Adolescent Health Care: A Practical Guide


It is our great pleasure to write the foreword to the fifth edition of Adolescent Health Care: A Practical Guide. Larry Neinstein and his associate editors provide a wonderful resource for practicing health professionals caring for adolescents, who will use this handy reference guide on a daily basis. This latest volume reflects the changing field of adolescent medicine: It incorporates new ideas and data into earlier versions while adding new perspectives in the field. Most importantly, the very practical approaches of previous editions continue to permeate this latest version of one of the most useful guides written for the medical care of teenagers.

Many faculty members tell us of the very practical ways this book influences their teaching and delivery of care. We also know that many other physicians, nurses, and health practitioners, who see the majority of adolescents in private practice and public health settings, will also find this book of great use.

It is for those who are in training, the many subspecialists now in the field, and the larger health professional audience that this fine volume has been revised. Older sections have been brought up to date and new sections added to reflect the latest in management and care of adolescents and their families.

Dr. Neinstein and his associate editors have provided us with a solid base for the practice of adolescent medicine, adding new chapters on psychosomatic illness, complementary medicine, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, human papillomavirus (HPV), and anogenital warts. Sixty-six new authors and coauthors have contributed to this edition, further recognizing the many leading experts who add their skill and expertise to the field of adolescent health care. They have skillfully distilled and synthesized new knowledge and transformed it into useful and accessible information for the practitioner.

It is hard to believe that it has been more than 23 years since Adolescent Health Care was first conceived. During this time, dramatic changes have occurred in the field, including the establishment of adolescent medicine as a subspecialty in pediatrics, family medicine, and internal medicine. This recognition has served to codify special areas of interest and knowledge in the field. Expertise in adolescent health is found in academic health centers, college health centers, community agencies, and school services nationally and internationally.

It is certainly hard to predict where the field will go in the next 50 years. Clearly, adolescence as a period of life will continue to undergo dramatic changes as our young people seek new ways to redefine themselves and to explore new ideas and challenges. We will need to understand how they will influence other teenagers and how young people will have an impact on their families, their communities, and the world at large. Their health care may play a much larger role in understanding how health and illness will change in our society, in an increasingly smaller and smaller world.

One can only wonder how the daily care of teenagers will also change. Clearly, the developmental aspects of this challenging period of time will remain. But with enhanced communication between teenagers and their world, an expanded role of the Internet, iPods, and cell phones in our lives, and the drive toward seeking and improving self-help and self-knowledge, it is hard to conceive of the many new ways by which we will be providing care for these young people.

With that in mind, we are sure that a future edition of Adolescent Health Care: A Practical Guide will be around to assist us in meeting the challenges of youth and give us the opportunity to provide the highest quality of health care.