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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Caring for adolescents in Guatemala: provider perspectives

Areej Hassan
  • Corresponding author
  • Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, USA, Phone: 617-355-6334, Fax: 617-730-0184
  • Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Juan Carlos Reyes Maza
  • Hospital General San Juan de Dios, Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Hayley G. Teich
  • Boston Children’s Hospital, Deparment of Global Health, Boston, MA, United States of America
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Erwin H. Calgua Guerra
  • Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-09-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0121



Today’s generation of adolescents is the largest in history, creating a major challenge for low and middle income countries faced with the necessity of addressing their growing healthcare needs. Our objective was to assess the extent to which health care providers in Guatemala are trained, knowledgeable and feel comfortable providing services to adolescents.


A sample of 20 medical providers were recruited from the School of Medicine at San Carlos University and its affiliated hospitals. Providers were interviewed face-to-face for 30–40 min using a semi-structured guide exploring their training, knowledge, skills and experience in adolescent health care. Recruitment continued until thematic saturation was reached. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and then analyzed for emergent themes using principles of framework analysis.


The provider’s mean age was 33.7 years [standard deviation (SD) = 10.2]. Most were female (65%) and practiced medicine in a metropolitan location. Results revealed the presence of five major themes: (1) Need for dedicated adolescent health services; (2) Presence of a multitude of barriers to providing adolescent health care; (3) Perceived comfort level in communicating with adolescents; (4) Limited knowledge of current adolescent specific services, programs, and guidelines; and (5) Gaps in medical education and training.


Providers recognize the need for increased and dedicated adolescent health care services. There is strong support for the creation of a credentialed national adolescent health training program.

Keywords: adolescent health; adolescent medicine fellowship program; medical education; pediatric training


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About the article

aCo-first authors.

Received: 2017-07-13

Accepted: 2017-08-13

Published Online: 2017-09-26

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170121, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0121.

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