The Tennessean (Nashville) (12.28.11) - Wednesday, January
Meharry Medical College is investing in the future of
Nashville's teenagers with two new initiatives aimed at
improving their health and career outcomes.
The Meharry Youth Wellness Center (MYWC) began offering
preventive health services to teens last fall with startup
funding of $417,000; a doctor-staffed clinic is scheduled to
open in January. The goal is to fill a void for adolescents
who have either aged out of pediatric care or do not see a
Services offered at MYWC include smoking cessation, sexual
responsibility/rape prevention, suicide awareness, alcohol and
drug relapse prevention, anger management, and general fitness
advice. Once the medical component opens, it will offer STD
treatment, physical exams, and sick visits.
As of mid-December, MYWC had served about 20 young people,
many of whom were referred by probation officers. The center's
goal is to reach more than 400 youths.
"We don't turn anyone away," said Freida H. Outlaw. "Any
adolescent who comes in this door, we will work with them."
The college also has launched a five-year health career
effort, using $1.3 million in funding from the National
Institutes of Health-administered Science Education
Partnership Awards program. Meharry has partnered with Whites
Creek and Glencliff public high schools, sponsoring a
freshman-year trip to 1704 Charlotte Ave. - home to MYWC and
the Youth Opportunity Center, Oasis College Connection, and
other youth-oriented agencies.
"That's what's so special about this place. It's like a
shopping center," said Outlaw. MYWC also can serve as a
gateway to higher education: Outlaw has already referred a
teenage father to college counselors.