A Giant Leap in Addressing Teen Health

January 24, 2020

Adolescence is a complicated time of life. For some, it’s a period of self-discovery and gaining confidence. For others, it’s marked by anxiety, self-doubt and, for some, confusion about gender and sexuality.

To provide specialized services for teens, Lurie Children’s launched the Division of Adolescent Medicine in 2013. Headed by Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH, the division expanded recently with a holistic model offering wraparound services.

Philanthropy Makes Expansion Possible

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Dr. Raina Voss, a specialist in caring for the needs of LGBT and transgender teens in Lurie Children’s Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, visits with a patient.

Thanks to a generous gift to Lurie Children’s campaign for every child, the program is now in a new and significantly larger space on Chicago’s Near North side, and was renamed the Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine.

“Our division is an acknowledged leader in adolescent health, due in no small part to the continued faith of generous donors like the Potocsnak family,” says Dr. Garofalo. “Thanks to philanthropy, with this state-of-the-art facility we are able to care for more patients and offer new clinical and programmatic services under one roof, making it easy for youth to access necessary, and sometimes life-saving, services.”

The space was designed to provide a calming atmosphere in a space where inclusion and diversity are reflected by both patients and staff. The division goes beyond adolescent primary care to include services in HIV/STI testing and community advocacy and school outreach efforts. It also includes mental and behavioral health services from caregivers in the hospital’s Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, as well as space for the division’s nationally recognized research program.

Addressing Issues of Gender Identity

A key focus is serving the needs of gender non-conforming youth. The Gender Development program supports the physical, mental and social health of patients and their families from a multidisciplinary team of caregivers with expertise in gender identity development.

Philanthropic support for the Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine comes from the Potocsnak family; the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation; the Rosenfield and Gledhill families; the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust and others. Dr. Garofalo is the Potocsnak Family Professor in Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine.