It’s a van with a plan.
Lincoln Medical Center last week unveiled its TEEN (Teen Education and Empowerment Network) Van.
Hospital staff will be taking it to schools, churches and community events to provide support services to improve the health and well-being of Bronx teenagers and young adults ages 12 to 21.
The 2012 Ford Transit was bought through a grant from the New York Yankees, and will enable the hospital to boost outreach efforts to mentor teens about self-esteem and help prevent them from choosing risky lifestyle behaviors, said Lincoln officials.
The TEEN program, under the guidance of the hospital’s Community Outreach Program and Teen Center, also focuses on providing counseling about career opportunities and college readiness. “Our adolescents and young adults need and deserve a safe and nurturing environment to help them become healthy and productive members of society,” city Health and Hospitals Corp. senior vice president and executive director Iris Jimenez Hernandez said at the van’s Dec. 14 official unveiling outside the Mott Haven hospital.
“We are very grateful to the New York Yankees for their continued support of our children and teenagers and will ensure that our TEEN Van will be used as a significant tool to bring the message of health and well-being throughout our service areas.”
The van, decorated with a distinctive wrap-around exterior design that will appeal to teens, will carry hospital staff to South Bronx schools, churches, and community-based organizations that provide youth oriented services and will be present at health fairs and other community events.
Lincoln health educators who speak to teens will be able to give them appropriate referrals and health information on topics of concern to what Maria Ramos of Lincoln’s Community Outreach and Health Education Department called “this vulnerable population.”
That could include obesity, lack of physical exercise, substance abuse, dating violence, impaired familial relationships, reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases “and other psychosocial stressors they are confronting in their daily lives,” said Dr. Monique Collier, chief of adolescent medicine.
Besides the use of the teen van, Lincoln is expanding its Teen Center Program, including updating its Teen telephone information line to include scheduling confidential Family Planning Services, providing additional staffing, and expanding Teen Center hours Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. starting in January.