Philly Teens Show Their Support for Teen Health

Teens pose on the marble steps of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia during a March 23, 2018, Teen Health Week panel on substance use and abuse

Did you know that opioid overdoses claim 116 lives every day? Or that at least 25% of teens in the US admit to using at least one form of tobacco? Or that 60% of teens admit to experimenting with alcohol? Last Friday, a group of Philadelphia teens assembled at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia to learn about substance use and abuse.

The event was part of the College’s involvement in Teen Health Week, a global initiative to raise awareness of the unique health issues facing teens today. Teen Health Week was the brainchild of College of Physicians Fellow Dr. Laura Offutt, in conjunction with the Center for Education of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. What started in 2016 as a statewide initiative to raise awareness among Pennsylvania teens has rapidly expanded into a global program, with participating events and activities in nearly forty countries on every continent except Antarctica.

World map with green marks to indicate places where THW 2018 events are taking place

Teens gathered in the Thomson gallery to meet with a panel of healthcare and public health experts to discuss topics related to substance use. Priya Mammen, MD, MPH, a Director of Public Health Programs, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia shared her experience as an ER physician, answering questions related to a variety of emergency cases, including trauma and drug overdoses. Elvis Rosado, Education and Community Outreach Coordinator from Prevention Point Philadelphia, explained the devastating cycle of addiction in relation to the opioid epidemic. Finally,  representatives from Get Healthy Philly (the City of Philadelphia’s anti-tobacco initiative) discussed tobacco use in teens and the ways tobacco companies attempt to directly target teens as new tobacco customers.

Students in attendance also got the chance to show off their knowledge of teen health topics. Teams of teens took part in a teen health-themed quiz game, competing to answer questions related to mental health, stress, self-care, and substance use. All of our contestants came away with small prize packets of THW merchandise. The event also hosted a raffle for THW-themed yoga mats and a photo booth.

Teens dressed in lime green t-shirts pose together for a photograph during a March 23, 2018, Teen Health Week panel on substance use and abuse

Overall, we were excited by the outpouring of support from Philadelphia teens, who came out, wore lime green, asked great questions, and expressed their passion for taking control of their personal health. In a time of increased teen activism, it was heartening to behold.

If you want to learn more about Teen Health Week, be sure to check out our official homepage or check out the hashtag #2018teenhealth on Twitter and Instagram.


Love Languages: What is the Best Way to Give and Receive Love?

Today’s post comes courtesy of Morgan Kupersmith, a recently-graduating student from Drexel University’s Master of Family Therapy program. 

Have you ever wondered why the effort that you put into your relationships sometimes goes unnoticed? You put the dishes away for your mom, pick up your friend’s homework when they are home sick, take out the trash so your little brother does not have to do it yet no one does any of this for you! When you love someone, whether it be a romantic partner, sibling, aunt, or parent you want to love them the way they deserve. You want to do things for them to make their life easier, right? You do not necessarily expect them to do these exact things in return but you may want a little reciprocity, do you not? If I just described you, you most likely have a primary love language of “acts of service”.

Image of a couple holding hands on a boardwalk while looking out at the ocean

What are the Love Languages?

Introduced by Gary Chapman in 1995, the concept of the love language has since shaped the way we think about how people view and act in their relationships. A love language is a way that people communicate and understand love. It is the metaphorical language we speak when are telling someone we love them, and the language we need to understand to hear that someone loves us back. According to Chapman, there are five love languages that encompass all of the ways people give and receive their love. A person can have a primary and secondary love language and he developed a questionnaire to asses them. The love languages are: acts of service, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.

“Acts of Service” involves doing things for other people that normally they would have to do themselves. “Words of Affirmation” are when someone says kind things and telling you that they love you outwardly. “Receiving Gifts” encompasses giving and receiving gifts. “Quality Time” involves taking the time to just “be” with the person you love and have them around and actively engaging in spending time together. Finally, the love language of physical touch means that in order to feel loved by someone there needs to be a level of physical touch that is not necessarily sexual, but can be small acts of physical affection.

It is important to note that when we think of what love languages actually are, we need to remember that they are the way we best receive our love. For instance, if your primary love language is acts of service and you are doing acts of service for others, but no one is doing acts of service for you, you are not going to feel as loved as if someone was doing those things for you. That being said, those for whom you perform an act of service may have a different love language and, even though you are loving them your way, you may not be loving them their way and they may not feel as loved. This is very much a two-way street that is defined by how people receive love rather than our preferred way of expressing love to others. We can use the love languages to the best of our ability but finding out our own and the language of the ones we love in order help everyone feel the most loved.

Who Uses This?

