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October 23, 2014

By Emily Ruedinger, MD, Adolescent Medicine Fellow at the University of Minnesota and Abigail Johnson, MSW, MPH

On a national level, the teen birth rate has been steadily declining over the past 20 years. However, the U.S. teen birth rate remains substantially higher than most other developed countries, including nearly all European nations, Canada, and Australia. Although Minnesota boasts one of the lowest teen birth rates in the country, in 2012 there were still approximately 20 births per 1,000 adolescent females ages 15-19.

Despite best efforts to reduce unintended teen pregnancies, however, it is likely that most pediatricians practicing in Minnesota will care for more than one adolescent-
headed family throughout their career. It is important to understand the unique needs of this population and to serve these families using known best and promising practices.


By Elyse O. Kharbanda, MD, MPH, HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research

Although adolescence has long been recognized as a vulnerable period, preventive health care for this age group is a relatively recent phenomenon. Today a wide range of adolescent clinical preventive health services are recommended

In 1998, Dr. Arthur Elster, author of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services (GAPS), wrote “As the ‘final common pathway’ for synthesizing and applying scientific information . . . primary care physicians are likely to experience a preventive services information overload.”


By Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, MD, FAAP, Pediatric Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at University of Minnesota Masonic
Children’s Hospital and member of AAP’s Committee on Nutrition

As of August 5, 2014, any food product manufactured in the United States that bears the “gluten-free” claim on its label must meet new and more restrictive rules. Gluten is a group of proteins that are found in wheat, rye, barley, and some other grains.

The Food and Drug Administration has now defined the “gluten-free” as having less than 20 ppm in foods that carry this label. This is the lowest level of gluten that can be detected using currently available tools. The same standard applies to foods labeled “without gluten,” “free of gluten” and “no gluten.”


MNAAP President and Geneticist at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital

What made you decide to go into pediatrics?

I can trace my decision to be a pediatrician to experience with an individual child. As a medical student, like many of us, I was interested in a variety of things from child psychiatry to internal medicine. I was completely hooked, however, when I experienced the opportunity to care for a little girl who had Reye’s syndrome. After having had chickenpox, she came to the emergency room in a coma, with a failing liver, and I spent the rest of the night with her, my resident and intern, her family, and our attending. When she recovered and left the hospital, I knew I had to follow a path that would let me take care of someone with such resilience.


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