Discussions about contraception are often uncomfortable for many pediatricians and their teenage patients. At Akron Children’s, residents Dr. Amy Buck and Dr. Maggie Dade are working to address this as part of a quality improvement collaborative with the Ohio AAP. Their efforts were recently recognized with a Special Achievement Award, which is presented each year to individuals who work on a new and innovative project that furthers the mission of the Ohio AAP.
Drs. Buck and Dade have been integral partners in the Transforming Adolescent Reproductive Healthcare QI Collaborative or LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraception) project. This is a quality improvement project designed to build pediatricians’ knowledge, comfort and skills in meeting the essential reproductive health care needs of teens. It provides support to pediatricians to help create a youth-friendly culture in the clinic setting, while also enhancing pediatricians’ contraception counseling skills.
“It’s been an honor to be part of the Ohio AAP’s initiative to increase LARC knowledge and placement. In medical school, I had the opportunity to work on another project where we studied the barriers to LARC placement, including pediatricians’ comfort level with placement and support to increase their knowledge,” said Dr. Dade. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to take action and increase training for pediatric LARC placement, debunk some of the myths about LARCs, and make videos to help teens understand the different forms of contraception available to them. Teens are at such a vulnerable place, and they deserve to have as much knowledge to help them make the best decision.”
Drs. Buck and Dade worked together to assist with collecting and reporting demographic, baseline and monthly data from our ACHP practices in Alliance, Ashland and Twinsburg, so the pediatricians at these practices could focus more on patient care and QI work. They also provided education and training to clinic staff, including pre-recorded trainings that addressed such topics as adolescent decision-making and how to talk to teens. In addition, they offered feedback on resource cards about LARC that were given to teens, including the use of QR codes to direct them to those same resources, particularly for teen patients who are uncomfortable with a paper trail.
“Adolescence can be a difficult time of development. It’s confusing and there is a ton of peer pressure, as teens try to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Contraception and menstrual-related issues should not be added to an already long list of things teens must deal with,” said Dr. Buck. “Making information about LARC a normal part of adolescent visits reduces the embarrassment or discomfort surrounding discussions about contraception, making it more likely for teens to choose the LARC that’s right for them. I’m so excited to be able to help make LARC options available to teens.”
“It has been such a pleasure to work with Drs. Dade and Buck. They both have a passion for adolescent health care and go above and beyond to help move this important work forward,” said the program’s medical director Michele Dritz, MD, FAAP. “During such a busy time in their training, they are always so responsive and dependable and have been an invaluable source of support to the work of the Ohio AAP and to improving health care for Ohio’s teens.”