It's expected that teens and tweens will worry their parents - and often drive them to distraction - during their transition to adulthood and the experimental behavior and angst that goes with it.
Negotiating medical issues common to that age group often requires additional expertise. That's one of the reasons the University of Mississippi Medical Center has established an Adolescent and Young Adult Health Clinic at three different locations in the metro area.
It adds three experts in adolescent medicine to the physicians and psychologists who staff UMMC's Center for the Advancement of Youth, said Dr. David Elkin, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and the center's executive director.
And, it doubles the patient capacity of the center, also known as CAY, Elkin said.
"Adolescence is definitely the big time of transition," said Dr. Sadhana Dharmapuri, assistant professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine and new chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics. "It's a time when youth are trying to figure out who they are. They're having a lot of physiological changes, and they have issues that need to be addressed."
That can be overwhelming for physicians who aren't expert in those fields - among them, eating disorders, anxiety and depression, or teen gynecological issues, Dharmapuri said. "It's been definitely seen as a need to have providers specialized in adolescent medicine," she said.
The Adolescent and Young Adult Health Clinic operates Monday afternoons, Friday mornings and Friday afternoons at the Jackson Medical Mall off Woodrow Wilson Avenue; Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons at UMMC's Grants Ferry multispecialty clinic, 1010 Lakeland Place in Flowood; and Tuesday mornings and afternoons at the Select Specialty Hospital Clinic, 5903 Ridgewood Road in Jackson.
The Adolescent and Young Adult Health Clinic falls under the umbrella of CAY, but is a separate clinic, Elkin said. CAY is open weekdays from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at UMMC's Children's Specialty Clinic, but effective Sept. 29 moves to the Select Specialty Hospital clinic.