Author: Yolanda Evans, MD, MPH

Teens and depression

Depression is a topic that can be hard to tackle. If you’re a teen who is depressed, you may feel shame, guilt, or like no one will hear you if you try to reach out for help. If you’re a parent of a depressed teen, you may feel helpless or frustrated; you may even be unaware. An interview of a teen who struggled with depression caught my attention this week. She provided some insight on how she had symptoms during 7th grade, she didn’t feel like she could talk to any adults in her life. As she searched for ways to manage her mood, she ultimately found a path towards improved communication with a parent and a voice to speak up about a topic often swept under the rug.

To read the interview click here.

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Sending your teen off to college

My conversations with colleagues and friends have been dominated by the discussions of two topics: politics and sending my kid off to college. Both are full of emotions and both are full of opinions and ideas. As many of my colleagues are dropping off their first born kids at university campuses, they’ve shared their thoughts, fears, excitement, and emotions. Most of the things they’ve discussed with me would not have crossed my mind! These discussions are ones I hope to remember when I’m in the same situation and I’d like to share some of the tips I’ve learned with you. Read full post »

Transgender Youth: Defining Gender

Thinking back to my first pregnancy, I recall going to an ultrasound appointment to look at the infant’s anatomy. The ultra sonographer asked my husband and me if we wanted to know if we were having a girl or a boy. We weren’t even parents yet, but everyone in our social circle was asking if we knew ‘what we were having,’ so we responded ‘yes!’ In our culture, we automatically think about gender in binary terms: girl or boy. This way of thinking is convenient for people whose gender aligns with the sex assigned at birth: it allows grandparents to purchase pink or blue baby clothes and helps parents pick a name. In our culture, identifying your gender  comes up with everything from filling out job applications to choosing which public restroom to use.

But what about those babies who do not have a binary sex assignment (such as those who are intersex)? What about youth who identify as a gender other than what their chromosomes say? What about those people who don’t feel male or female, but identify as somewhere in between? Just because something is ‘convenient’ for the majority doesn’t make it correct. Read full post »

Eating Well over summer break

Family mealWith the high rates of obesity in our country, families nationwide are trying to find ways to promote healthy and balanced eating. One common conundrum is that finances are often tight and buying fresh produce that only lasts a few days before wilting, shopping at the farmer’s market, or buying organic food just may not be feasible. Incorporating exercise into a busy day is also challenging. A research study last year that showed kids (regardless of household income) on summer break may not be making the best choices around food, so for parents, discussing healthy balanced eating year round with children and teens is important. Read full post »

Should my teen have a cell phone

person textingWith the majority of the adult US population having smartphones, it’s nearly inevitable that tweens and young teens (kids ages 10-13) will ask parents for a cell phone too. My oldest is 4 and she routinely asks to watch the tablet or look at videos on my phone. Whether or not your family provides a cell phone to your tween is a completely personal decision and you may be considering one for many reasons (safety, the ability to know where your teen is, etc). Here are some of the things to consider (that you’re likely already thinking!): Read full post »

FDA regulation on E-cigarettes

e-cigaretteThe Food and Drug Administration recently announced new regulations on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as vape pens and electronic cigarettes. Anyone who wants to purchase one of these devices must be at least 18 years of age and be able to show valid identification at the time of purchase. Under the regulation, ENDS can’t be given out for free or sold in vending machines accessible to minors.

What are some of the reasons why the FDA moved forward with starting to regulate electronic nicotine delivery? Isn’t tobacco use among teens going down? Read full post »

Consenting to intimacy

young loveThe recent trial of a Stanford undergrad has stirred up conversations about justice, consenting to sex, alcohol consumption, and unequal treatment in judicial proceedings this week. These are not light topics, but each of the issues discussed has implications for anyone raising a teen. The woman who was the victim of the sexual assault wrote an extremely powerful statement that was shared on social media. I read her statement and it has impacted me. The way I plan to approach these topics in clinical encounters as well as in my personal life (as a mom, aunt, and friend) has shifted from one of focusing on the individual to one of considering our cultural norms regarding sexual consent and women, not as fellow human beings but as sexual objects. Read full post »

Body Piercing

ear piercingGuest Post: by Dr. Laura Burkhart

When I was 16 years old I wanted to get my nose pierced. After the surprised initial reaction from my dad of “why would you ever want to voluntarily put a hole in your body?!”, we had a really respectful and honest conversation. What I remember the most was that he was open to my point of view, even though the idea of a body piercing wasn’t his favorite. Kind of like when I’d begged for a puppy; part of the deal was that I had to take complete care and responsibility for it. While I had other piercings after this, my memory of this piercing is a positive one. It was one of the first thought out “adult” conversations I had with my dad about something we didn’t agree on, because of his willingness to hear me out. This memory could have easily been one of teen rebellion and anger had I been simply told “No because I said so”. I share this story so hopefully inspire the kind of open conversation I had with my dad if your teen asks about body piercing. Read full post »

Parent Advisory Board – a call for volunteers

I’ve had the privilege of working with truly amazing families. I am always in awe of how much parents love their children. That love doesn’t diminish as babies grown into children and children grow into teens. Seattle Children’s Hospital holds parents in high regard as well. We value your input and need your help to continue to improve the care we provide.

In the Division of Adolescent Medicine, we’re placing a call to ask for parents who have received care in our clinic to help us continue to advance the services we provide. This is an opportunity for parents from the Adolescent Clinic to be involved in an advisory panel.

The panel position is a 2 year commitment and in that time you will be able to participate with clinicians in developing and reviewing educational materials for the clinic, as well as helping to review the curriculum for the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) fellowship. LEAH is a grant offered to only a few institutions around the nation that trains people from a variety of disciplines (such as Medicine, Social Work, Psychology, Nutrition, Nursing, and Health Administration) to become leaders in adolescent health.

The position is open to any parent who has an adolescent who has been a patient in the Seattle Children’s Hospital inpatient or outpatient clinic settings.

Interested candidates can email: ADOLEAHPAC@seattlechildrens.org

Thank you in advance for considering this position!

2016 SMAHRT Conference – Social Media and Teens

SMAHRT conference 2014Seattle Children’s Hospital has amazing researchers looking at a variety of pediatric health concerns from concussion prevention to internet use. The Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) lead by Dr. Megan Moreno includes people with a passion for looking at the health of adolescents as it relates to online and social media use. In 2014, this team held the first SMAHRT Conference and I was fortunate enough to attend. We discussed blogging, tweeting, social media sites, had an ‘appy hour’ where instead of ‘happy hour’ we spent the hour getting to know each other.

I’m excited to announce that the SMAHRT Conference is back! This year it will be held June 28-29, 2016 with topics including:

  • How community organizations use social media to connect to teens
  • How social media is addressed in school curricula
  • How social media is used in research for recruitment, screening or intervention
  • Hot topics:
    • Cyberbullying
    • Problematic Internet Use

Everyone is welcome to attend! This includes parents, teens, media, health educators, researchers, medical providers, and community members.

Register online at:

http://smahrtsearch.com/conf2016

2016 SMAHRT Conference flyer 3.24