Chapman’s love language theory and conceptualization are very prevalent among clergy but they are also prevalent in premarital therapy and I have also seen some prevalence in Family Life Education or general psychoeducation classes. Regarding premarital therapy, there are many different premarital courses or systems that a couple could go through that do not include love languages. However, if love languages are brought up, it is usually based on the therapist’s personal preference and it is included in therapy as an additional resource for the couple in order to prepare them to navigate their coupled life.

Why is this Helpful?

The concept of love languages is super helpful when trying understand someone else’s perspective. It is something that I personally have had success in using with clients because it provides a way to specify what exactly someone is looking for from their loved one and what they are receiving. By being able to understand that perhaps the way that you want to be loved is not the same way that someone else wants to be loved can be transformative in the way that two people relate to each other. This is a concept that can be generalized to the outside world as well in the sense of realizing that your own personal experience may not be the experience of others.


One of the limitations of love languages is that there is not a lot of research. This is problematic because we do not really know for sure if this concept is something that is beneficial for couples or relationships or just another way to think about communication. Another limitation is that it not based in cultural competence. This concept is mainly used for married couples and in premarital counseling. That is to say, it does not take into consideration different couple dynamics or different communication techniques that could be influenced by the culture of the people in the relationship. There is also not much mention about racial or ethnic identification and perhaps that could be another area of growth for this concept.

Overall, I personally believe that the idea of love languages teaches us to slow down in the judgments that we make about our loved ones and allows us to ask for what we need as well as give others what they need. This is not a quick fix for relationship communication issues but more so a little tool to put in your back pocket if you want to try to get the most out of the people that you love!

Source: Chapman, Gary D., and Jocelyn Green. (2017). The 5 love languages: The secret to love that lasts. Chicago: Northfield.

Philly Teens Help Raise Awareness at National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Four students in the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program stand behind a registration table at National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

This past Saturday, the College of Physicians hosted a day of events devoted to National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2017 (NBHAAD), and students from the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship and Out4STEM Programs were there to provide a helping hand.

The students offered outreach to visitors and helped register people for HIV testing (provided by Bebashi Transition to Hope, Prevention Point Philadelphia, The COLOURS Organization, and Q-Spot). Gloria Harley, an intern in both the Teva and Out4STEM Programs, joined ten other artists from The New Wave in a performance attended by over thirty Philadelphia teens.

Also attending the event were Dr. Loren Robinson, Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes who delivered speeches on HIV Prevention and a demonstration on condom use.

Group photo of Philly teens, students in the Teva and Out4STEM programs, artists from New Wave, and Dr. Loren Robinson and Senator Vincent Hughes at the 2017 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day at the Mütter Museum on February 11, 2017

Overall it was a great day of HIV Awareness and artistic expression thanks to our distinguished guests and our dedicated interns! Most important, 85 people received HIV/AIDS testing (and earned free admission to the Mütter Museum in the process).

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day at the Mütter: February 11, 2017

Four students in the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship pose with signs displaying various facts about HIV/AIDS at World AIDS Day 2016

Did you know that the rate of HIV infection among African Americans is eight times that among whites, or that gay and bisexual men make up the majority of new infections among African Americans? February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a day for spreading awareness of the impact HIV plays in the African American community. The goal is to encourage more people to get tested and dispel the social stigmas surrounding the disease.The logo for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a black field with a red and green strip running vertically along the left side and a white vertical bar along the right. The words FIGHT HIV/AIDS are printed in white block letters in the middle and the hashtag #NBHAAD appears in black block letters in the white bar

This Saturday, February 11, 2017, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia will be observing NBHAAD with a day-long event. We will be offering FREE HIV testing courtesy of Bebashi Transition to Hope and Q-Spot. Never taken an HIV test? Fear not, as the test is painless, takes only a minute (literally 60 seconds) and entitles you to FREE admission to the Mütter Museum. There will be live performances and information about HIV/AIDS to help expand your understanding of the impact of the impact of the disease. 51% of HIV-positive people don’t know they have it; help us spread the word about the disease and take a trip to the Museum! The event will take place from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Philly Youth Kick Off Pennsylvania Teen Health Week 2017

Students from CEPI's various youth programs pose for a group photo on the steps of the PA State House with Dr. Rachel Levine and Dr. Loren Robinson

Did you know that teenagers make up 13% of the total US population? However, despite making up such a significant portion of the population there was no week focusing on teen health until 2016. In January 2016, Pennsylvania became the first state to devote a week to spreading awareness about the health issues directly affecting teenagers with the creation of Pennsylvania Teen Health Week (THW). Teen Health Week was the brainchild of Dr. Laura Offutt. Dr. Offutt is a Pennsylvania physician, Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the host of Real Talk with Dr. Offutt, an online resource devoted to teen health. CEPI is proud to be an active partner in Pennsylvania Teen Health Week. January 9-13 is the observance Pennsylvania Teen Health Week 2017. This year each day focuses on one of five themes: Nutrition and Fitness, Violence Prevention, Mental Health, Sexual Health, and Substance Use.

