Abu Dhabi, UAE, August 3, 2021: Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), one of the UAE’s largest hospitals for serious and complex care and a joint-venture partnership between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, has officially launched its new Adolescent Clinic in Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City’s this clinic is a novel addition, not only to SSMC’s suite of services but the first multispecialty clinic of its kind in the UAE.
Dr. Philip Fischer, pediatrics and adolescent medicine consultant and chair of the Adolescent Medicine Division at SSMC, said: “We are adopting a unique approach by targeting adolescents as a specialized group. Broadly speaking, in the medical field it is still assumed that adolescents are pediatric patients, however, adolescent patients tend to have different and unique needs that require a specialized model of care. Many pediatricians are also trained to take care of patients who are 12 years old and under, so there is often a lack of connection which leaves teenagers stuck between childhood and adulthood from a health care perspective, creating an unmet need in a lot of teenagers that we can remedy with a focused clinic like this.”
The clinic will be coordinated by Dr. Fischer, a pediatrician with decades of experience taking care of complex adolescent medicine cases at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and now, a few months experience in Abu Dhabi. He is the author of dozens of research and educational articles about adolescent health as well as a new book about chronic fatigue, “Tired Teens.”
The clinic will develop a dedicated structure of care for adolescents, not only to resolve their problems but do so in a setting involving multiple specialists that can provide everything that the patient needs in a holistic manner. Adolescent patients will first consult a general physician with adolescent experience, who will then design a unique treatment plan in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of doctors and healthcare professionals, providing patients with good direction to lead them towards recovery.
The center will deal with an array of health concerns prevalent in teenagers, some of which often relate to puberty or life changes, namely dietary and eating issues such as weight gain or obesity and anorexia, hormonal changes resulting in acne, bodily growth, and psychological adjustment issues over and above typical depression and anxiety, such as patients that have issues with mood but are also presenting other physical symptoms in conjunction. This will call for a multidisciplinary team of physicians that will include an endocrinologist for hormonal issues and growth concerns, a dietician, psychologist or psychiatrist, a dermatologist, neurologist, and gynecologist, amongst others.
“We will focus on customizing the care that each patient needs, which will require pre-planning before the patient visits to ensure that the right specialists are available on the scheduled day. The plan is to provide each specialist with a brief around the patient’s health concerns so that when consultations occur, it will help us to efficiently target the issue and align on the course of treatment,” continued Dr. Fischer.
The clinic will also tackle lesser-known ailments in teenagers, like chronic pain and chronic fatigue. While conditions such as acne or obesity are much discussed, chronic pain and fatigue in adolescent patients are often neglected or overlooked. Chronic pain, for example, can arise from multiple factors such as pain from a long-lasting illness or injury (like a concussion), or it can be associated with mood issues like anxiety and depression or a potential result of another underlying condition.
“On the face of it, these health care needs do not appear to be overly complex, however, they are unmet, which, if left untreated, may become more complex and require an approach to care that takes a lot more multidisciplinary coordination and action. SSMC’s Adolescent Clinic will assume the role of addressing these unique challenges, mapping out all concerns and ensuring that all contributors are being treated,” concluded Dr. Fischer.
The Adolescent Clinic will be situated within SSMC’s current Pediatric Clinic, and will be open three days a week Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Adolescent patients will be able to either self-refer or get a referral from their physicians. Bookings can be made through SEHA call center 80050.