Health Provider Checklist for Adolescent and Young Adult Males

AYA Male Health Provider Toolkit


Although adolescent males have as many health issues and concerns as adolescent females, they are much less likely to be seen in a clinical setting. Working with adolescent boys involves gaining the knowledge and skills to address concerns such as puberty and sexuality, substance use, violence, risk-taking behaviours and mental health issues. The ability to engage the young male patient is critical… It is important to take every opportunity with adolescent boys to talk about issues beyond the presenting complaint, and let them know about confidential care.1

Despite this recommendation, adolescent and young (AYA) males do not typically seek out care, nor are primary health care providers who may interact with them knowledgeable about the risk factors that AYA males face.

Adolescents are also a diverse group. For example, a boy of twelve is at a very different stage of personal development than a boy of eighteen. A boy of twelve who is fending for himself on the street is likely to be growing and developing very differently from a boy of a similar age who is growing up with a caring and financially secure family. Even two boys of the same age, growing up in very similar circumstances, may grow and develop in different ways and time lines.2

According to the most recent data, AYA males3 at are higher risk than their female contemporaries for death by suicide, ADHD diagnosis, substance abuse, homicide, risky behaviors, accidental injury and certain STIs, among other conditions.4

To begin addressing this issue, the project has conducted an extensive literature search and a needs assessment consisting of over 80 interviews with health and medical experts across a wide range of disciplines. The assessment has confirmed that there is a recognized need for more information among primary health care providers and AYA males themselves about the unique health care needs of this population. The Health Provider Toolkit is designed to meet this need by providing tools for both health care providers and AYA males. It has identified and engaged over 50 national health related organizations and government agencies that will participate in this collaborative effort. The effort includes clinicians from the fields of reproductive health, mental health, substance abuse, primary care, preventive medicine and urology, among others.  Because many of the disorders AYA males face are closely related to other co-morbid disorders, it is important that any approach to address the needs of AYA males in a comprehensive way include the input from a range of health specialties and interests.

The current project plan has five major components: 1) disseminating the provider toolkit 2) developing companion toolkits for AYA males and their parents and caregivers 3) testing these tools in clinical and focus group settings 4) building and maintaining an online database of scientific literature, and 5) developing and sponsoring a range of provider and patient education follow-up initiatives and tools.

The provider toolkit is the first step in this process. It is important to point out that, generally speaking, this overall effort, including the toolkit, focuses on those clinical issues that are unique to AYA males. Other organizations have developed clinical recommendations that apply to all adolescents, regardless of gender.

The initial list of topics for the toolkit is based upon those areas where there is the greatest level of evidence and/or where the most scientific literature exists.  Additional topics will be added over time as evidence develops to support inclusion in the checklist.


1 Adolescent male health, Paediactics and Child Health, January 2008

2 Making health services adolescent friendly, World Health Organization, 2012

3 Defined as between the ages of 10 and 24

4 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), Centers for Disease Control, 2011