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University of Iowa News Release

Sept, 3, 2003

UI Adolescent Health And Resource Center Opens Sept. 12

A new center with a focus on preventing and treating teen substance abuse will provide health and social services for teenagers and their families. The Adolescent Health and Resource Center of the Adolescent Medicine Program in the University of Iowa Department of Pediatrics will hold an open house for the public from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12. The center is located at 509 Kirkwood Ave. in Iowa City.

The new center primarily will serve adolescents from Johnson and Iowa counties, but will consider clients from the surrounding area. Free comprehensive assessments (by appointment) will help teens and parents identify areas for concern, including substance abuse, emotional issues, school difficulties and family problems. The initial assessment also identifies each teen's strengths and talents.

"We believe that if we diagnose teens better, we can match them with treatments better," said James Hall, Ph.D., UI associate professor of pediatrics, social work, public health and nursing and the project's principal investigator. "It can be difficult to define what the problems are because of complicating factors. In addition, sometimes children and teens are misdiagnosed because schools don't have the resources to conduct a comprehensive assessment."

Hall said, as an example, that a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be placed in a behavioral disorders classroom instead of receiving the instructional support he or she needs. In addition, nearly two of three teenagers who have a drug problem also have at least one diagnosable psychological concern such as ADHD, anxiety, major depression or a neuropsychological problem.

Caseworkers will work with teens and their families to understand assessment results and identify appropriate steps to address problems. The center services include resource recommendations, limited free medical care and limited free psychological testing. The center's hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with assessments offered by appointment in the afternoons and evenings.

The center receives funding as part of Project Iowa SCY (Strengthening Communities for Youth) from a major grant from the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The UI was one of 12 institutions nationwide to receive this type of federal support.

The center will coordinate with the Mid-Eastern Council on Chemical Abuse (MECCA) for drug treatment, the Iowa City School System for identification of at-risk students and the Juvenile Court Services for legal issues. Hall said the project wants to connect with every youth-serving agency and school in Johnson and Iowa counties by the end of this coming academic year.

For more information about the Adolescent Health and Resource Center or to schedule an appointment, call 319-384-0847, or visit the center's web site at http://www.isciowa.org.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: Program Contact: Adolescent Health and Resource Center, 319-384-0847
PROGRAM E-MAIL CONTACT: marlene-field@uiowa.edu
Media: Becky Soglin, Writer, 319-335-6660, (MEDIA ONLY: becky-soglin@uiowa.edu)