Letter from our Director

J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS

  • Director of Adolescent Medicine
  • Donald Orr Professor of Adolescent Medicine


Dear Colleagues:

Welcome to the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Children’s Hospital at IU Health. The Section boasts a talented and ambitious interdisciplinary faculty to meet our core missions of clinical care, research, education and advocacy.

We have a variety of specialty clinics as well as primary care settings devoted to the care and well-being of the adolescent and young adult. Our clinical programs include reproductive health, gender health, school health, eating disorders, and mental health. Our eating disorders program - located in the Charis Center - provides comprehensive multidisciplinary treatment. Our primary care program is a unique primary care - subspecialty model in place in Federally Qualified Health Centers around the Indianapolis area.

Our research endeavors continue to expand into new and exciting new areas and new partnerships and our faculty have more than $3.5 million in active grant support. One current project addresses the capacity for adolescents to understand issues related to over-the-counter contraceptives.  Other new grants are examining the physical and mental health care needs of detained youth in the juvenile justice system in order to determine how treatment may impact on recidivism. And, we are actively engaged with community partners in interventions to improve sexual health education and reduce pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Other research addresses issues related to the natural history of human papillomavirus infections, and the uptake of HPV vaccinations.

Our central educational activity is our Graduate Seminar in Adolescent Health. The seminars mission is to educate and mentor the next generation of leaders in adolescent health who will influence public policy and public health experts, and to train clinicians, investigators and educators through interdisciplinary training in the disciplines of medicine, psychology, social work, nursing, and nutrition. 

The Division also works to support youth-friendly advocacy in order to improve the health and well-being of Indiana youth. Currently, we are collaborating with the Indiana State Department of Health to improve adolescents' utilization of health maintenance visits. We are also collaborating with the State Division of Mental Health and Addictions to improve school-based screening for substance-use, and link young people to appropriate levels of service. 

In conclusion, the Division of Adolescent Medicine continues to enjoy being one of the most productive Adolescent Medicine programs in the country with regard to clinical care, research and advocacy. We were able to initiate and accomplish many activities affecting adolescents and their health this past year, and with continued and expanded support, will accomplish more. We are looking forward to this upcoming academic year, with more ideas, increased energy to submit new proposals, and we will continue to enjoy the benefits of our synergism with our current and new partners.

J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS