MedStar Georgetown University Hospital has expert adolescent medicine physicians who offer specialized, routine, and acute medical care to adolescents ages 12 through 22—all within a trusting and compassionate environment.

We know that many distinct challenges exist in adolescent and young adult health care. That is why we keep open and flexible minds, approach all who come to us in a comprehensive and collaborative manner, and, above all, respect the autonomy of young patients and the concerns of their parents/guardians. Our approach to patients and their families fosters a gradual shift of responsibility for a young person's health from parents to self.

Not only do we address our patients’ physical, developmental, and psychosocial health needs, but we also promote the health and well-being of young people through educational outreach to the community, including families, schools, and other health professionals. 

Transition of Care Policy for Youth and Young Adults

Georgetown Pediatrics is committed to helping all of our patients make a smooth transition from pediatric to adult health care. This process requires working with our patients and their families to plan and prepare for transition starting around the 14th birthday. At age 18, youth in our practice will transition to an adult model of care with modifications as needed for youth with intellectual disabilities. We honor the preferences of the youth and family regarding the eventual transfer of care to an adult primary care medical home, but this tends to occur by 22 years of age.

For Young Adults

At age 18, under the federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA, access to your health records and any discussion about your health is only provided to people that you consent to, including your parents. If you wish your parents to discuss your health on your behalf, you must provide written consent to your health care provider by completing a form. These forms are called Protected Health Information Consent or Consent to Discuss Medical information or Protected Health Information. Please ask a staff member if you would like to complete this today.

For Parents

If you need access to your child’s records, your child must consent in writing to provide you access. Under HIPAA, medical providers are no longer permitted to discuss health issues with you without express consent from your now young adult. This is important to keep in mind when trying to call for health questions when your young adult is away at college. They will need to call themselves.

Check Ups, Health Maintenance and Preventive Health Screening

We recommend a comprehensive annual check-up once a year for all of our patients, including those we see regularly at more focused visits. The annual check-up is an excellent time to discuss a broad range of health issues and have a complete physical examination. It is not just about filling out a health form (which we certainly do!) but, more importantly, to renew our relationship, update immunizations and laboratory tests, and screen for any physical or psychosocial problems or health-risk behaviors that may need attention or anticipatory guidance. Many adult health problems have their origins in adolescence and young adulthood, so discussions about smoking, alcohol and drug use, sexuality, mood, nutrition, sleep and exercise are among the important subjects we review.

Conditions 

The following are common issues we address. This list is certainly not comprehensive; the adolescent specialists at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital are always available to discuss your family’s needs. Please contact us.

Acute Illnesses

As primary care physicians we are generally the first to be consulted about acute illnesses (such as respiratory infections, abdominal pain, urinary symptoms); we can generally offer same day appointments

Behavioral Health

The daunting developmental tasks of adolescence and young adulthood are to achieve a high level of independence and autonomy, a social and sexual identity which allows for enjoyment and intimacy, and clarity regarding one's place in society as a contributing adult within the context of a family and/or career. Therefore, the stages of adolescence and young adulthood are fast-paced, present high expectations for growth and change, and demand frequent adaptation to new situations.

As primary care providers, we are always available to talk with our patients about anything on their minds, including disagreements with parents or friends, roommate problems, romantic matters, stress at school or at work, or career direction. Such counseling is generally brief (a few visits) and focused.

Some adolescents or young adults may experience more serious developmental or emotional difficulties that require further in depth evaluation and treatment. The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital provides comprehensive outpatient evaluation and treatment for children and their families. Our clinicians work with patients ranging in ages from early childhood to young adulthood, and place special emphasis on understanding family functioning and relationships to make the most accurate diagnoses and provide the most useful treatment recommendations.

We can provide treatment for a number of concerns, including:

  • Eating disorders and obesity
  • Mood and anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Disruptive behavior disorders
  • Learning disorders
  • Autism-spectrum disorders
  • Struggling to adjust to stressful life situations
  • Coping with medical illnesses

We offer a full spectrum of therapeutic services, including:

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Family therapy
  • Medication treatments

 Learn more about child and adolescent behavioral health care at MedStar Georgetown.

Emotional/Developmental Issues 

The daunting developmental tasks of adolescence and young adulthood are to achieve a high level of independence and autonomy, a social and sexual identity which allows for enjoyment and intimacy, and clarity regarding one's place in society as a contributing adult within the context of a family and/or career. Therefore, the stages of adolescence and young adulthood are fast-paced, present high expectations for growth and change, and demand frequent adaptation to new situations.

