About Us

cywh logoThe Center for Young Women’s Health (CYWH) is a partnership between the Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine and the Division of Gynecology, at Boston Children’s Hospital. The Center is an educational entity that is committed to providing girls and young women with carefully researched health information, educational programs, and conferences. The mission of our website is to help girls, young women, their caregivers, educators, and health care providers improve their understanding of health and development, as well as specific diseases and conditions. We want to empower girls and young women around the world to take an active role in their own health care.

The Center was founded in 1998 by Co-Directors Dr. S. Jean Emans, Chief Emeritus of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Dr. Marc R. Laufer, Chief of Gynecology, and Phaedra Thomas, RN, BSN, Nurse Educator, who recognized an urgent need for education, clinical care, research, and health care advocacy for teen girls and young women around the globe. All three have earned national and international recognition for their expertise, commitment, and accomplishments in the area of young women’s health. Phaedra Thomas also has extensive experience in developing patient education materials and programs.

The Center for Young Women’s Health is a part of Boston Children’s Hospital, which is a non-profit organization. The Resource Center was initially funded by a grant from the Boston Children’s Hospital League, an organization of more than five hundred volunteers who serve as ambassadors and fundraisers for the world-renowned Boston Children’s Hospital. Currently, the CYWH is able to continue its day-to-day operations through the generosity of the League and through grants and gifts from our ongoing supporters. The website does not accept paid advertising and our sponsors do not influence the content of the health guides. All the information is educational and informed by quality research.
The physical home of the Center for Young Women’s Health is the Boston Children’s Hospital League’s Resource Center, located on the 5th floor of 333 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA, next door to the Adolescent Medicine and Gynecology clinical programs. The Resource Center is a welcoming refuge for teen girls and their families who need help finding information, or as a quiet place to check out health information while waiting for their appointments. We have computers with internet access available, as well as a lending library. The CYWH’s Youth Advisors also use the space for training activities, and to prepare for community presentations in Boston, such as health fairs. The Resource Center is also the professional home of the CYWH’s web staff. Meet our staff and contributors.

We do have a feature on our website called “Ask Us” where you can submit question anonymously to our staff. We answer 1-2 questions each week, so your question might not be chosen to be answered. We try to select questions that are asked by lots of girls. If you have specific or urgent questions about your health, you should talk to your health care provider.

If you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, talk to a trusted adult, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-8255 (USA only), or go to the closest emergency room. Similarly, if you have been physically or sexually abused or are at risk of being hurt or hurting someone physically or psychologically, you should talk to your parent or guardian, your health care provider, or go to the nearest emergency room. Please remember that nothing on this website should be considered medical advice, which can only be given to you by your own health care provider.

All our guides are written and/or reviewed by health care clinicians at Boston Children’s Hospital (ranked #1 by US News and World Report) using first-hand experience, knowledge in the field, CDC, NIH and other government websites,  PubMed literature reviews and Uptodate.com. We consult with clinical specialists and experts to read and edit specific health guides.

All of our health guides undergo a rigorous review of evidence-based resources at the time of publication and at subsequent reviews every two years or more frequently if medical guidelines and/or recommendations change.

The following resources are used frequently:

PubMed searches of original literature, with access to full text articles through Countway Library, Harvard Medical School

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov), UpToDate.com, National Institute of Health, and American Academy of Pediatrics for current statistics and guidelines for treatment

Medical textbooks with extensive references such as:

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th). Washington, DC.
  • Emans S J, Laufer MR, and Divasta, A. (2019). Emans, Laufer and Goldstein’s Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology (7th). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
  • Emans S J, Laufer MR. (2012). Emans, Laufer and Goldstein’s Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology (6th). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
  • Neinstein LS, Katzman DK, Callahan T, Gordon CM, Joffe A, Rickert V (eds). (2015). Adolescent and Young Adult Health Care: A Practical Guide (6th). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

CYWH Community Outreach: