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The PATCH Story
PATCH, originally known as the Wisconsin Adolescent Health Care Communication Program (WAHCCP), began in 2010 when the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) awarded the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health a single $10,000 grant to capitalize on the success of a New York City-based peer-to-peer education program – the Teen Outreach Reproductive CHallenge, or TORCH®. Teen Educators were hired and trained to implement two adolescent-provider communication workshops – Keeping It Real with Your Patients and Keeping It Real with Your Doctor. These workshops aimed to reduce the communication barrier between adolescents and adults regarding sexual and reproductive health issues.
After a very successful inaugural year of programming, a comprehensive program evaluation plan was developed in 2011 to determine the effectiveness, feasibility, and statewide demand for WAHCCP. Based on the rigorous evaluation, there were significant improvements in provider and teen knowledge, self-efficacy, and behavioral intentions to provide and seek quality health care. Further, health care providers self-reported behavior change, even with clinical barriers, three-months after the workshop. More notably, program effectiveness was demonstrated one year earlier than anticipated. These findings were published in Wisconsin Medical Journal in 2015.
Building on the initial framework, the Wisconsin Adolescent Health Care Communication Program became Providers and Teens Communicating for Health (PATCH) in 2014 when the structure, capacity, scope, and overall mission shifted to meet the growing demands of young people. PATCH began to focus on improving the communication and overall relationship between health care professionals and adolescents.
Furthermore, in 2014, PATCH began its replication efforts by piloting an expansion site in rural Wisconsin. The lessons learned from this pilot led to the development of a full replication site in 2016. PATCH went national in 2017 with its first non-Wisconsin PATCH Site.
2016 also marked the beginning of the Wisconsin PATCH Youth Advocacy Fellowship. The program empowers young people, ages 12-21, to grow as leaders and young activists by making their voices heard in community and state level conversations.