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The PATCH Story
In 2010, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health (WAWH) founded this program as the Wisconsin Adolescent Health Care Communication Program or WAHCCP. The Adolescent Health Care Communication Program was originally developed by the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH), and was adapted by WAWH to fit the needs of teens and providers here in Wisconsin! Originally, it was designed as an intervention to bridge the communication gap between teens and health care providers around the topic of sexual health.
In 2014, we rebranded and became Providers and Teens Communicating for Health (PATCH - the program you now know and love)! Along with rebranding, we updated and expanded our curricula to better address a wider variety of sensitive health topics in addition to sexual health such as: mental health, drug and alcohol use, relationships and so many more! At the same time we launched our first pilot expansion site in Wood County, Wisconsin for the 2014-2015 program year. The site did not continue after the first pilot year, but we learned a lot and continued to move forward with our new knowledge!
In 2015, we started the process of adapting PATCH to be implemented in another pilot expansion site, this time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin! The Milwaukee Site officially launched in 2016, hiring a team of 11 new Teen Educators.
In 2016, we decided to use our Teen Educator Model (a powerful youth-adult collaboration based in empowerment/employment of teen voices) to launch a new PATCH Project called the PATCH Advocacy Fellowship! Fellows are hired from across the state and work on health-related advocacy projects within their own communities!
In 2017, PATCH expanded once more to become a national organization known as the PATCH Program. Our local Wisconsin sites (Milwaukee, Dane County, and the State-wide Advocacy Fellowship) continue to serve a large portion of the state and are supported by the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health. The PATCH Program provides additional support and coaching to individual PATCH Sites in hopes of further expanding the programs mission, vision, and values to others across the nation! As of now there are three PATCH Sites across the U.S., and we hope many more will consider joining us!