The Gaston County Health Department will roll out a comprehensive revamping of its medical services for teens with the grand opening of the Teen Wellness Center at its Hudson Boulevard location Thursday.
“When we looked at the services we provide to teenagers – physicals, immunizations, family planning, even STI and pregnancy testing – we realized we were delivering those services in different clinics in our building,” said Health Director Chris Dobbins. “By revamping our service model and putting all of those services in one clinic we will make it easier for teenagers to receive high quality care.”
With funds from the Gaston Youth Connected initiative, a program of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC), a portion of the clinic at the Hudson Boulevard facility has been renovated to offer these services in a teen-friendly environment.
“Making this an environment where teens are comfortable is the key if we want to reach them and improve their health,” said Dobbins. “That’s why we asked for teen input on everything from the colors in the clinic, to the services we offer, to the way we talk about those services – even the name was created by teens.”
The community is invited to tour the Hudson Boulevard location and meet the staff Thursday at a drop-in grand opening reception from 4-6 p.m. The Hudson location, the main location for the Teen Wellness Center, is the fourth location to offer these services. The same services are also provided at satellite offices in Bessemer City, Cherryville, and at the Highland Health Center, to reach teens across the county.
Teen Wellness Center hours and locations are as follows:
• Gaston County Health Department, 991 W. Hudson Boulevard, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
• Highland Health Center, 609 N. Highland St., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday
• Bessemer City Health Care Center, 119 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Bessemer City, 1-5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday
• Cherryville Health Center, 609 E. Academy St., Cherryville, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.Tuesday
Services include physicals and sports physicals, immunizations and other shots for school or college, birth control, information on abstinence and safer sex, pregnancy testing, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, and a teen advocate – a professional who works one-on-one with teens to answer questions about their health.
The charge for services is on a sliding scale based on the income of the teen. Services are confidential, but some may require the signature of a parent or guardian. Appointments can be made by calling 704-853-5009 or online at www.gastonpublichealth.org; click on “Appointments Online.”