The American Academy of Pediatrics Launches Simulation to Train Pediatricians on Addressing Teen Use of Appearance and Performance Enchancing Substances

Role-Play Simulation Prepares Child Health Professionals To Lead Real-Life Conversations With Teens And Build Their Motivation To Quit

Elk Grove Village, IL, Jan. 11, 2016 – The American Academy of Pediatrics announces the launch of Artificial Perfection: Talking to Teens about Performance Enhancement – a free, role-play simulation designed to prepare pediatricians and other child health professionals to lead real-life conversation with teens about appearance and performance-enhancing substances. Take the simulation at:

The use of appearance and performance-enhancing substances among youth has increased tremendously over the past decade. More than 10 percent of adolescents have misused prescription stimulants for cognitive enhancement, and about 6 percent of the general high school population has used illegal steroids for appearance or strength enhancement. Physicians should be aware of the use of performance-enhancing substances by pediatric patients; be prepared to identify risk factors, signs, and symptoms; ask screening questions; and offer anticipatory guidance related to their use.

This innovative simulation engages users in role-play conversations with three virtual and emotionally responsive patients presenting with signs of appearance and performance-enhancing substances. As the health professional in the simulation, users choose what to say to the virtual patient, how to respond to their hesitations, resistance, and misconceptions, and how to use motivational interviewing techniques to motivate them to change their behavior. At the end of each role-play conversation, a personalized reporting dashboard provides users with feedback on their performance in the conversation to support their ongoing pursuit of skills building. Continuing Medical Education is available for the simulation.

“Health care providers are often not aware of the prevalence of use of appearance and performance-enhancing agents in their patient panels. The goal of this Kognito simulation is to raise awareness of this issue among pediatricians, and to enhance comfort in recognizing and addressing these issues in their adolescent population,” said pediatrician Michele LaBotz, MD, FAAP, the lead subject matter expert for the AAP on the simulation’s development. “Pediatricians are in the best position to address patient and family concerns regarding use of these substances in a confidential and sensitive fashion, and completion of these virtual conversations will increase providers’ knowledge of those substances currently in most common use.”

Kognito, using its simulation technology platform, in collaboration with the AAP and leading experts including Dr. LaBotz, Don Hooton, Pamela Gonzalez, MD, FAAP, and Joseph Chorley, MD, FAAP, in addition to a group of practicing pediatricians, developed the Artificial Perfection simulation. Kognito has collaborated with the AAP in the past on developing the award-winning Change Talk: Childhood Obesity app.

“Helping curb the growing use of performance-enhancing substances by preparing health professionals to effectively talk with teens is another compelling example of how the power of conversation can be harnessed to improve health,” said Ron Goldman, Co-founder and CEO of Kognito. “Our efforts with the AAP to address childhood obesity, substance use screening, and now performance-enhancing substances, all underscore the growing opportunity to use our Conversation Platformâ„¢ to prepare health professionals to affect sustainable changes in patient attitude, skills, and behaviors in a cost effective, engaging and timely manner.”

Artificial Perfection: Talking to Teens about Performance Enhancement is available for free and can be accessed online at:

The development of Artificial Perfection was made possible by support from the US Food and Drug Administration. Information included in the simulation represents the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics or leading experts and not necessarily that of the FDA.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. For more information, visit




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