Position Papers and Statements

Position papers/statements on topics of concern are developed for healthcare professionals by members of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) on behalf of the Society.  Because these papers/statements are positions of the Society, they are referenced in Index Medicus as authored by SAHM.  Members of the authoring committee, and their affiliations, are listed at the end of each position paper/statement. Both papers/statements consist of positions declaring SAHM’s official stance regarding an important issue germane to the mission and objectives of SAHM.

The primary difference between papers and statements are their length and structure (see below).  A position statement is a concise explanation of SAHM’s position on a certain issue that should include background information and clarify rationale behind SAHM’s position. The length of a position statement should not exceed 1,000 words. A position paper is a more in-depth description of SAHM’s position on a certain issue. As such, a position paper provides a more complete analysis of the issue and is preferred when the positions themselves are controversial or complex. The length of a position paper should not exceed 2,500 words.  Position papers must follow the structure outlined below. Both position papers and statements should be as evidence-based as the literature allows, recognizing that in some cases, a position paper may be required or desirable on issues for which definitive evidence/data are lacking.


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Purpose of the SAHM Position Paper/Statement

SAHM position papers/statements should:
  1. Convey the opinion and recommendations of SAHM members on issues relevant to the health and well-being of adolescents that may be controversial, need clarification for professionals, or represent an issue deserving advocacy on behalf of adolescents;
  2. Inform and assist in the development of improved services for adolescents,
  3. Provide direction to facilitate appropriate action from members, other professionals, policy- and law-makers, and the public,
  4. Make evidence-based (or expert consensus when evidence is not available) recommendations that could be used to influence policy, and
  5. Express a positive and proactive call to action to promote the optimal health and well-being for all adolescents.

Length of the SAHM Position Statements
  • 1-2 published pages in the Journal of Adolescent Health
  • 1,000 words maximum
Length of the SAHM Position Papers
  • 2-3 published pages in the Journal of Adolescent Health
  • 2,500 words maximum

Development Process


Intent for Position Paper/Statement:
Prospective authors are strongly encouraged to discuss potential position papers or statements with SAHM's Director of Publications well in advance of the development of an intent document.

The Intent for Position Paper/Statement (or Intent) is the mechanism by which the Board of Directors (BOD) approves the initiation and coordination of position paper/statement development within SAHM. The Intent identifies the topic of the position paper/statement, the need, and the methodology to be used. When feasible, the Intent should reflect or be related to current goals and objectives of SAHM.

Download: Intent to submit position paper  |  Intent to submit position statement

Conception of SAHM position papers/statements:
  • Suggestions for position papers/statements may come from a SAHM member, an outside individual, the Advocacy Committee, a professional society, or from the BOD.
  • SAHM’s Advocacy Committee should be encouraged to suggest new Position Papers/Statements.  OR The need for new position papers/statements should be promoted by SAHM’s Advocacy Committee.
Authoring Group:  All authors on Position Papers and Position Statements must be SAHM members. The lead author can request that a non-member consultant be added with Board approval. An authoring group may include a maximum of eight (8) individuals, with assurance that all have meet the authorship criteria provided below.  Requests for additional authors are to be submitted to the Director of Publications prior to the development of the intent document.

Each authoring group must include one International SAHM member unless an exemption is granted by the Director of Publications.

Authorship criteria: To be listed as a contributing author on a SAHM position paper/statement, the author must have met the following criteria:
  • Has made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the positions; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data supporting these positions.
  • Drafted the work or made revisions critically important to the intellectual content.
  • Provided final approval prior to submission.
  • Agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Individuals or committee members who participated in the development of the paper/statement but did not meet all of the above mentioned criteria can be acknowledged at the end of the paper/statement as contributors.

