Community Programs & Initiatives

The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine provides comprehensive care to promote positive health outcomes for youth in and around Chicago. Our services are structured to support all youth, specializing in reaching young people who often experience barriers to accessing services. We believe in a holistic model of care, recognizing that supporting the health of youth must extend beyond our clinical spaces and into the community.  Community Programs and Initiatives collaborates closely with community members and organizations to promote healthy and inclusive spaces for youth across the Chicago region.  


The TransMentor Program, the first of its kind in the country, pairs , gender non-binary, gender expansive and gender questioning youth ages 12-20 with trans and gender expansive adults. TransMentor uses a youth-centric approach that focuses on the needs of mentees, designing the program around their goals and crafting mentor trainings and support to meet their unique needs.

For more information about the program or to become a mentee or mentor, please contact us at or visit the TransMentor page

Health Education Program

Our Sexuality Education Program supports students, parent/guardians, and school staff by facilitating thoughtful, culturally responsive, and LGBTQ+ inclusive conversations related to sexual health. Our specially trained staff support conversations and educational sessions related to relationships, social emotional development, and their bodies.

Sessions offered by our team include:

  • Student education: Direct facilitation with students across all levels of education
  • Parent/adult sessions: Supporting parents/guardians/supportive adults in understanding ways to engage youth in conversations related to sexual health
  • Professional development: Modeling ways that teachers/staff can, themselves, facilitate inclusive and engaging sexual health education for their students. Ongoing technical assistance is also available.

For more information on programming and fees, please reach out to Dawn Ravine, Sexuality Education Program Coordinator at or visit the Sexuality Education Program page.

Trainings Education

Our staff facilitate interactive and engaging education and outreach sessions that are designed to improve awareness and understanding of issues facing adolescents and young adults today.

Sessions include but are not limited to:

  • LGBTQ Cultural Competency
  • Creating Gender Inclusive Environments
  • Safer Sex Practices and HIV/STI 101
  • Substance Use Vaping Prevention (beginning 2020)

We’ve conducted hundreds of trainings, reaching over 2,000 attendees at schools, non-profit organizations, businesses, local clinics and health centers, faith-based organizations, and professional conferences.

Staff cater trainings and educational programs to fit the unique needs of individual organizations, businesses and/or schools. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Jennifer Leininger at or visit the Trainings Education page

Substance Use Prevention & Education

Education & Trainings

  • For Students
    • Lurie Children's Division of Adolescent Medicine has created a research informed youth substance use prevention curriculum focusing on the three substances that most impact young people in Chicago: vaping/e-cigarettes, marijuana, and alcohol. These lessons detail the health effects of each substance, but also aim to discuss why youth may turn to these substances -- such as stress and unmet mental health needs. These lessons also touch on the benefits of abstaining from or delaying use, safety protocols for friends who are experiencing a medical emergency due to substance use, alternative coping strategies, harm reduction, and advice for youth on how to talk to friends about substances.
  • For Guardians and School Staff
    • We provide workshops for parents/guardians and school staff around these same topics listed for students, and discuss best practices for talking with youth and how to react and respond to instances of substance use.

If you are interested in bringing Substance Use Prevention Education to your organization, please contact Okwuchi Onwubu at

Naloxone Training & Distribution

Naloxone is a prescription medicine that can temporarily stop the effect of an opioid overdose and help a person start breathing again. We provide free Naloxone (including training on how to use it). These trainings are offered in partnership with community organizations and other nonprofit organizations and can be facilitated via our Mobile Health Unit or onsite at the community agency.

If you are interested in bringing Naloxone training/distribution to your community, please contact Jennifer Leininger at

Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition (SUPC)

Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition (formerly Preventing Alcohol Abuse in Chicago Teens (PAACT) is a multi-agency coalition of community-based organizations, government agencies and stakeholders from across the city. Convened by Lurie Children’s, SUPC works to prevent youth substance use in Chicago. SUPC also convenes a Youth Advisory Board in collaboration with Voices of Chicago Youth in Education (VOYCE) to ensure that the work of the coalition remains centered on the needs and experiences of young people in Chicago. SUPC has implemented city-wide tactics including a communications and community engagement campaign is targeted to youth and parents/caregivers (IGotThis) with the goals of increase awareness of the potential harmful effects and consequences of alcohol consumption for underage drinkers and provide support in decreasing young people's perception of permissive family norms with regard to underage alcohol use.

If you or your organization is interested in becoming involved in SUPC, please contact Jennifer Leininger at

HIV/STI Screening

The division provides free confidential HIV/STI screening and safer sex counseling for anyone age 12-24. Our certified counselors offer these testing and counseling sessions in our offices and at community spaces/events. If you’re interested in making an appointment for testing or having us provide free HIV/STI screening at an event at your school, business, or community space, please contact Sal Salam at or visit the HIV/STI Screening page