Hello and welcome to the first IAAH President’s newsletter column of the 2022-2025 Council.
As I write, the war in the Ukraine is entering its 2nd month, and the COVID pandemic is entering its 3rd year. I had the chance to see some of you at the IAAH update session at the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) meeting – once again held on-line – but with encouraging numbers in some parts of the world suggesting that reaching a new normal might be possible soon. A recording of that SAHM session is available here and highlights priorities and plans from our new council’s regional Vice Presidents, the Young Professionals Network, and from our education and communication committees.
Our new and returning council members include: Meera Beharry, MD, FAAP (North America/USA), IAAH Treasurer/Secretariat Susan Sawyer, MBBS, MD, FRACP, FSAHM (Oceania/Australia), Immediate Past President
We are joined at Council meetings by three Special Advisors: María del Carmen Calle Dávila (Perú, past VP for Latin America) Melis Pehlivantürk Kızılkan (Turkey, Young Professionals Network) Laura Offutt (USA, Chair, International Adolescent Health Week) And by our Executive Administrator, Jenna Baumgartner (USA; University of Minnesota)
IAAH goals for the coming year include: 1) advocating for adolescent health and wellness by engaging with governments, WHO and other global agencies, and other relevant groups; 2) promoting development of and strengthening adolescent health organizations in countries and in regions; 3) promoting adolescent health training and curriculum standards; 4) improving adolescent care as part of health systems and countries commitments to achieving universal access to primary and specialty care; and 5) including youth and young professionals as stakeholders and participants in all aspects of IAAH’s activities.
We have a very vibrant and active Young Professionals Network (YPN) – a network of students, trainee, and early career professionals who are passionate about engaging, learning, and being leaders in the field of adolescent health. With over 500 members from 86 different countries, the YPN is focused on building relationships and providing opportunities for education and training, leadership and mentorship, and engagement with fellow members.
It is hard to believe that just a few short months ago (in November, 2021) we were finally able to hold our IAAH 12th World Congress on Adolescent Health. Originally to be held in Lima, Peru, with co-sponsors including the Sociedad Peruana de Adolescencia y Juventud and the Organismo Andino de Salud, ORAS-CONHU, the event was held online. Hosting this in an online space was good in some ways – it allowed speakers who might not have been able to attend to join us, and this allowed over 800 young people to participate in the event. The virtual event also presented its share of challenges – time zone issues prevented many people from joining live, and, most of all, we missed not being able to gather and share together in person.
During the closing session of the Peru IAAH Congress, we made a commitment and joined the PMNCH (Partnership for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health) in a Call to Action for Adolescent Health and Wellness. This Call to Action for Adolescents (https://www.adolescents2030.org/ ) Action has three priorities: (1) engaging and empowering adolescents; (2) going beyond the health sector, launching a powerful multisectoral response; and (3) strengthening political commitment and funding through a global summit on adolescents. We hope that this will lead to a sustained commitment by governments and other stakeholders to engaging young people, youth serving agencies, professional associations, and public sector national technical advisory groups, able to drive an agenda to improve comprehensive adolescent services in countries and address and eliminate disparities in access and care.
I invite you to join us on this agenda – either by becoming involved in your national or regional adolescent health groups or adolescent health groups within other national professional associations; by joining one of the IAAH committees to work on these issues globally; and/or by continuing to put these goals into practice and policies in your own countries and communities.
I look forward to working with many of you over the next three years. Jon
Jonathan D. Klein, MD, MPH President, International Association for Adolescent Health Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Savithri and Samuel Raj Endowed Professor and Executive Vice Head, Department of Pediatrics University of Illinois at Chicago firstname.lastname@example.org