The best for healthy Latino youth

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As it is National Hispanic Heritage Month there is no better time than now to celebrate the amazing Aqui Para Ti (APT) program at the Whittier Clinic.

Serving Latino youth ages 10-24, the program is now 15 years old and a shining example of HCMC’s commitment to our Minnesota Latino population, receiving awards and recognition from many sources and agencies. The clinic provides medical care, coaching, health education, and referrals for Latino youth and their families. Created and led by Dr. Maria Veronica Svetaz, the program has served over 1,500 youth and their families in Minnesota.

Aqui para ti was recently certified by the Department of Human Services as a Behavioral Health Home. With this accomplishment, APT became one of the two primary care clinics in Minnesota that provides intense mental health coordination to its youth patients. This model of care was based on APT’s multidisciplinary and unique team.

APT practices parallel care, which engages young people and their families simultaneously. This approach honors familism, leverages family strengths and skills by addressing parent’s mental health and parenting needs, and protects the privacy of young people in a family-centered way. “We have proven that using a family-centered approach to serve Latino youth actually accelerates their positive outcomes without harming their confidential care needs.”

In Minnesota, Latinos under the age of 20 make up nearly nine percent of this age group. The population of Minnesota overall has a median age of 38, but the robust youth of Latinos brings the Latino median age down to 24. Although about half of Latino youth were born in the US, almost all of their parents were born in Latin America, which can sometimes result in cultural differences. APT works to bring the family together.

The multi-disciplinary team of APT is made up of diverse talents and skill sets and makes culture a priority in all areas – including team composition, where they reflect, appreciate, and celebrate the community they serve. Minnesota’s Latino population is an economic and dynamic part of the state’s composition today and honoring the Latino heritage is celebrated from the middle of September through the middle of October during National Hispanic Heritage Month. We celebrate our team at Aqui Para Ti for their dedication and inspiration!

national hispanic heritage month, aqui para ti program, latino youth, family centered, privacy of latino youth, parallel care, dr. maria veronica svetaz

Maria Veronica Svetaz, MD, MPH is board certified in family medicine and adolescent health. She has been the Medical Director of the APT/Here for You youth development program since its inception in 2002. Dr. Svetaz is a contributor to the Healthy MN Partnership 2020, the MMA Health Equity Advisory Board, and the Chair of the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine’s National Diversity Committee.


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