Sexuality Education in North American Medical Schools: Current Status and Future Directions (CME)

Alan W Shindel, Sharon J. Parish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction. Both the general public and individual patients expect healthcare providers to be knowledgeable and approachable regarding sexual health. Despite this expectation there are no universal standards or expectations regarding the sexuality education of medical students. Aims. To review the current state of the art in sexuality education for North American medical students and to articulate future directions for improvement. Methods. Evaluation of: (i) peer-reviewed literature on sexuality education (focusing on undergraduate medical students); and (ii) recommendations for sexuality education from national and international public health organizations. Main Outcome Measures. Current status and future innovations for sexual health education in North American medical schools. Results. Although the importance of sexuality to patients is recognized, there is wide variation in both the quantity and quality of education on this topic in North American medical schools. Many sexual health education programs in medical schools are focused on prevention of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection. Educational material on sexual function and dysfunction, female sexuality, abortion, and sexual minority groups is generally scant or absent. A number of novel interventions, many student initiated, have been implemented at various medical schools to improve the student's training in sexual health matters. Conclusions. There is a tremendous opportunity to mold the next generation of healthcare providers to view healthy sexuality as a relevant patient concern. A comprehensive and uniform curriculum on human sexuality at the medical school level may substantially enhance the capacity of tomorrow's physicians to provide optimal care for their patients irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, and individual sexual mores/beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Fingerprint

Sexuality
Medical Schools
Education
Reproductive Health
Medical Students
Health Education
Health Personnel
Students
Unwanted Pregnancies
Minority Groups
Direction compound
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexual Behavior
Curriculum
Patient Care
Fungi
Public Health
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Organizations
Physicians

Keywords

  • Medical Education
  • Medical School
  • Medical Students
  • Sexuality Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

Cite this

Sexuality Education in North American Medical Schools : Current Status and Future Directions (CME). / Shindel, Alan W; Parish, Sharon J.

In: Journal of Sexual Medicine, Vol. 10, No. 1, 01.2013, p. 3-18.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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