Adolescent-Centered Environment Assessment Process

Adolescent-Centered Environment Assessment Process (ACE-AP)

Adolescents experience unique health care needs that often go unmet. At AHI, we know that health centers face many competing demands to provide excellent care to all of their patients. We also know that health centers can play a key role in meeting the needs of adolescent patients and empowering them to establish lifelong healthy behaviors. Our ACE-AP removes barriers to change and streamlines implementation to improve care delivery to adolescents.

Interested in other ways to improve your clinic? Check out our Virtual Clinic Tour.

Learn more about the ACE-AP from our Teen Advisory Council (TAC)

What is the ACE-AP?

The ACE-AP is a facilitated, comprehensive self-assessment and guided improvement process that includes customized resources, recommendations, technical assistance, and implementation plans using Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) improvement cycles. We developed the ACE-AP in partnership with a multidisciplinary team of health professionals and Teen Advisory Council members.

AHI can facilitate the ACE-AP in-person or virtually. We will guide your site through a self-assessment of your organization’s environment, policies and practices related to youth-friendly services. The ACE-AP addresses the following 12 key areas of adolescent-centered care:

  • Respectful Treatment

  • Reproductive and Sexual Health Clinical Practices

  • Parent Engagement

  • Nutritional Health Clinical Practices

  • Cultural Responsiveness

  • Confidentiality

  • Community Engagement and Outreach

  • Best Practices and Standards of Care

  • Behavioral Health Clinical Practices

  • Adolescent Involvement and Empowerment

  • Adolescent Appropriate Environment

  • Access to Care


Interested in the ACE-AP?

Interested in assessing the adolescent-friendliness of your health space? Here are the clinical settings the ACE-AP is designed for:

  • Primary Care: including but not limited to pediatrics, family medicine, teen clinics, FQHCs, family planning, and sexual and reproductive health clinics.
  • Behavioral Health: including but not limited to community mental health programs, non-profit mental health groups, private practice, and hospital-affiliated mental health outpatient services.
  • School-Based Health Centers: Middle and high school school-based health centers.

Health centers who participated in the ACE-AP:

Saw a 40% increase in their ability to provide adolescent-centered behavioral health services

Demonstrated significant improvement in provider and staff knowledge on confidentiality laws and practices

Widened their scope of reproductive health services specific to adolescent best-practices

What Partners Are Saying

  • "We at the Will County Health Department and Community Health Center have benefited greatly from working with the Adolescent Health Initiative. Our health center recently received the Silver-Level Adolescent Centered Environment Certification. Our representative from the Adolescent Health Initiative walked us through the entire process, helping us to meet our goals. Their blueprint for the process is easy to follow, and the resources they provide are tremendously helpful."

    Kathleen Harkins Community Health Educator, Will County Community Health Center in Illinois

Will County Community Health Center in Illinois (Silver-Level Certified Adolescent Champions).


Ybor Youth Clinic’s Wellness Wall, featuring youth-friendly health education materials, a question of the month, and our “We’re Here for You” poster. Located in Tampa, Florida.

  • "I would recommend any agency that provides health care to youth to consider working with the Adolescent Health Initiative to achieve their Adolescent-Centered Environment certification.  Going through the process provided us an excellent opportunity to look objectively at changes we need to make to improve our services while also recognizing where we were excelling. Program Specialist, Valerie Gavrila, did a wonderful job keeping us focused on our tasks and provided suggestions and resources to help us achieve our goals. The past year dealing with COVID-19 has been very challenging, but it turned out to be a good time for this project.  The changes we made to meet our goals have made the clinic stronger and ready for better days."

    Lisa Sanders, MD, Executive Director Ybor Youth Clinic, University of South Florida

We Can Help!

Looking for customized support to make your health center more youth-friendly? We facilitate the ACE-AP with health care providers across the United States. Contact us today for more information!