University Health System’s Adolescent Program awarded top honor by national hospital organization

June 20, 2019

University Health System’s Adolescent Health Program has received national recognition for its work in addressing the high teen birth rate and teen healthcare needs in San Antonio.

America's Essential Hospitals, which represents 300 hospitals committed to caring for the vulnerable and keeping communities healthy, honored the program for contributing to a 40% decline in teen births in San Antonio from 2010-2016, and a decline in repeat births among teens. The 2019 Gage Award for improving population health was presented by the association at its annual conference in Miami on June 20.

“When faced with some of the nation’s most pressing health care challenges, essential hospitals step up,” said America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. “Their innovative programs to improve quality of care and support their communities lead the way for systemic change.”

The Gage Award for population health recognizes activities that improve delivery, access, or value for specific populations in the recipient's community and, as a result, have improved health outcomes.

University Health System’s Adolescent Health Program provides medically accurate sexual health information to adolescents and their families, and encourages strategies that promote healthy life choices. From 2010-2018, the program reached more than 73,000 youth with evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention instruction and trained over 1,850 school teachers, staff, and facilitators to provide the education.

Through the Health System’s network of clinics and community partnerships, including Texas Can Academies, San Antonio Independent School District and UT Health San Antonio’s UT Teen Health Project, the program offers adolescent vaccines, home visits for first-time teen mothers, STD testing and family planning services.

“Teen pregnancy is closely linked to social risk factors, such as poverty, lack of education, and interpersonal violence. Our Adolescent Health Program’s significant reduction in the teen pregnancy rate makes a huge difference in countless young lives today and helps build a stronger San Antonio for tomorrow,” said George B. Hernández, Jr., President and CEO of University Health System.

“I’m proud of our clinic’s leadership team and its collaboration with over 25 youth-centered organizations including the school districts, the juvenile justice system and mental health providers. University Health System is honored to be recognized by America’s Essential Hospitals for its community partnership in adolescent care,” Hernandez said.