Join the Movement: Emerging Career Professionals Advocating for Adolescent Health
Hello, everyone! We are still catching our breath and coming down from the high of the Global Forum for Adolescents (GFA), held October 11-12. It was an incredibly inspiring two days filled with passionate discussions centred around understanding and addressing the wants and needs of adolescents. One significant takeaway for us, as emerging professionals from various disciplines, is the importance of moving forward collectively to ensure that the needs of the 1.8 billion adolescents translate into tangible policy changes.
Speaking of change, our Young Professionals Network (YPN) has undergone a name change. We are now known as the IAAH Emerging Professionals Network (EPN) and were honoured to represent the IAAH in multiple sessions at the GFA. We collaborated with global colleagues from diverse organizations that share our dedication to enhancing adolescent health and well-being worldwide:
- EPN co-chairs Molly O’Sullivan, Stephanie Partridge, and Melis Pehlivanturk-Kizilkan co-led the session titled “Investing in Tomorrow: Empowering the Next Generation of Adolescent Health Professionals.” As emerging professionals, we serve as the essential bridge between adolescents and specialists in addressing the health and wellbeing challenges they face. Our discussions covered vital topics ranging from burnout to training deficiencies and equity. Learn more about our call to action in our Journal of Adolescent Health
- EPN member Surabhi Dogra spoke in the session, “Invest We Must! The Time is Now: Making the Case for Investing in Adolescent Well-Being.” Dogra emphasized the importance of investing in the most vulnerable adolescents and allowing them to play a central role in shaping narratives about their health and wellbeing.
- EPN co-chair Melis Pehlivanturk-Kizilkan presented in the session, “From Siloes to Systems: Integrating Adolescents into the Healthcare Agenda.” Pehlivanturk-Kizilkan highlighted the urgent need for a globally accessible, culturally tailored, and comprehensive healthcare system that prioritizes not only the physical but also the mental health and wellbeing of adolescents.
- EPN co-chair Dyana Safitri Velies moderated the session, “Ready to Learn and Thrive: Promoting Adolescent Well-Being in Schools.” Students need to be in good health and feel well to be ready to learn, and those who enjoy quality education have better health outcomes. It is crucial to understand the importance of intersectoral collaboration because school systems have the potential to offer a comprehensive approach to improve student’s physical, mental, and social well-being.
As our network approaches its 6th year, and much like adolescents, we are evolving in response to the needs and feedback of our members. Our previous name, IAAH Young Professionals Network (YPN), emphasized the early stages of our careers, however, we recognized that many professionals join the field of adolescent health at different stages. Thus, a name change to the “Emerging Professionals Network (EPN)” felt more inclusive and better represented our community. We’re thrilled to be recognized as the International Association for Adolescent Health Emerging Professionals Network (IAAH EPN) moving forward.
As the right honourable Helen Clark, Board Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, said, “It’s just the beginning of a very important conversation; let’s keep this going.” We encourage continued conversations, advocacy, and positive transformation. Please connect with us on Slack to keep in touch with fellow members, committee officers, and the Emerging Professionals Network co-chairs. Stay up to date by following #IAAHEPN on all our social accounts. Click here for more information about our network or here if you’d like to join our network.
Dr Dyana Safitri Velies, Dr Melis Pehlivanturk-Kizilkan, Molly O’Sullivan, and Dr Stephanie Partridge
Co-Chairs, IAAH Emerging Professionals Network