WONCA Special Interest Group: Adolescent & Young Adult Care

Adolescent & Young Adult Care

A new WONCA Special Interest Group on Adolescent and Young Adult care was approved by the WONCA Executive in January2019.

Find out more about Why we need an SIG on Adolescent and Young Adult Care

General membership is open to interested family doctors. For more information email convenor

Convenor / Chair

Maria Veronica Svetaz (USA)

Maria Veronica Svetaz MD is Assistant Professor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Minnesota. From Argentina originally, she came to the University of Minnesota in 1996 to join the Division of Paediatrics and Adolescent Health Leadership Education in Adolescent Health training program for a two-year fellowship where she is now a faculty member.

She was a member of the National team that drafted the 2002 "Consensus Statement on Health Care Transitions for Young Adults with Special Needs," (published in Pediatrics, 2002). She has been the creator and Medical Director of Aqui Para Ti/Here for You youth development program since its beginning in 2002. This program has received multiple US awards, given its Family Centred approach to adolescence. She has been a constant advocate in issues related to Health Equity and Immigrants' rights.

Her research interests include working with bilingual youth, chronic illness and youth, issues around parenting that youth, educating practitioners to better work with minority youth, and how to advance health equity. She is currently the chair of the US based Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) 's National Diversity Committee.

Pierre-Paul Tellier (Canada)

Pierre-Paul Tellier MD, is an associate professor in Family Medicine at McGill University, in Montreal. After working for two years, Dr Tellier went to New York City to do a Fellowship in Adolescent Health at Bellevue Hospital with Adele Hoffman, a pioneer of the discipline in the United States of America.

He is involved in education, at the School of Medicine and School of Nursing at McGill University, faculty development and continuing professional development locally, nationally and internationally. His current research interests include, Family Medicine identity development, medical student empathy and HPV epidemiology. In 2016, he was commissioned to author an article entitled “The impact on mental and physical health of human rights as they relate to gender and minority adolescent and emerging adults” for the International Journal of Human Rights and Health, which was launched at the House of Commons in London, England. He also was the guest editor of a special edition of Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry on gender minority youth.

His longest community involvement has been with Head and Hands an organization offering services to young people between the ages of 14 to 25. As a result, he was awarded the Montreal Centraide Solidaire Citizen Engagement Award, and most recently the Sovereign Medal for Volunteers.

Read more about Pierre-Paul here.

email convenors

Co-Convenor or other office bearers

Executive Members

Membership Open?

Vision and Mission of WONCA SIG on Adolescent & Young Adult Care

Objectives of the WONCA SIG on Adolescent & Young Adult Care

o Engage a strong, diversified membership, representing all WONCA regions in health care issues related to AYA.
o Create a platform and a presence at the different WONCA world conferences to develop an awareness around the need to make Adolescent Health a priority
o Disseminate evidence-based practices for the care of adolescent, young adults and their parents

Publications & Documents


o Provide evidence-based, system wide continuing professional development that will increase the ability of Family Medicine Physician to be successful at meeting the unique health care needs of teens and youth, individually as part of their families.
o Increase the number of workshops presented at WONCA global and regional conference on this matter.
o Promote collaborative work of this SIG with other existing WONCA SIGs, such as Women’s Health, Family Violence, and Migrant Health, to mention a few possibilities.
o Connect WONCA with other Global Organizations working on Adolescent Health, in particular:
     o The UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.
     o IAAH: The International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH),
     o Regional and Global Organizations like PAHO and WHO to provide training for local support of unmet needs in this area.
     o Collaborate with the largest National and International Organization for Adolescent Health, based in the USA, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
o Assure that the Lancet Commission had a Family Medicine Physician Perspective.
o Long term goal: consider the creation of a Curriculum for Family Medicine Physicians similar to Euro-Teach that focused on Pediatrics and Adolescent Health in Europe, with a spin on focusing on the care of marginalized youth, who are the most vulnerable based on such social determinants of health as racism and a culture of oppression.


Relevant Resources

Download June 2019 resources list

Mental health resources

McCutcheon, R.A., Marques, T.R., Howes, O.D. Schizophrenia - An Overview. JAMA Pscychiatry, Published online Oct 30, 2019, E1-E9 doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3360

Dalsgaard, S., Thorsteinsson, E, Trabjerg, B.B. et al. Incidence Rate and Cumulative Incidences of the Full Spectrum of Diagnosed Mental Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence. JAMA Psychiatry, Published online November 20, 2019, doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3523

Sexual Health
Altarum Institute, Sexual Health and Your Patients: A provider's Guide, Washington, D.C.: Altarum Institute; 2016. https://nationalcoalitionforsexualhealth.org/tools/for-healthcare-providers/document/ProviderGuide.pdf
This document provides information on how to obtain a sexual history with both adolescents and adults and provides information on how do discuss various aspects of sexual health with patients.


Altarum Institute, Sexual Health and Your Patients: A provider's Guide, Washington, D.C.: Altarum Institute; 2016. https://nationalcoalitionforsexualhealth.org/tools/for-healthcare-providers/document/ProviderGuide.pdf

Other resources

Patton GC, Sawyer SM, Santelli JS, Ross DA, Afifi R, Allen NB, Arora M, Azzopardi P, Baldwin W, Bonell C, Kakuma R. Our future: a Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing. The Lancet. 2016 Jun 17;387(10036):2423-78.

Svetaz MV, Chulani V, West KJ, Voss R, Kelley MA, Raymond-Flesch M, Thruston W, Coyne-Beasley T, Kang M, Leung E, Barkley L. Racism and Its Harmful Effects on Non-dominant Racial–Ethnic Youth and Youth-Serving Providers: A Call to Action for Organizational Change: The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2018 Aug 1;63(2):257-61.

The Golbal Strategy for Women's Childrens and Adolescent's Health (2016-2030). http://globalstrategy.everywomaneverychild.org/pdf/EWEC_globalstrategyreport_200915_FINAL_WEB.pdf

Svetaz MV, Garcia-Huidobro D, Allen M. Parents and family matter: Strategies for developing family-centered adolescent care within primary care practices. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2014 Sep 1; 41(3):489-506.

National Research Council, Institute of Medicine (US), Lawrence RS, Gootman JA, Sim LJ. Adolescent health services: Missing opportunities. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2009.