Adolescent Medicine

Adolescent Medicine

What does an Adolescent Medicine specialist do?
What are the career opportunities?
What Board, if any, certifies an Adolescent Medicine Physician?
What is the lifestyle of an Adolescent Medicine subspecialist?
What is the compensation of an Adolescent Medicine Physician?
How do I become an Adolescent Medicine Specialist?
Where do I find out about available programs?
When do I apply?
Why should I choose to become an Adolescent Medicine subspecialist?
Faculty Contacts
Proposed Electives

What does an Adolescent Medicine Physician do?
Adolescent Medicine specialists have a wide variety of professional opportunities. Some spend 100% of their time providing clinical care for adolescents; others 100% in research; others a combination of providing clinical care, teaching, research, or policy and program development. The clinical work may include adolescent primary care, mental health care, reproductive and sexual health care, disorders of puberty, eating disorders, chronic illness, chronic fatigue and chronic pain syndromes, substance abuse, school health, juvenile justice, sports medicine, global health, and transition care. Clinical care for adolescents often occurs in an interdisciplinary environment alongside mental health providers, social workers, dietitians, and other health professionals. Adolescent health research is also multidisciplinary, and may incorporate basic science, clinical research, behavioral science, and health services research.

What are the career opportunities?
There is a shortage of Adolescent Medicine physicians in the United States. Most adolescent medicine subspecialists work in academic health centers and children’s hospitals, where they teach, conduct research, and/or provide consultative and primary care for adolescents.

In addition to academic medicine, job opportunities for adolescent medicine physicians include the following: (1) government and public health positions on the local, state and federal level (program development, leadership, policy, clinical care); (2) school health, juvenile justice, and military medicine; (3) adolescent subspecialty care in large multispecialty physician groups, adolescent private practices, or other patient care settings; and (4) industry.

What Board, if any, certifies an Adolescent Medicine Physician?
Adolescent Medicine specialists receive board certification through the American Boards of Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, or Family Medicine. All of these routes to certification in Adolescent Medicine first require certification by the primary field of training (Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Medicine-Pediatrics or Family Medicine).

What is the lifestyle of an Adolescent Medicine specialist?
The lifestyle of an Adolescent Medicine specialist depends on the type of job they hold. Communication with adolescents and their family regarding issues that arise outside of normal clinical hours is a routine aspect of most positions involving direct clinical care.  Many Adolescent Medicine specialists also provide consultation to pediatricians and other pediatric subspecialists. The majority of adolescent care is not emergent, and is provided in the outpatient setting, so it is rare for Adolescent Medicine specialists to spend nights in the hospital unless they are also hospitalists.

The field allows for flexibility in one’s work schedule, depending on the areas of interest and expertise. Given the varied work settings (e.g. community-based, academic medicine, research, public health, private practice, and hospitalist-based work), the field also provides meaningful opportunities for professional development in the context of a balanced lifestyle.

What is the compensation of an Adolescent Medicine specialist?
Academic salaries are similar to those for other non-procedure based pediatric subspecialties. There is a wide range of salaries because of the varied job types. Adolescent Medicine specialists may qualify for loan repayment programs for research through the National Institutes of Health or for clinical care in underserved areas through state and national loan repayment programs.

How do I become an Adolescent Medicine Specialist?

  • Complete a residency in Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Medicine-Pediatrics, or Family Medicine.
  • Complete an Adolescent Medicine Fellowship Training Program.  For pediatricians, this is a 3 year fellowship.  For internal medicine and family medicine, 2 years are training are required but fellowship programs may require 3 years.

Where do I find out about available programs?
Information about Adolescent Medicine Training Programs is available through the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, the ERAS/AAMC and the American Medical Association’s FRIEDA online database. SAHM encourages interested students and residents to apply for a travel scholarship to attend the Society’s annual meeting, where they can learn more about the field while networking with adolescent  health professionals and trainees.

When do I apply?
Residents-in-training should begin their research as soon as they have identified Adolescent Medicine as a career option. Adolescent medicine fellowships have participated in ERAS since 2012 and participate in a NRMP fall match in the last year of residency. Candidates may wish to contact programs of interest directly to determine the application process. For more information about the ERAS process for Adolescent Medicine, click here. Click here for match statistics.

Why should I choose to become an Adolescent Medicine subspecialist?

  1. You enjoy working with adolescents.  Adolescent medicine specialists genuinely enjoy working with teenagers and young adults.  They find adolescents engaging, fun to work with, and resilient. Your investment in the health and wellbeing of an adolescent can be very rewarding as they become productive, healthy young adults.
  2. You want to make an impact. Young people have some of the highest levels of unmet health care needs, and many pediatric residencies are still developing their adolescent medicine services.
  3. You are interested in transitions.  Adolescence is an important developmental time in the life course.  Adolescence is a period of intense cognitive, social, and emotional transitions as young people gain independence and move into adulthood.
  4. You are research-oriented and want to expand our knowledge of this important developmental transition. Our cognitive and behavioral scientific understanding of adolescence continues to expand and there are opportunities in public health, behavioral, health services, clinical and bench research relevant to adolescents.

For more information about Adolescent Medicine visit these websites:
Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Adolescent Medicine
American Board of Family Medicine
American Board of Internal Medicine
American Board of Pediatrics

Subspecialty Journals
Journal of Adolescent Health
Journal of Research in Adolescence
JAMA Pediatrics
American Journal of Public Health
Journal of Pediatric Adolescent Gynecology

Prescott, Heather Munro A Doctor of Their Own: The History of Adolescent Medicine. Harvard University Press, 1998.

Proposed Electives for a Resident Entering Adolescent Medicine
There are no mandatory rotations for residents prior to Fellowship.  A 2014 survey of Adolescent Medicine program directors was used to generate a list of suggested rotations to augment clinical expertise.  The following recommendations were made: psychiatry – particularly outpatient (88%), sports medicine (82%), gynecology (76%), family planning (76%), substance abuse (58%), and endocrinology/obesity (53%).  There was an even split among fellowship directors when asked if they recommended a second rotation in adolescent medicine (either clinical or research).

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