Blog posts by Paula Cody, MD, MPH

College Prep: Preparing for Life After Senior Year of High School

A new school year is right around the corner (or has already started in some cases).  College dorm move-in is in full swing (2 pieces of advice: prepare for extra time if shopping at big box stores since these stores are really busy right now, and check out the previous blog on health supplies to bring with you to the dorm). This is also the time of year where high school students come into clinic super stressed about life after high school.  Preparing for college can be a daunting task to any high schooler, especially an up-and-coming junior or senior. Not only do you have to worry about getting or maintaining your grades, you also have to worry about college applications, standardized tests, and even paying for college once you have been accepted. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you get better prepared for your future after high school is over.

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Puberty and Teens with Special Needs: Ensuring a Smooth Transition. Period.

Puberty can be a confusing time for all teens but may present additional challenges for teens with special needs, as well as their families and caregivers. Remember: your teen with special needs will experience the same body changes and hormone fluctuations that others do. No matter how difficult this may be at times, it is another journey you and your child will conquer together. With preparedness and composure, it may even become an exciting time! Here are some tips for navigating this transition:

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Teen Health and Housing After Aging Out of Foster Care

Teen Health and Housing After Aging Out of Foster CareFoster care has been a frequent topic of discussion lately; there have been heart breaking-stories (like foster families helping ease anxiety of immigrant children placed in foster care while separated from parents), as well as heart-warming stories like the clothing store in Florida who has special shopping hours just for children in foster care. There are many reports available about the health of children while in foster care, but what happens to the teenager who “ages out” of the foster care system?

Teens who are in the foster care system face challenging social stressors after leaving foster care when they turn 18 years old. Every year 24,000 US foster adolescents age out of foster care. The period after leaving foster care can be a rough transition. These teens are at high risk of bouncing from one living situation to another, which is termed “housing instability.” It’s been estimated that more than 35% of them may experience homelessness after leaving foster care. Read more

Miracle Rescue. Now What?!

It is such a relief that the Thai soccer team was rescued from the cave. I can’t even imagine what they went through during the more than 2 weeks they were trapped on that ledge. Now that they are out, they will have a long recovery, both medically and psychologically. While watching the news, one of the programs made a point to say that the boys were able to eat real food. Why on earth would that be an issue? Let’s talk about refeeding syndrome.

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The Teenage Brain: What Are They Thinking?

How many times a day do parents of teenagers find themselves asking the teen, “What on earth were you thinking?” The answer is, they were thinking, just with the wrong part of their brain.

Adolescence is the period of growth, development, and exploration. Teenagers are near the peak of physical health, strength, and mental capacity, and yet, for some, this can be a hazardous age. The top causes of death in teenagers are accidents, homicide, and suicide. Other causes of morbidity, including unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and substance use, are related to risk taking behaviors and are largely preventable.

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