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Healthy Teens Program

The Healthy Teens program was developed to address challenges clinicians face in assessing a wide variety of teen health concerns and behavioral risks and providing effective counseling in the very limited time of a health visit.

The first two projects were funded under The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prescription for Health National Program.

The Healthy Teens counseling approach

The Healthy Teens counseling approach consists of:

  • A self-administered comprehensive screener for health and behavioral risks and strengths of teens using low-cost technology (PDAs). It includes assessment of teen motivation to change key health behaviors.
  • A concise summary of issues highlighting risk on the PDA for clinicians to review prior to the meeting with the teen that can help guide the discussion. Motivation and self-efficacy for changing key behaviors is included.
  • Training for clinicians to use an evidence-based, patient-centered approach for more effective counseling based on Motivational Interviewing.

Research findings

Two clinical trials showed that the use of the Healthy Teens counseling approach results in the following improvements over usual care:

  • More teens viewed their visit as confidential, felt their clinician listened very carefully, and were very satisfied with the visit.
  • Teens reported that discussion of many key behavioral health topics increased, and they were more likely to perceive the discussion of several topics as very helpful.
  • Six months after their health visit, teens had significantly increased exercise and milk intake. In addition, teens were more likely to plan to make multiple changes related to diet and activity.
  • The full research articles are available at the bottom of this page for download. Read more.

Training materials

The following training materials are available for download.

National availability of the healthy teens program

Since 2008, the Healthy Teens program has been integrated into 19 practices in New England and is being made available in other parts of the country. Over 5,000 teens have benefited from comprehensive screening. The time required to complete the screener is about 8-10 minutes. Clinicians report it is readily accepted by teens, and shifts the visit from data gathering to counseling.

The Healthy Teens screener software and installation

The licensed PDA software, guidance for establishing Healthy Teens Screening and Counseling systems in practices, and resources for clinicians to use motivational interviewing for patient-centered counseling guided by the screener results are now available. Learn more about getting the screener program and starting this evidence-based approach to enhance teen counseling in your practice.

The Healthy Teens screener portal

Each practice downloads their PDA screening data to a secure web-based database for future use. Data is only identifiable by information kept at the practice. It allows practices to:

  • Print PDA screening reports individually or in a batch.
  • Access specific patient data from an earlier visit.
  • Run practice reports on their population of adolescents by age, gender and specific screening questions.
  • Download practice data in Excel file for further analysis.

The Healthy Teens PDA-based licensed software is available for a minimal cost to practices interested in changing counseling approaches for teens aged 11-19 years. You can purchase the Healthy Teens Screener software or technical assistance by submitting information via an online form.

Healthy Teens Screener Software HIPPA Compliance Information (PDF)

Clinicians who choose to purchase the Healthy Teens Screener software will receive a user ID and password to access the portal. Please contact for more information.  If you have a logon name and password, you can sync your Healthy Teen screener here.

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