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Dr. Ken Ginsburg is a pediatrician specializing in Adolescent Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He also serves as Director of Health Services at Covenant House Pennsylvania, an agency that serves Philadelphia’s youth enduring homelessness.
In Dr. Ginsburg’s adolescent medicine practice, he cares for a wide variety of medical conditions, while simultaneously addressing adolescent behavioral issues. He practices social adolescent medicine -- medicine with special attention to prevention and the recognition that social context and stressors affect both physical and emotional health. At Covenant House Pennsylvania the clinic addresses client’s risk by first acknowledging that most worrisome behaviors stem from an individual’s reaction to stress. Then, it guides each young person to build upon existing strengths to address problem behaviors.
His research over the last 30 years has focused on facilitating youth to develop their own solutions to social problems and to teach clinicians how to better serve them. He co- developed the Teen-Centered Method, a mixed qualitative/quantitative methodology that enables youth to generate, prioritize, and explain their own ideas. Dr. Ginsburg has more than 200 publications, including 42 original research articles, clinical practice articles, eight parenting books, and a multimedia toolkit for professionals.
Dr. Ginsburg has received over 50 awards recognizing his research, clinical skills, writing, or advocacy efforts. These include The Young Investigator Award and a visiting professorship from The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, The Lindback Award for distinguished teaching from The University of Pennsylvania, and The Humanism in Medicine Award given to the Penn faculty member who “demonstrates the highest standards of compassion and empathy in the delivery of care to patients.” He has been named one of Philadelphia magazine’s “Top Docs” twelve times.
The theme that ties together his clinical practice, teaching, research and advocacy efforts is that of building on the strength of teenagers by fostering their internal resilience. He works to translate the best of what is known from research and practice into practical approaches parents, professionals and communities can use to build resilience. To advocate for parents’ critical role in raising resilient children and teens, he has appeared on CNN, NPR, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The CBS morning show, FOX and Friends and ABC, NBC, and CBS Nightly News programs.
Dr. Ginsburg lectures widely to national and international parent and professional audiences. His most recent books are, "Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings," and “Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love with Expectations and Protection with Trust”, both published by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).The AAP has also published a multimedia toolkit “Reaching Teens: Strength-Based, Trauma-sensitive, Resilience-building Communication Strategies Rooted in Positive Youth Development ” that offers up to 95 continuing education credits for youth-serving professionals.
He has been honored to be working alongside Boys and Girls Clubs of America as their external resilience expert and with Covenant House International to solidify and magnify their practice model rooted in the healing power of loving and respectful adult connections with youth.
He has been humbled to work on behalf of those who serve our nation with The Military Child Education Coalition to prepare military parents, health professionals, counselors, and teachers to incorporate stress reduction and resilience-building strategies for the nation’s nearly 2 million military-affiliated children.
Resilience in Action: A Strength-based Approach to Working with Young People
Tailored specifically to the needs of the audience --whether educators, youth-serving agencies, or health professionals—this presentation provides specific strategies and tools for identifying and fostering the strengths of youth. Most communities choose to have a range of professionals attend.
These seminars range from 90 minutes to 8 hours (6 hours of content). Longer workshops offer greater opportunity for in-depth teaching and skill development; shorter programs are designed to be motivational and to introduce concepts the participant will want to further explore using available written materials.
- The participant will be prepared to set the stage for a trustworthy interaction.
- The participant will be familiar with the Seven C’s model of positive youth development and resilience.
- The participant will have a grasp on the behavioral change process and understand how the seven C’s contribute to positive behavioral change.
- The participant will be prepared to foster authentic success and protect children and adolescents from the stress and perfectionism that undermines their well-being and long-term success. (This objective is critical for school audiences and optional for others)
- The participant will be better prepared to eliminate shame from interactions by focusing on building confidence in youth. They will understand that confidence has to be rooted in existing competencies.
- The participant will be able to offer parents and youth basic life skills that will help them navigate peer culture.
- The participant will be better prepared to support balanced, authoritative parenting.
- The participant will be prepared to communicate with youth in a way that builds on their existing strengths rather than undermines their forward movement. This objective focuses on shifting away from approaching youth with lectures.
- The participant will be familiar with a stress management strategy that is designed to move youth away from self-destructive quick fixes and towards positive behaviors.
Working with Youth Labeled “At Risk”: Reducing Risk by Recognizing and Building on Existing Strengths
This 4- to 8- hour workshop is designed to help agencies that work with marginalized and traumatized youth to shift away from a risk-based approach and toward a resilience-based approach. The objectives are similar to those offered above, but the focus will be on under-resourced youth. It will be highly interactive because the group needs to openly struggle from within their community on the benefits to both staff and youth of making the shift towards a strength-based, resilience building strategy.
Taking Care of Ourselves: Healing the Healer (Multiple formats available)
Caring professionals are at increased risk of burnout because of their continued exposure to the most passionate themes of human existence. If they are to continue to care for others over a lifetime they need to take the steps to make sure they themselves do not become depleted.
A review of self-care and internal resilience principles can be incorporated into the end of seminars that have at least 4 content hours as a 30-minute conclusion. As an independent presentation, a more detailed perspective can be covered in the form of a 60-90 minute seminar for healing professionals.
For an in-depth, critical understanding of this subject in the context of an agency, school, or other organization, a 4-hour facilitated workshop format can be used to review and generate key steps for increasing staff resilience. Trust and credibility are crucial to the success of this kind of approach. In order to develop honest, realistic, and solution-based responses to important staff concerns, agencies requesting a workshop presentation of this subject must agree beforehand to plan a follow-up committee to implement at least some action strategies proposed by the group. Otherwise, the participants will feel demoralized, and any progress made at the workshop will be undermined.
[Note: Some agencies have opted for two full days with Dr. Ginsburg. Day 1 offers A Strength-based Approach to Working with Young People and Day 2 is a workshop that engages the group to make the shift as an agency toward a strength-based approach. Day 2 ends with the workshop “Taking Care of Ourselves: Healing the Healer.” ]
Professor of Pediatrics and Regents' Professor on faculty at the University of New Mexico
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