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Express Outreach Award Highlights: Healthy Teens Pasadena

by Sherrill Olsen and Louisa Verma
Health Sciences Library, Huntington Hospital
Pasadena, CA

Last August, the Health Sciences Library at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA received an outreach funding award to develop a web site for health issues related to teens. The result is Healthy Teens Pasadena (HTP), a multimedia web site that brings Pasadena-area and Internet resources for teen health issues together in one place for teens, parents, and adolescent educators.

Logo of Healthy Teens Pasadena

Teens are generally thought to be one of the healthiest segments of society, however, the increasing availability of addictive substances and the prevalence of unhealthy lifestyles can lead to negative health consequences in later life (Gore, et al., 2011). Health education outreach to the teen population and to their parents to provide more comprehensive information to make better health decisions was found to be one of the unmet needs of our community (Pasadena – Community Needs Assessment, 2010). With this in mind, the library proposed a pilot program to increase teen awareness of the necessity of “whole health.” The program included three presentations aimed to address common teen health and lifestyle issues and foster awareness of community support resources for teens and their parents.

To promote the website and provide further education to teens and their parents, a teen-targeted health program was given at a local area high school on the student selected topic of “cyberbullying,” presented by a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Additionally, two parent targeted presentations titled “Beyond Texting: How to Communicate with Your Teens” were given by the Chief Psychologist at the Huntington Hospital Della Martin Center at the Pasadena Public Library, and at the local High School Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) meeting. These presentations began with an introduction to the web site. The audio and handouts for both presentations have been added to the HTP web site.

Word Cloud of Resources included in Healthy Teens Pasadena

Besides partnering with two of the Pasadena Public Library’s branches and Blair High School, we discovered a wealth of helpful resources to help us within our hospital. The Hospital’s Community Outreach department identified and arranged for speakers. Public Relations offered us their consultant to develop a marketing plan and helped create such marketing items as posters, postcards, key fobs, and articles that were printed in our hospital newsletters, as well as in local news and web site venues. Philanthropy supplied refreshments for the public library presentation, since it was viewed as a benefit from the hospital to the community. The library came up with some marketing items of its own; bookmarks, t-shirts with the web site and a QR code on them, and books. The latter two were given away as prizes at the presentations.

Maintenance of the web site will be continued. We are engaging students at the high school to evaluate it and giving prizes via a drawing to some of those who participate. The site was composed using LibGuides, which offers a way for users to “like” us and send in suggestions. We will continue to monitor its usage and market it whenever possible.

The project was an intense eight-month period, but very worthwhile. The hospital now looks upon the library as an important community asset. We met many people and found them eager to help with their expertise. These people will be important partners as we continue to market the web site and find additional venues for the presentations.

Works Cited

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