Submission of Intent Document
  • The authoring group is responsible for completing the Intent for Position Paper/Statement form.
  • For position papers, the Intent must be submitted to the Director of Publications before a draft of the position paper is developed.
  • The Director of Publications will determine if the proposed position materials are complete and will recommend changes to the Intent as needed.  The Director of Publications may seek consultation from others (EC or Peer Review Committee) on the Intent document, as needed.  If changes are required, the Director of Publications will return the Intent to the lead author. If no changes are necessary, the Director of Publications will forward the Intent to the BOD for review.
  • Recommended changes in the Intent can be made by members of the BOD to ensure that the positions are adequate and comprehensive.  The BOD will:
    • reject the Intent
    • approve with minor edits or
    • approve the Intent
  • For position papers, once the BOD has approved the Intent, a position paper is requested by the Director of Publications. It is at this time that the six (6) month time limit for position paper development begins (see below) and the authoring group begins writing the actual position paper.  The lead author should provide an update on the groups progress to the Director of Publications on a monthly basis.
  • For position statements, once BOD feedback is transmitted to the authoring group, a 1-month time limit is imposed for the changes to be made and the statement resubmitted for BOD approval.
  • The authoring group of the Intent and draft position paper/statement must disclose all conflicts of interest and affiliations with industry, government, and others. A Financial Disclosure Form must be signed by all authors prior to developing a position paper or statement for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.  All authors of position papers/position statements must disclose all financial interests or relationships within the past 5 years and the foreseeable future that are relevant to the subject matter or content of the position paper/statement. Disclosure Forms will be maintained by the SAHM Office.
  • The Director of Publications will work in conjunction with the Editor in Chief and Managing Editor of the Journal of Adolescent Health regarding position papers and statements that are in the pipeline.
Download: Financial Disclosure Form

Drafting of Position Papers

Position papers are to be submitted to the Director of Publication within six (6) months of approval of the Intent by the BOD. Otherwise, a letter of justification for the delay, a new Intent, or a request to withdraw the Intent must be submitted to the BOD or Director of Publications.  If a position paper has not been submitted within 6 months and there is no letter of justification for the delay, a new Intent, or a request to withdraw the Intent, then the Intent is considered null and void.

Position paper should be limited to 2500 words. A first draft for BOD review should be completed within 6 months of acceptance of the Intent.

Position papers should include most of the following elements:
  • Title: must reflect the intent/purpose of the positions clearly and concisely
  • Executive summary or abstract: includes reason/purpose and a summary of the positions
  • Summary of SAHM Positions: Each position paper should summarize SAHM’s positions at the beginning of the paper.  New positions must be consistent (non-conflicting) with established positions, unless an explanation is provided discussing the change.  The need to revise or retire previous papers should be brought to the attention of the Director of Publications, as soon as possible.
  • Background information
  • Method(s) of position paper development (i.e. systematic review of literature, expert consensus)
  • Statement of problem
  • New information
  • Summary/conclusion
  • Authors, affiliations and disclosures
  • References: The references serve as the scientific justification and should be peer–reviewed research articles, public policy documents or state-of-the-art articles or books from the literature.  There should be no more than 15 references. References should be formatted according to the current requirements of the Journal of Adolescent Health.
  • Adolescent and/or parent education handout, where applicable. Adolescent and/or parent education handouts deal with specific adolescent health topics.  Adolescent and/or parent education handouts are to be written by health care providers who have expertise on the specific topic. Adolescent and/or parent education handouts should provide an overview of the condition/issue, and information on treatment options. They should be written in simple and clear language to convey their message. Adolescent and/or parent education are for educational purposes. Adolescent handouts should be available on SAHM website and can be printed from this website.