Teva intern Su Ly stands at a podium in front of attendees to the proclamation of Pennsylvania Teen Health Week 2017 at the Pennsylvania State House

This past Monday we traveled to the Pennsylvania State House in Harrisburg to commemorate the second annual Pennsylvania Teen Health Week. Philadelphia youth representing the Karabots Junior Fellows Program, the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program, and the Out4STEM Program were on site to show their support. The festivities began with statements from four prominent Pennsylvania physicians: Dr. Rachel Levine, Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Dr. Loren Robinson, Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (and Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia), Dr. Robert Sharrar, Executive Director of Safety, Epidemiology, Registries and Risk Management and Member of the Philadelphia Board of Health (as well as a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia), and Dr. Offutt. The event concluded with a reading of Gov. Tom Wolf’s proclamation announcing January 9-13 as Pennsylvania Teen Health Week 2017. Several Philadelphia youth, including Xavier Gavin and Su Ly of the Karabots and Teva Program, respectively, bravely read Gov. Wolf’s proclamation.

Students from CEPI's various youth programs sit in the observation deck atop the Pennsylvania State Senate chamber and listen to a guide conduct a tour of the State House

After the reading, our students took a tour of the Pennsylvania State House, visiting the chambers of the Pennsylvania Senate, House of Representatives, and Supreme Court. While they viewed from the observation decks of the respective government houses, we hope to see some of them as lawmakers and policy developers in the future (remember: the minimum age to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is 21).

Image displaying the logos of the sponsors for Teen Health Week: Pennsylvania Southeast Region Area Health Education Center (AHEC); System of Care, a program of the Delaware County Department of Human Services; the Craig Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; and Honeygrow.

Pennsylvania Teen Health Week 2017 is sponsored in part by the Pennsylvania Southeast Region Area Health Education Center (AHEC)System of Care, a program of the Delaware County Department of Human Services; the Craig Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and Honeygrow.

Get Tested and Spread Awareness at National HIV Testing Day (June 26, 2016)

Flyer for National HIV Testing Day at the College of Physicians of PhiladelphiaDid you know that roughly one in five people who have HIV are not aware they carry the virus? This SUNDAY, JUNE 26, the College of Physicians will be hosting National HIV Testing Day. Come to the College and the Mütter Museum to learn about HIV/AIDS and get a free screening. The event will take place from 10 AM-4 PM.

Visitors will learn more about why it is important to get tested and how to live well with HIV/AIDS. Visitors will also have special access to the Historical Medical Library and be able to view a special pop-up exhibit about the history of sexually transmitted infections. Free yoga classes (between 2 and 4pm) will be offered along with information and activities to encourage informed decisions about health. Also on view will be panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and the “1981 – Until it’s Over” timeline, courtesy of the AIDS Fund. Also on display will be “I’m Positive,” an interactive game developed for the CDC to teach about coping with HIV.

HIV (and STD) testing will be available onsite (provided by Bebashi and Q-Spot), and anyone that gets tested for HIV will be given FREE entrance to the museum. This is also a special STAMP event.

Note: Entry to the museum is free only for those with the STAMP pass and to anyone who gets tested for HIV onsite. (Find ticket info and general museum hours here) The Mütter Museum is also part of the Access Admission program. Access/EBT cardholders can come for $2 and bring three additional family members for $2 each.

New Article from the Wellspring: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Girls in Juvenile Justice Systems

Banner for The Wellspring

The following article comes from The Wellspring, our sister site devoted to providing mental health resources related to the LGBTQ+ community:

The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Girls in Juvenile Justice Systems: A Counselor’s Reflection

By Kierson Romero

A recent study has shown that LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented and incarcerated in the juvenile justice system compared to heteronormative counterparts. “ Although they represent approximately 6% of the youth population, it is estimated that this group makes up 13% to 15% of youth in juvenile justice systems, a number that often surprises juvenile justice professionals.”  The majority of the juvenile justice system does not accommodate or provide support to this unique subgroup of juvenile offenders. A study published by Holsinger and Hodge in 2016  examined “the challenges for staff, for facilities, and for the girls, as well as considered staff recommendations for changes in policies or programs that are needed to support girls who identify as LGBT.” [Read More]