Making Strides in Medical Education in Sexual Health

Me and Joycelyn Elders, MD, the 15th U.S. Surgeon General, at the Summit

In early December, I was honored to participate in the first Summit on Medical Education in Sexual Health, which brought together experts in medical education, sexual health, and sexuality education to address physicians’ inability to adequately provide sexual healthcare and education to patients.

The two-day event  included a work session during which participants developed guidelines for Medical School Education in Sexual Health. These guidelines will be distributed to medical schools in the US and Canada. Anita P. Hoffer and I represented the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University and succeeded in getting education in sexuality and aging included in the guidelines.

Forty two experts from the US and Canada participated in the summit, which was hosted by the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Program in Human Sexuality. I was very pleased to meet Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the 15th US Surgeon General, who is a passionate advocate for comprehensive sexuality education. Dr. David Satcher, the 16th US Surgeon General, also participated in the summit.

In addition to developing the guidelines, participants were encouraged to continue to work on projects that will further the summit’s goals. For my part, I am co-authoring an article with the American Medical Student Association’s coordinators of the Sexual Health Scholars Program (SHPS), which relies on Widener University graduate students as peer educators. As a grad student, I was a SHSP small group facilitator; as a professional, I have presented large-group lectures on the breadth of sexuality, physician-patient communication abut sexuality, and sexuality and aging.