There are more than 42 million adolescents between the ages of 10-19 in the United States. Worldwide one in six people is a teenager. As recently noted by the World Health Organization, “Promoting healthy practices during adolescence, and taking steps to better protect young people from health risks are critical for the prevention of health problems in adulthood, and for countries’ future health and social infrastructure.” In other words, if we want to keep our communities healthy, teen health is essential.
Since the mid-20th century, the health field has recognized the unique needs of adolescents and their right to developmentally appropriate services that openly address the health and behavioral realities of teen life. Today, adolescent medicine is an established field as a sub-specialty of pediatrics. MDs with training in pediatrics, family medicine, or internal medicine can enter adolescent medicine fellowship programs.