Review Process for Position Papers

  • Position papers/statements are submitted to the Director of Publications for review.
  • All position papers and statements submitted for review must be of a quality similar to that of a manuscript that would be submitted for publication in a journal. As such, all position papers and statements must be carefully proofread for grammar, punctuation and readability.
  • The Director of Publications provides an initial review of the paper/statement.  If the information is complete, the position paper/statement is sent out for peer review to members of the SAHM Position Paper and Statement Review Committee.  Committee members should return reviews to the Director of Publications using the Position Paper and Statement Review form.  After review, the Director of Publications will send the paper back to the authors for revisions, or forward the paper to the Board of Directors, if comments are minor.  The authors should respond to peer review comments with a detailed explanation of responses and changes made within four (4) weeks.  The Director of Publications will review the revisions and decide if the revised paper is ready for submission to the BOD for review.
  • The BOD are encouraged to provide comments on the content of the position paper.  Comments made by the BOD will be addressed and incorporated in the paper/statement before final approval.
  • BOD may do one of the following:
    • approve the position paper/statement for publication as submitted
    • approve with minor edits
    • reject the position paper/statement  or
    • request that the position paper/statement be discussed during a BOD meeting.
  • After review by the BOD, the position paper/statement must be approved by the voting members of the BOD to provide official SAHM policy on issues that affect the health and well-being of adolescents.  A majority vote is needed for approval by the BOD at a regular BOD meeting or conference call.  For an email vote by the BOD, a unanimous vote is required.
  • The Director of Publications will return the position paper/statement to the lead author with a letter outlining BOD comments and final suggestions made by the Director of Publications.
  • The lead author will distribute the feedback to the authoring group.
  • The lead author and authoring group will make every effort to address all BOD comments and Director of Publications suggestions.
  • The lead author and authoring group will return the edited position paper/statement to the Director of Publications with a letter describing changes made.
  • The Director of Publication will ensure that comments have been incorporated into the final draft of the statement, or that the reasons for not incorporating the suggestions have been justified.
  • Once comments are incorporated as appropriate, BOD will review the position paper for final approval.
  • Once approved by a majority of the voting members of the Board of Directors, the position paper/statement is submitted to the Managing Editor of the Journal of Adolescent Health for copy editing and publication.


Publication of SAHM Position Papers/Statements

Position papers/statements will be published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and posted on the SAHM website.

The review process for position papers/statements may need to be expedited if there are recommendations of an urgent nature that have a significant and direct impact on the practice of adolescent health.  The Director of Publications will work directly with the Editor-in-Chief to coordinate and expedite the process so that the information is disseminated to the membership and readership in a timely fashion.

Because of copyright and reprint concerns, position papers/statements will not be published in other organizations’ journals before publication in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Exceptions are made if it is previously determined that a joint position paper/statement will be published simultaneously in the Journal of Adolescent Health and the official journal of the co-authoring entity.

Duration of SAHM Position Papers/Statements

SAHM position papers/statements undergo periodic review every five years or more often as needed. This review can be by the authoring committee (see Development Process), other appropriate committee, or by the Executive Committee (EC) – at the request of the Director of Publications or Board of Directors.  This review will recommend if the position should be reaffirmed, retired or revised. The review shall be reported to the Director of Publications, EC and BOD.


Revision Process

All leading authors and their respective authoring groups will be expected to conduct a triennial review of their position paper/statement when older than 5 years. The Director of Publications will request that the BOD review the position paper/statement and choose to revise, reaffirm or retire the paper/statement. In addition to this review, the BOD may ask the Director of Publications to consult experts in the field concerning whether the position paper/statement requires revision, reaffirmation or retirement. If such consultation is requested, the Director of Publication will report to the BOD regarding the recommendations from the expert review.

In addition, the BOD may request a review of a position paper/statement prior to the 5 year-mandatory review if there has been significant/important changes to the content of the current position paper/statement under consideration.
  • Revision: If the BOD chooses to revise, then the authoring group has 12 months to submit the revised position paper/statement to the Director of Publications. Reaffirmation: The review committee should complete a current literature review to be certain that reaffirmation without revision is appropriate. The BOD will review and then make the reaffirmation decision. The date of the reaffirmation will be added to the most current version of the position paper, as posted on the SAHM Website.
  • Retirement: The BOD will make the recommendation (in consultation with experts in the field when necessary) and decision to retire the paper/statement.

If the BOD recommends revising the position paper/statement, then the Director of Publications will contact the most recent lead author.  The lead author will contact his/her authoring group and notify them of the BOD’s request to revise. If the lead author can no longer take on this responsibility, he/she will recommend a SAHM member who can.  The Director of Publications will review this with the BOD.  If the lead author is approved by the BOD, the Director of Publications will ask this member if they would take on the role and responsibility of the lead author in the revision of the position paper/statement.  If the lead author agrees, he/she will confirm that the most recent authoring committee is interested in participating in the revision.  If this is not the case, the lead author can identify other group members.  The authoring group will have 12 months to submit the revised position paper/statement to the Director of Publications.

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