Needs assessment of health professionals and medical students in communicating with adolescents about prevention of NCDs

Given the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Indonesia, early interventions such as enabling adolescents to develop healthy lifestyles are very important. The role of primary healthcare is crucial in these interventions. Hence, students of medical and other health professions need skills in exploring the challenges faced by adolescents and in encouraging healthy lifestyles. The current curriculum of Indonesian medical and other health professional education has not emphasised adolescent health, especially in regard to NCD prevention. This project developed an instructional design for an elective adolescent health module for undergraduate medical students.

The greatest burden of disease for adolescents is psychosocial in nature. The antecedent lifestyle behaviors for adult NCDs most commonly begin during adolescence, and also some mental health issues. It follows that a focus on understanding adolescent health and development is required, with much benefit to be gained by appreciating the role and value of a team-based approach. The awareness that one professional, however skilled, cannot solve some health problems alone should be coupled with the skills to work in an interdisciplinary team. This requirement underlies the need to provide interprofessional education for every health professional student. Interprofessional education allows, in this case, medical students to understand and exercise healthcare team dynamics and management to deliver the best and safest integrated patient care.


This project used qualitative and quantitative approaches. It began with needs analysis through a detailed review of the literature and currently available modules, interviewed related stakeholders, and held focus group discussions (FGDs) with relevant pioneers who have been working with adolescents around NCDs. It also used a questionnaire that evaluated students’ insights into an elective adolescent health module.


Based on the needs assessment, the adolescent health module is considered an important additional clinical module, especially regarding communication skills and motivational interviews. Students could benefit from motivational interview lessons, role-play, and actual interviews with adolescents. FGD and interview findings comprise several themes, such as the causes of adolescent health problems, measures taken and challenges faced in managing those problems, and standards of competence needed by healthcare practitioners. Educators are aware of the importance of teaching adolescent health to medical and health professionals students. A thematic analysis subtheme was the importance of government regulation on adolescent health, and cross-sector collaboration involving educators in managing adolescent health problems. Good communication skills with teens and parents is a competency needed by doctors and other health practitioners that may lead to early detection, treatment and prevention of disease, and the promotion of good health. The questionnaire found most students considered adolescent health important and wanted to explore it further in clinical setting. Students prefer adolescent health being delivered through field activity (e.g. at school or primary health care), problem-based learning, and bedside teaching. Students’ interest in adolescent health was found to be focused on promotive and preventive education. Key findings from the comprehensive needs analysis of the study were well triangulated and synthesized in the instructional design of an adolescent health elective module; hence, we believe that the module is evidence-based and well constructed. The module design seeks to guide medical faculty graduates and other health faculties’ standards of competence in managing adolescent health problems.

Several aspects need to be considered in adolescent patients, including their physical and emotional condition, the phase of puberty, socioeconomic factors and support from family and surroundings. General practitioners and other health professionals need to explore more about adolescent health and adolescence itself.

This study developed an instructional design for an elective module on adolescent health for undergraduate medical education, which could be a pilot module for other universities. The module is designed to deliver specific communications skills and familiarity with adolescent health issues. It has an interprofessional education and practice component that is very enriching and may strengthen the positive attitude of undergraduate medical students towards interprofessional collaborative care, especially in regard to adolescent health. In the future, a multicentre implementation of this module could be conducted through a blended learning model involving face-to-face interaction and hands-on/practice-based activities in the clinical and community settings, as well as e-learning platform. The module highlights comprehensive and systematic needs analysis; hence, attempts for evidence-based module development are completed. Such practice may be disseminated as a scholarly result of the study and can be adopted by other universities attempting to implement evidence-based medical and health education.



  • Instructional design draft for elective adolescent health clinical module

Fully refereed conference proceedings