- November 5, 2016
HIGH POINT, N.C. — One particular ZIP code in High Point has a significantly higher rate of teen pregnancies than the rest of the city and the county, but the Guilford County Department of Public Health hopes to drive those numbers down with a new clinic set to open in January.
When the health department started looking at data for the number of babies born to teens in High Point, Judy Southern, nursing director and program manager for clinical services, said officials were surprised to find a disparity between ZIP codes. One ZIP code, in particular, stood out — 27260.
In 2014, for every 1,000 babies born in the 27260 ZIP code, 78.2 were to teen mothers from 15 to 19 years old. In the same area, there were 21.9 repeat teen pregnancies per 1,000 babies born. The 2014 data is the most current from the N.C. State Center for Health Statistics.
“We are wanting to reach out to that age group to provide a special place where they can go at the health department,” Southern said. “We wanted a place that is friendly to that particular age group where they can receive education, counseling as well as medical care and medical service specific to what they may need as adolescents.”
The clinic, which is slated to open in January, will have a dedicated physician’s assistant and a nurse. It also provides teens with a private, safe place.
“We wanted a place where guys and girls can come and be in a private setting. They don’t have to worry about being seen by anyone else coming in and out of the health department,” Southern said. “They will have a dedicated place where they can register and wait without being seen by anyone, so they feel they are in a confidential and private area.”
The initiative also has an educational component to it.
“We are going to reach out to neighborhood community centers and offer a program we call ‘real talk,’ which are sessions for adolescents where they can ask questions and topics will be facilitated,” Southern said. “We also hope to offer something called ‘parent talk’ so parents can come and ask questions about their adolescents and learn about things trending with adolescents, particularly health and lifestyle issues.”
The clinic also will provide physical exams.
As for the higher rate of teen pregnancies in the 27260 ZIP code, Southern said it’s likely attributed to a lower rate of adults with high school diplomas, a high poverty rate and other factors.
Also, 11 percent of people 25 and older in Guilford County do not have a high school diploma. In High Point, that number is 13.7 percent.
In 27260 ZIP code, 64.4 percent of children under 18 are living in poverty. In High Point as a whole, 29.6 percent of children under 18 are living in poverty and 25.5 percent in Guilford County.
“That tells us that is a contributing factor, as well as the number of the population under 18 without health insurance,” Southern said.
In 27260, 12.5 percent of children under 18 do not have health insurance, and 30.3 percent of residents 25 and older living in the same ZIP code do not have a high school diploma.
To make an appointment at the clinic, call the Guilford County Health Department in High Point at 336-641-3245.
To view the original article written by the High Point Enterprise, please click here.