Tuesday, March 18, 2008

“Reaching Out to Adolescents to Promote Immunizations: Think Outside the Doctor's Office”

Christine A. Garcia, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Immunization Branc, 3851 Rosecrans St., P574, Suite 704, San Diego, CA, USA, Kimberly C. Pettiford, San Diego Immunization Branch, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, PO Box 85222, Mail Stop P511B, 3851 Rosecrans Street, San Diego, CA, USA, and Kathleen Worthing Gustafson, Immunization Program, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Immunization Program (P511B), P.O. Box 85222, San Diego, CA, USA.

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:
• Identify non-traditional settings to target preteens and teens about health-related issues
• Describe collaboration techniques used to engage students in immunization projects

With several vaccines recommended for 11- to 12-year-olds and the need for discussion on other important health topics such as violence prevention, nutrition, safety, peer pressure, and drug and alcohol prevention, the adolescent health care visit is of critical importance. During the preteen years, visits to the doctor decline dramatically, and local health departments must become creative in order to reach this population with health messages.


Preteens, Teens, Parents, Community partners

Project Description:
The San Diego Immunization Branch embarked on a comprehensive campaign to reach this population. The I-3 Adolescent Taskforce was established in January 2007 to bring together partners involved in adolescent health activities. Multimedia-focused schools were approached to develop student-generated projects focusing on adolescent health including websites, PSAs and videos. Bookstores and libraries participated in campaign efforts by displaying immunization information with health-related books. Teen clinics and after-school programs distributed preteen immunization information.

Results/Lessons Learned:
Multi-faceted campaign strategies are needed to communicate with preteens and teens about the importance adolescent vaccines and the adolescent health care visit. Local health departments need to network with organizations that already work with teens. Students are critical partners in creating preteen/teen-generated messages and websites, but require ongoing content guidance and feedback. Local health departments should consider utilizing teen-focused websites to promote immunizations.