Profile

Kym R. Ahrens, MD

Kym R. Ahrens, MD

Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Adolescent Medicine, Adolescent Behavioral Health

On staff since August 2005

Children's Title: Assistant Professor

Research Center: Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development

"I love working with teens. They are some of the most challenging and rewarding patients at Childrens. I am passionately committed in my clinical and research work to helping at-risk adolescents experience a healthier transition to adulthood."

Kym Ahrens, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Childrens Hospital and the University of Washington School of Medicine. She earned her MD from the University of Iowa College of Medicine. She completed residency, Adolescent Medicine training at Seattle Childrens and the University of Washington.

Her clinical and research interests are in promoting positive physical and mental health outcomes in at-risk youth. Some of her past research has focused on the influence of adult mentors on the adult outcomes of youth in foster care and youth with learning disabilities. Dr. Ahrens is currently conducting a series of NIH-sponsored research studies focused on developing an intervention program to reduce risk of sexually transmitted infections including HIV among adolescents in the foster system.

Overview

Board Certification(s)

Pediatrics
Adolescent Medicine

Medical/Professional School

University of Iowa School of Medicine, Iowa City

Residency

Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle

Fellowship

Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
Adolescent Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle

Clinical Interests

High-risk adolescents

Awards and Honors

Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
New Investigator Award Society for Adolescent Health & Medicine 2013
UW Center for AIDS Research New Investigator Award UW Center for AIDS Research 2010
Family Centered Care Award University of Washington Pediatrics Residency Program 2005
NRSA Fellowship Award, NIH 2005 - 2008

Publications

  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    Chronic Stress exposure enhances the prospective effects of affective dysregulation on problematic alcohol use during adolescence
    Accepted for presentation at the 2013 Research Socieety on Alcoholism annual Meeting, Orlando, FL , 2013 June
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    psychosocial pathways to sti risk for adolescents in foster care: evidence from a longitudinal study of youth transitioning out of care
    Accepted for presentation at the International Association for Adolescent Health World Congress, Istanbul, Turkey , 2013 June
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    "It just happens": norms, attitudes, and other factors influencing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection risk in foster youth
    Accepted for presentation at the International Association for Adolescent Health World Congress, Istanbul, Turkey , 2013 June
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    art and reflections on health by youth transitioning from foster care
    Presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, Washington, DC , 2013 May
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    "it just happens": norms, attitudes, and other factors influencing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection risk in foster youth
    Presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, Washington, DC , 2013 May
  • Dworsky A, Ahrens K, Courtney M
    Health insurance coverage and use of family planning services among current and former foster youth: implications of the health care reform law.
    Journal of health politics, policy and law , 2013 Apr, : 38(2)421-39
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    pathways to sti risk for adolescents in foster care: evidence from a longitudinal study of youth transitioning out of care
    Presented at the Society for Adolescent Health & Medicine Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA , 2013 Mar.
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    Chapter 26: Youth in Foster Care
    The Handbook of Youth Mentoring, 2nd Edition. David DuBois and Michael Karcher, Eds. , 2013
  • Ahrens KR, Ciechanowski P, Katon W
    Associations between adult attachment style and health risk behaviors in an adult female primary care population.
    Journal of psychosomatic research , 2012 May : 72(5)364-70
  • Ahrens KR, Katon W, McCarty C, Richardson LP, Courtney ME
    Association between childhood sexual abuse and transactional sex in youth aging out of foster care.
    Child abuse & neglect , 2012 Jan. : 36(1)75-80
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    "I am celibate and so are my sexual partners": the importance of mixed methods to understand STI/HIV risk among adolescents in foster care
    Presented at the University of Washington Center for AIDS Research Annual HIV/AIDS Symposium, Seattle, WA , 2011 Nov.
  • Ahrens KR, Dubois DL, Garrison M, Spencer R, Richardson LP, Lozano P
    Qualitative exporation of relationships with important non-parental adults in the lives of youth in foster care.
    Children and youth services review , 2011 June : 33(6)1012-1023
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    Implications of health care reform legislation for access to reproductive health care services among current and former foster youth
    Presented at the Reproductive Justice & Health Care Reform Conference, Chicago, IL , 2011 May
  • Ahrens KR, Richardson LP, Courtney ME, McCarty C, Simoni J, Katon W
    Laboratory-diagnosed sexually transmitted infections in former foster youth compared with peers.
    Pediatrics , 2010 July : 126(1)e97-e103
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    the risk of laboratory-diagnosed sexually transmitted infections among female and male youth who have been in foster care
    Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting , 2010 May
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    relationships with non-parental adult mentors in adolescence and health outcomes in adulthood: evidence from a national study
    Society for Adolescent Health & Medicine Annual Conference , 2010 Apr,
  • Ahrens K, Stapleton FB, Batra M
    The university of washington pediatric residency program experience in global health and community health and advocacy.
    The virtual mentor : VM , 2010 Mar. : 12(3)184-9
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    Naturally-acquired menotring relationships and young adult outcomes among adolescents with learning disabilities
    Learning Disabilities Research & Practice , 2010 : (24)207-216
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    A history of childhood rape is associated with an increased likelihood of prostitution among adolescents aging out of foster care
    Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting , 2009 May
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    A qualitative exploration of the adult mentoring relatinships in the lives of former youth in foster care
    Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting , 2008 Mar.
  • Ahrens KR, DuBois DL, Richardson LP, Fan MY, Lozano P
    Youth in foster care with adult mentors during adolescence have improved adult outcomes.
    Pediatrics , 2008 Feb. : 121(2)e246-52
  • Ahrens KR, DuBois DL, Richardson LP, Fan MY, Lozano P
    Youth in foster care with adult mentors during adolescence have improved adult outcomes.
    Pediatrics , 2008 Feb. : 121(2)e246-52
  • Suchdev P, Ahrens K, Click E, Macklin L, Evangelista D, Graham E
    A model for sustainable short-term international medical trips.
    Ambulatory pediatrics : the official journal of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association , 2007 July : 7(4)317-20
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    Foster Care Youth with Adult Mentors During Adolescence Have Improved Adult Outcomes
    Presented at the Society for Adolescent Medicine Annual Meeting, Denver, CO , 2007 Mar.
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    Do Disabled Youth with naturally-acquired mentoring relationships have improved outcomes during adulthood?
    Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting , 2007
  • Kym R. Ahrens, MD
    Sustainable Short-Term International Medical Trips: Lessons Learned from a Resident-Run Program
    Ambulatory Pediatrics , 2007 : 7:317-320

Research Funding

Grant Title Grantor Amount Award Date
Developing an HIV/STI intervention for foster youth using attachment theory National Institute of Mental Health/NIH $885,651 Aug. 1, 2010 - July 31, 1915
Using attachment theory to understand the HIV/STI risk of youth in foster care UW Center for AIDS Research $54,926 May 1, 2010 - April 30, 2012
Pediatric Loan Repayment Program NIH Jan. 1, 2009