The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health is proud to announce the publication of their article, “Sexual Health Education and Policy in Medical School: The Importance of Incorporating Basic Human Rights into Medical Education and Training” in the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance’s 2011 report, State of Sexual Freedom in the United States. The report is available online.
Megan Andelloux (AASECT/ACS), Director of The CSPH, states, “The CSPH was so proud to partner with Woodhull Sexual Freedom Foundation to increase awareness of the state of sex education in our medical schools. This information can be used by governing boards at medical schools to address the need to further develop and carry out sexual education to medical professionals, so that they may better serve patients.”
The CSPH’s report addresses the state of sexual health education and policy in medical schools across the United States, citing a 2003 study that concluded that more than half of U.S. medical schools only provide 3-10 hours of sexual health instruction. While only 7 out of 125 schools reported not having a formal sexual health curriculum in a previous survey, new research demonstrates that actually around 44% of medical schools lack formal curricula in this arena. These issues reflect a broader, systematic problem within the medical community: the lack of national sexual health education standards.
Unfortunately, patients bear the burden for this lack of sexual health education, with 43% of medical students feeling uncomfortable discussing sexual health with their patients and over half stating they do not feel properly trained to help patients with their concerns. Patients feel discomfort in initiating these conversations, and when they do broach the subject, they are faced with silence or uncertainty. This leaves patients to search for information on their own, opening themselves up to the risk and potential dangers of misinformation.
The CSPH recommends that governing bodies that oversee medical schools’ education standards, certifications, and accreditations address the sexual and reproductive health needs of the United States, first and foremost by creating a standard for sexual health education by which medical professionals must adhere. Furthermore, The CSPH suggests that the policy enables professionals to pursue training and education, as well as clinical environments in which they can practice and apply their training and knowledge of sexual and reproductive health. In accordance to the guidelines provided by the World Health Organization, The CSPH also suggests that within national medical standards, sexual pleasure must be included as a key component of sexual health.
“Sexual Health Education and Policy in Medical School: The Importance of Incorporating Basic Human Rights into Medical Education and Training” was written by Megan Andelloux (AASECT/ACS) and edited by Alicia Gauvin, Aida Manduley, Liam Stansen, and Rebecca Zakarian.
For more information on sexual education in medical schools, please contact The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health at 401-345-8685.