Youth Council on Health and Teaching
Youth Council on Health and Teaching (YouthCHAT)
Healthcare providers sometimes feel unsure about how to interact effectively in the clinic with youth who are moving through the challenging years of adolescence. The YouthCHAT program, in which trained youth actors role play with and provide feedback to trainees, has proven that direct interaction with and teaching by young people themselves is an effective and efficient path to confidence and competence in communicating with adolescents, for providers who see them in clinic. Pre- and post-tests have consistently shown the value of this training over its 18-year history of pediatric resident training. YouthCHAT is praised by residents, such as one 4th-year medicine/pediatric resident who cited the training as, "among the most beneficial in my four years of residency".
The young people who become actors in YouthCHAT come to us from Twin Cities high schools. After a hiring process that includes both a written application and an interview, those selected are employed by the Diviison to collaborate with faculty on teaching effective clinical communication skills. They receive training in portraying a character effectively, as well as in the skills of providing constructive feedback. Youth actors, too, find their role in the training program valuable. As one YouthCHAT actor said, "I learn something every time I come to teach residents."