SAHRC History

SAHRC was established in 2000 with HRSA/MCHB funding as a technical assistance and training center focused on supporting public health professionals to improve the health and well-being of adolescents & young adults.  SAHRC's original home was within the University’s Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health, a former UMN initiative inspired by the work of Gisela Konopka, internationally known social justice advocate, researcher and humanitarian who devoted much of her life to working with troubled youth, and was among the first to articulate the Fundamental Requirements for Healthy Development of Adolescent Youth.  With Gisela’s research and theories as our foundation, SAHRC is grounded in creating public health approaches to adolescent and young adult health with a positive youth development lens.

SAHRC has contributed substantially to the transformation of state adolescent health programs in Title V/Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programs by providing responsive leadership to the needs of adolescent focused staff ensuring a prepared and skilled adolescent health focused workforce across state Title V programs, creating and contributing to landmark tools and resources for state adolescent health programs, and advocated among national and federal partners for a dedicated and developmental approach to adolescent health.   

Some of our favorite contributions to the field of adolescent health:

As a key partner of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), SAHRC has contributed to the development of key foundational documents focused on adolescent health: The Conceptual Framework for Adolescent Health (2005), theoretical basis for addressing adolescent health MCH programs, including definitions of adolescence, and, the System Capacity for Adolescent Health: Public Health Improvement Tool (2005 and subsequent revisions), a set of assessment and discussion tools designed to assist state maternal and child health program in assessing six areas of capacity to support effective state adolescent health programs.

In collaboration with the National Adolescent and Young Adult Health and Information Center, SAHRC co-created Improving the Health of Youth, Adolescent Health Strategic Planning Guide for State MCH Programs, the first and only guide of its kind for state MCH programs, developed with extensive input from state adolescent health coordinators and MCH programs. 

Orientation Training for New State Adolescent Health Coordinators (SAHCs), institutionalized as a recurring training (every 2-3 years since 2000) to provide exploration of and tools for: navigating the SAHC role in the context of MCH; identifying & using evidence-based practices for adolescent health; engaging partners (including youth), and strategic planning and action for adolescent health.