Health problems may arise when an individual is having difficulty in some part of his or her "world," such as stressors at home; disappointment in a relationship with a friend which is intense or romantic; or major challenges at school or at work. Not infrequently, difficulty in one part of this world impacts on another part, which then compounds the distress that a person feels and may present as a physical symptom, trouble with eating or sleeping, or mainly affect one's mood and result in sadness, depression and/or anxiety.

At such times, we offer our patient an opportunity to meet with us for "counseling," to begin to talk about and gain insight into their difficulty, problem-solve their particular situation, and hopefully reduce their stress level. If the problem is severe, persistent or complex, we refer our patient for additional evaluation and/or treatment with an appropriate mental health professional. In collaboration with a mental health colleague who knows our patient well, but is not a physician, we may prescribe medication for a mood disorder, attention problem (ADD or ADHD), or sleep difficulties. Some adolescents or young adults may experience more serious developmental or emotional difficulties which require further in depth evaluation and treatment with our adolescent psychologist, Dr. Keisha Mack, or a community-based provider.

Our adolescent medicine providers offer care for people with various medical conditions:

  • Adolescent well visits, immunizations and sports physicals
  • Menstrual disorders and adolescent gynecology
  • Young men's health and male reproductive health
  • Complex medical diagnosis (e.g. chronic fatigue syndrome)
  • Depression/anxiety
  • ADHD/Learning disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use and abuse

Gynecologic and Sexuality Related Care

Gynecologic care provided in our office most often pertains to menstrual problems (periods that are too long, too heavy, too frequent and/or too painful), vaginal discharge or discomfort, breast development or lumps, and sexuality-related care. We can also assist with any issues around young men's health and male reproductive health

Sexuality-related care includes discussion of relationships, counseling regarding birth control and sexually transmitted diseases, prescribing birth control, and screening for and treating gynecologic, including sexually transmitted, infections.

An adolescent’s first gynecologic examination may be performed when a patient has a gynecologic concern or at some time soon after the onset of sexual activity (intercourse). If a patient has never had a gynecologic examination and has never had intercourse, we generally recommend the first routine examination take place between age 18 and 21.

Learn more about gynecology and women's health services at MedStar Georgetown.

Health Risk-Behaviors

As part of providing preventive health care and anticipatory guidance to our patients, we regularly ask about their exposure to or use of cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and/or drugs (including un-prescribed prescription and street drugs). Our role is to counsel our patients regarding the risks of using these substances, and to address with each patient the concerns we and he/she may have regarding such use. For patients who smoke cigarettes, we hope to help them quit. Illicit drug use is a very serious concern that may require referral for care with a psychotherapist or substance abuse specialist.

Metabolism and Nutrition

As medical providers, we diagnose and manage any medical or metabolic conditions that may be related to overweight or difficulty with weight loss, and, on occasion, we prescribe medication. Our approach is individualized for each patient and family, addresses new strategies for dealing with particularly difficult times of the day or situations, includes attention to emotional triggers to overeating, emphasizes healthy and satisfying meals and snacks, and encourages activities that are both physical and fun.

The readiness to begin to work on nutritional concerns may be immediate for some, or develop more slowly for others, so we are always available to step in at the appropriate time. Our goal is to assist in achieving a healthy lifestyle and maximize the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of our each patient.

Puberty and Growth-Related Concerns

Adolescence is a time of rapid and dramatic growth and development that transforms the body from that of a child to that of an adult over a span of only a few years. Each adolescent grows and develops at his or her own time and pace. Puberty and growth are impacted by genetics, nutrition, amount of exercise, even stress. In some situations, we may feel it is necessary to perform laboratory tests to learn more about why a teen's growth and development are unusually precocious or delayed.

Skin Conditions

Dermatologic conditions (such as acne, allergic reactions, infections, and other eruptions) are also managed at our office. When necessary, we refer our patients to sub-specialists or dermatologists.

Learn more about dermatology at MedStar Georgetown.

Undiagnosed Conditions

Adolescence and young adulthood are viewed as the healthiest times of life, when serious medical disorders are relatively uncommon; yet many young people do suffer from physical symptoms such as excessive fatigue, dizziness, headaches, or pain in the abdomen, chest, or back. Besides causing discomfort, such symptoms interfere with their sense of wellbeing, create anxiety and worry, and sometimes affect attendance at school, work or social activities. As medical providers, our role is to take a detailed history, do a complete physical examination and obtain the appropriate tests to fully evaluate our patient's symptom.

Make an Appointment

For more information or to make an appointment with a pediatric specialist, call our scheduling line: 

Phone: 202-295-0547

Adolescent Medicine Specialists