Archive for November 2013

Monthly Archive

The 1990s were 20 years ago but condoms are still important

Condom in pocketI was talking with colleagues last week about a recent article that discusses the decline in condom use amongst adolescents and young adults. We were thinking back to our own adolescence in the 1990’s when HIV/AIDS prevention was at it’s peak. The diagnosis of HIV was basically a death sentence as the life saving anti-retroviral drugs we have now weren’t widely available. Everyone was scared. Most people ‘wrapped it up’ if they made the decision to have sex. So what’s changed for teens and young adults? Read full post »

Throwing Teens Away


In 2006, 15-year-old Travion Blount was party to an armed robbery, along with two 18-year-olds. Nobody was killed during the robbery, and while one person was assaulted, Travion was not the one who committed it.

In 2008, he was sentenced to six back-to-back life sentences, plus 118 years in prison.

When I first read this, I thought there must be some mistake. I searched other news sources to see what else Travion had done to deserve such a punishment, but failed to turn up some murder, rape, or other injurious crime that the original report had failed to mention. Travion Blount, upon committing a crime at age 15, was simply thrown away into the prison system with no hope of return until geriatric release programs become available to him. His sentence is much longer than the average murder sentence for both teens and adults. In fact, it’s equivalent to the 17-year-old who committed some of the sniper killings in D.C.  Read full post »

Eating Disorders: Next Steps After Diagnosis Post 5

We’ve had a series of video posts on eating disorders with information provided by Dr. Adrianne Altman. Now let’s talk about what happens after a teen is diagnosed. Who helps them in recovery? What are the treatment options? In the next group of videos I’ll share some of the common topics that I discuss with families tackling this challenging disease.

Young Women, Drinking, and Rape


Recently there was some media buzz about women and alcohol, and how our society should approach the topic.

It all started when Emily Yoffe, a writer for Slate, wrote this column on college women, drinking, and sexual assault. If you don’t feel like reading the whole article, a headline pops up on the website which sums it up: “The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women to Stop Getting So Wasted”. (To be fair, the article is more nuanced than that, and I’m not convinced Ms. Yoffe wrote that tagline.)

The response to the article was swift. Some responded with rebuttals while others strongly agreed. The New York Times ran a “Room for Debate” piece that had a number of interesting viewpoints. Basically, opinions seem to fall down two lines: one party thinks women imbibing alcohol become vulnerable to sexual assault, and they should be told not to drink in order to protect themselves. The other sees this as a victim-blaming piece of advice that support a status quo in which rape culture runs rampant, and young women are expected to prevent their own rape.

So, even though I’m late to the game, I thought I’d give my take on this (although I’ve covered a lot of it in my Teens and Sexual Assault series).

Read full post »

Thanks Birth Control November 12th

birthcontrolpillBirth control in medicine is often used not just as a means for preventing pregnancy, but also as a life saving treatment option. For nearly 2/3rds of the teens I prescribe birth control to, we’re using it to help alleviate cramps that keep them home from school, irregular periods that are impossible to plan for, or such heavy bleeding that they’ve required a blood transfusion. Birth control has changed significantly over the past few decades, but one thing remains: it can change a life. 

Read full post »

A Call for Parents: Make an Impact on Teen Health!

leahparentHello gentle readers! I am using this blog as a platform to let you know about an opportunity available to parents of teens aged 10-21, through Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington. The LEAH (Leadership Education in Adolescent Health) needs parent advisers to help guide its program now and in the future. It’s a way to make sure that your experience as a parent of a teen impacts the education of those who will be caring for, advocating for, and working with teens and their families.

I’ve posted the Parent Adviser description below. If you’re interested, please contact Erik at or 206-987-1215.

Please send this to any of your friends or family who might be interested!

Read full post »

The Silk Road and illicit drug use

business and technology: e-commerce screen shotThe Silk Road sounds like a title of a romance novel, but in reality the story behind it is much more sinister. It is the name of an anonymous online market place for illicit drugs and has made headlines this week as the Federal Bureau of Investigations shut down the original version and arrested the person who started it. I first learned of the Silk Road last week at a symposium for pediatricians. A guest speaker at the conference, who is an expert on substance abuse, highlighted the fact that many teens are well aware of how to get drugs – illegal drugs – on the internet. I was dumbfounded (and so were nearly all of the other pediatricians in the room)! If something is illegal, shouldn’t it be a challenge to order and have delivered to your home? Apparently, it’s not that hard at all. Read full post »

Eating Disorders: Treatment Options Post 4

Treatment of eating disorders is complex and involves a team of specialists. It can range from hospital treatment to outpatient appointments and everything in between. In this post we’ll hear more from Dr. Adrianne Altman on the treatment options for teens with eating disorders.

Eating Disorders: Talking to your teen Post 3

This is the 3rd post in our series on eating disorders. Here, guest Adrianne Altman offers more information on how to talk with your teen if you suspect and eating disorder.