A program to provide free medical care to teens is expanding in the metro. Variety Care is bringing its Teen Clinic to its newest location on Britton Road.
In 2015, Variety Care’s Teen Clinic launched a plan to reduce Oklahoma County’s teen pregnancies by one-third by 2020. They have already achieved that goal and are now opening their second location.
The initiative is part of the Thrive collective with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Oklahoma City Public Schools, from the classroom to the clinic.
“We provide them with this safe space, where they can come and can receive anonymous testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and also education on how to make the healthiest choices for themselves,” said Kali Parks, Variety Care’s adolescent health education manager.
Variety Care hosts monthly free workshops on the south side of town, now north side kids can have the same easy access to care. Providers say the conversations they have with these teens may surprise you.
Pediatrician Dr. Kyle Stewart said, “It’s fascinating what they know. It’s also fascinating what they don’t know.”
Women’s health nurse practitioner Lisa Hays added, “I actually had somebody tell me recently, ‘I don’t have anybody to talk with this about, so I’m watching these videos to try to get information about taking care of myself.’”
But with the right guidance, and a focus on the future, Variety Care's team helps these teens change their mindset.
“If we can get them to look at the big picture and what they’re really planning for themselves, then they can put some of that in perspective,” Hays said.
The Teen Clinic still encourages young people to have a trusted adult to talk to in their lives as well. For parents who feel uncomfortable having "The Big Talk," Dr. Stewart advises having lots of little talks, sprinkled with humor.
He suggested, “There’s usually a romance in pretty much every movie. You can have a one-off conversation about that. You can say, ‘hey, what do you think about that relationship?’”
All teens are welcome to attend the first free workshop at the Britton Health Center on Thursday, Aug. 29 from 3:30-6 p.m. The address is 721 West Britton Road.