The pediatric well-visit has emerged as an important entry point to facilitate youth access to preventative health services. And yet, current research suggests that the implementation of behavioral health screening in pediatric primary care settings has generated only moderate effects on rates of follow-up services. Thus, there is a critical need to examine how youth are engaged in behavioral health screening programs in primary care settings to identify strategies to improve screening outcomes.

This project is the outcome of a community-engaged collaboration between professor Lauren Gulbas and the Center for Adolescent Health at People’s Community Clinic in Austin, Texas. The objective is to conduct an exploratory, mixed-method study on the acceptability and impact of behavioral health screening in primary care settings serving economically vulnerable youth in Austin, Texas. This project will engage Latino adolescents and their caregivers to elicit perspectives on their experiences and utilization of preventative services during well-visits. Qualitative data will be supplemented with the analysis of medical record data on the characteristics of screened adolescents.

Through attention to youth’s experiences of behavioral health screening and healthcare utilization, this study can offer valuable preliminary insight into current challenges associated with implementing behavioral health screening in primary care settings. Adolescents and caregiver perspectives can be used to develop programs that minimize barriers to screening and enhance pediatric quality of care, in addition to informing future research to enhance the accessibility of healthcare services, particularly among low-income and minority populations.