University of South Florida

USF Health Ybor Youth Clinic first in Florida to receive Adolescent-Centered Environment Certification from the Adolescent Health Initiative

The USF Health Ybor Youth Clinic (YYC) is proud to announce successful completion of the Adolescent-Centered Environment Assessment Process (ACE-AP) and certification as a silver adolescent-centered health center; the first clinic in Florida to receive this designation. Funding for participation in this certification process was provided by the Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County’s Adolescent & Teen Health Program.

As part of a countywide initiative to improve teen access to health services and community resources, the program launched in 2019 and has led to the placement of an adolescent health navigator at the YYC, development of an online resource directory (, formation of the Teen Connect Youth Advisory Board, and trainings for health care providers, parents, and youth-serving professionals to help advance the delivery of youth-friendly care.

The ACE-AP, developed and facilitated by the Adolescent Health Initiative out of the University of Michigan Medicine program, is a comprehensive self-assessment and guided improvement process designed to minimize barriers and improve the delivery of care to adolescents. The ACE-AP is comprehensive, spanning 12 key areas of adolescent-centered care, including adolescent best practices and standards of care, confidentiality, behavioral health practices, adolescent involvement and empowerment, and cultural responsiveness.

Opened in 2012, the Ybor Youth Clinic is a program in the Department of Pediatrics in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, and is staffed by health care providers from pediatrics, adolescent medicine, and infectious disease, among other specialties. The Clinic provides targeted health care and risk reduction services to youth (ages 13 to 24) and has earned several awards for its outreach, most recently the 2021 Excellence in Adolescent Health Award from the Adolescent Health Initiative.

“As the only clinic in our community specifically designed for youth, the Ybor Youth Clinic provides a safe, inclusive and non-judgmental environment for teens and young adults to access sexual and reproductive health services confidentially,” said Dr. Patricia Emmanuel, professor and chair, Department of Pediatrics in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. “This certification underscores the clinic’s ability to effectively respond to the changing healthcare system with innovative and collaborative approaches tailored to the unique needs of young people.”

“The Ybor Youth Clinic serves as an outstanding model of youth-centered care for our community,” said Jane Murphy, executive director, Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County. “We are honored to partner with the YYC and continue our work together to share best practices to improve access to health services and reduce barriers to care for youth and families.”

During adolescence, youth experience disproportionately high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, mental health issues, substance use, and unintentional injuries that can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Consequently, the health care needs of adolescents are unique from other patient populations. Young people may avoid accessing the services they need for various reasons including concerns around confidentiality, fear of judgment, and inconvenient hours and location.

Adolescent-centered environments effectively provide comprehensive services for adolescents, ensuring that they feel well cared for. An adolescent-centered environment is inclusive of, informed by, and responsive to the needs and values of adolescents.

Connecting Teens to Health Services and Resources.

Through the Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County’s Adolescent Health Initiative in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools, USF Health and youth-serving organizations, like the Ybor Youth Clinic, Teen Connect Tampa Bay was created to improve teen access to health services and community resources. Teen Connect is an online resource directory and referral database for teens and young adults that provides personalized services based on their individual needs.

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