Adolescent Medicine Department
A Broad Spectrum of Services for Adolescents and Young Adults
When one thinks of Children's Hospital Colorado, unique and specialized care dedicated to kids comes to mind. The hospital also excels at providing exceptional care for adolescents and young adults.
The Section of Adolescent Medicine at Children's Hospital Colorado is unique in that providers function as both primary care providers, especially for teenagers with complex medical and emotional problems, as well as providing subspecialty care. Adolescent medicine physicians treat the whole person by providing medical care while carefully considering the psychosocial context.
Adolescent medicine providers at Children's Hospital Colorado are passionate about caring for teens. Providers are sensitive to the unique needs of adolescents. Confidentiality is essential in order to gain and maintain teenagers’ trust. Patients are initially seen with their parents or guardians (if present) at the beginning of a clinic visit. Once a parent’s concerns and history are elicited, practitioners meet with adolescents alone, maintaining confidentiality while providing a comfortable way for teenagers to privately disclose their concerns.
Gynecologic Care and Family Planning
As evidence of his commitment to community outreach, Dr. Eric Sigel (pictured) is a monthly guest host of the teen radio show “What’s Up With Tony V” on KS107.5 FM, Sunday nights from 7 – 8 p.m.
The program began shortly after the Columbine High School massacre as an outlet for teens to express their concerns and have questions answered in a supportive environment. The show provides area teens the opportunity to phone in and speak to an adolescent medicine physician.
Often the series addresses a particular topic such as eating disorders, puberty, steroid use, drugs, depression and more. At other times the show is an open forum which allows kids to call in with any question or concern.
The adolescent medicine clinic offers a wide range of services, including primary care, specialty care and consultative services. Gynecologic care and family planning are mainstays of adolescent medicine as providers are experienced in dealing with both routine and complex gynecologic issues.
Though all practitioners in our adolescent medicine practice provide gynecologic services, Dr. Amy Sass supervises a specialty gynecologic practice offering expertise in the assessment and treatment of menstrual disorders, endocrinopathies, pelvic pain and birth control management for teenagers with chronic illness. In addition, Dr. Sass, along with Dr. David Kaplan, has been studying, evaluating and managing teenagers and younger girls with vulvar and vaginal ulcers whose etiology is undetermined.
Family planning services in the clinic are broad. The clinic offers Implanon™, a new hormonal contraceptive stick, implanted in the upper arm that remains effective for three years. Several of our providers are experienced in inserting and managing intrauterine devices (IUDs), while all providers are skilled in managing the more common forms of contraception, including Depo-Provera ®, NuvaRing ®, Ortho Evra ® and birth control pills. The clinic is a federally designated Title X program which provides certain contraception at low or no cost, and services are confidential.
Each of the physicians in adolescent medicine is board-certified or board eligible. They all see the spectrum of adolescent issues, though each has one or more areas of expertise.
Dr. David Kaplan has been the chief of the department since 1987. He is active clinically and specializes in treating teens with complex psychosocial issues, school avoidance and chronic symptoms such as headaches, abdominal pain, chest pain, syncope, eating disorders, anxiety and depression.
Colorado Adolescent Maternity Program
Expectant mothers in the Colorado Adolescent Maternity Program (C.A.M.P.) are followed by obstetricians at the University of Colorado Hospital. After giving birth, a mother and her newborn may then both be followed in the Young Mother’s Clinic at Children's Hospital Colorado.
Combining mother and child medical visits improves access to primary care, increases compliance with follow up appointments, and allows providers to interface regularly with teen mothers in an effort to reduce the rate of unintended subsequent pregnancies and improve teen parenting skills. Dr. Karolyn Kabir, a recent graduate of the fellowship program, is the medical director of the Young Mother’s Clinic. In addition to providing expert gynecologic care for the teen moms and general primary care for both teenagers and their babies, her research focus is on post partum depression in adolescent mothers.
Amy Sass, MD is the clinic director of adolescent medicine. In addition to her work in adolescent gynecology, Dr. Sass specializes in the care of patients with complex medical problems, eating disorders as well as other common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. She is also actively involved in resident education.
The newest faculty member of Children’s adolescent medicine team is Dr. Dan Reirden. Dr. Reirden, who is board-certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics, joined the department in September 2007. His faculty appointment includes the Departments of Pediatric Infectious Disease and Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Reirden works in the CHIP clinic, providing care to teenagers and young adults who have HIV/AIDS. He specializes in the care of youth who are gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered.
Dr. Reirden’s dual specialization allows him to work with older teens and young adults with congenital pediatric diseases or complicated medical issues who are in transition to adult medicine. Dr. Reirden’s research interests include HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and insight into the behaviors of teenagers that may lead to prevention of these infections.
Eric Sigel, MD has been the medical director of the Eating Disorders Treatment Program at Children's Hospital Colorado for 13 years. Dr. Sigel’s career has branched out recently as he specializes in working with youth who are violent and gang involved, and treats adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other psychosocial dysfunction. Additionally, Drs. Sigel and Reirden focus part of their clinical work on primary care for adolescent males.
In addition to clinical work, Dr. Sigel has been actively involved with research. He has an active career development award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is studying youth violence detection and intervention in the primary care setting. Dr. Sigel is developing an easy to administer screening tool for teens who are at risk for violence involvement enabling primary care providers to recognize, and ultimately intervene before youth suffer the consequences of violence.
The Section of Adolescent Medicine includes three midlevel primary care practitioners who address a wide variety of adolescent healthcare needs, including primary care, family planning and contraceptive management.
Eating Disorders Treatment Program
A clinical highlight of Children's Hospital Colorado is the Eating Disorders Treatment Program, which is a joint program between adolescent medicine and psychiatry. Care may include inpatient care in the seven-bed unit, day treatment or outpatient care. The program is a national center and treats all children with eating disorders with specialized care for younger teenagers, children and boys. Several outpatient clinic appointments are available each week to provide timely assessment for youth and their families with acute issues related to eating disorders.
Due to the limited resources and high demand for pediatric behavioral health and psychiatry, it is important to note that adolescent medicine providers are an excellent resource in this arena. The specialists provide basic psychiatric care and offer medical management of depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), school avoidance, obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), medical conversion disorders and more.
The scope of services offered by the Department of Adolescent Medicine and the passion with which the providers deliver care is a great resource to teenagers in the area. The clinic allows teens to receive care in a supportive environment that addresses all of their medical and psychosocial needs. Primary care providers are encouraged to contact the adolescent medicine providers at any time with questions, consults or referrals.
For More Information
For more information, visit our website, contact Adolescent Medicine through One Call at (720) 777-3999, or call directly at (720) 777-6131.