international consensus to determine the key elements of a program on the transition of patients from paediatric to adult care, and what indicators could be used to measure its success.
Boyd, C.P., Aisbett, D.L., et al. (2006) Issues in Rural Adolescent Mental Health in Australia. Rural and Remote Health 6:501.
Existing literature on rural adolescent mental health in Australia is reviewed in this article, which explores the nature of mental health issues, the characteristics of rural communities, and barriers to seeking professional help for rural adolescents in Australia.
Bourguignon, J-P., Parent, A-S. (eds): Puberty from Bench to Clinic. Lessons for Clinical Management of Pubertal Disorders. Endocr Dev. Basel, Karger, 2016.
This book aims to provide a better understanding and management of pubertal disorders. Experts share their views on critical issues, while each chapter presents lessons for clinical management in an attempt to link basic research, physiology and pathophysiology with the clinical management of pubertal disorders.
Colver, A., Longwell, S. (2013) New Understanding of Adolescent Brain Development: Relevance to Transitional Healthcare for Young People with Long Term Conditions. Archives of Disease in Childhood 10.1136/archdischild-2013-303945.
This article explores how the brain changes much during adolescence, and how the adolescent brain supports the challenges specific to that period of life.
Position Paper of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine: Medical Management of Restrictive Eating Disorders in Adolescents and Young Adults. Journal of Adolescent Health 56(2015) 121-125.
The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine has released this position paper which outlines the role of the medical provider in diagnosing and treating eating disorders, and managing these patients.
Mission Australia Youth Survey Report 2015
Mission Australia's Youth Survey looks into the lives of young Australians, with the aim of giving policy-makers, parents advocates and health care professionals a greater understanding of Australian adolescents. It focuses on the barriers which may prevent young people from reaching their goals.
Publications from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
The AIHW provides information, publications and statistics on a wide range of health topics. Of particular interest in the field of Adolescent Health are:
Young Australians: Their Health and Wellbeing 2011
Diabetes among young Australians
Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia
Trends in Non-Drinking Among Australian Adolescents
This research report, published by Dr Michael Livingston from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW, illustrates how rates of non-drinking among Australian adolescents aged 14-17 years have increased sharply over the past decade.
Duncan, R.E., Jekel, M., et al. (2014) Balancing Parental Involvement with Adolescent Friendly Health Care in Teenagers with Diabetes: Are We Getting It Right? Journal of Adolescent Health 55 (2014) 59-64.
Parental involvement has been shown to contribute to better diabetes control in young people with Type 1 diabetes mellitus. This study reflects on the nature of confidentiality in young people with diabetes, parental involvement, and how these apparent tensions can be reconciled.
Australian Youth Development Index 2016
The Australian Youth Development Index analyses youth development across domains of education, health, employment, political and civic participation.
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