Sexual Health Scholars Program Overview
AMSA firmly believes in comprehensive sexual education for people throughout the life cycle. As such, it is crucial that medical students be taught about sexual health and sexual dysfunction in order to effectively treat and teach their patients. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that in 1999, of US adults between the ages of 18-59, 43% of women and 31% of men experience sexual problems. Sexual problems included problems with desire, arousal, orgasm, or pain and were often secondary to other medical conditions. Left untreated, sexual problems appear to have an association with decreased quality of life, depression, interpersonal conflicts, and frequently lead to patient noncompliance with medications. Despite this high prevalence of sexual dysfunction among U.S. adults, many physicians feel inadequately prepared to manage sexual problems and support healthy sexualities, largely because they have not received sufficient training. Indeed, most medical schools do not yet provide a comprehensive curriculum in sexual and reproductive health.
In 2009, AMSA launched the Sexual Health Scholars Program to begin to address the lack of attitudes, knowledge, and skills training of American medical students in sexual health education. We are pleased to announce that we are now taking applications to participate in the third annual Sexual Health Scholars Program. The online course, which will run October - March, will include lectures by experts, discussions among participants, various media, and collaborative projects. We hope this program will help participants gain knowledge and skills toward encouraging healthy sexualities and managing sexual concerns, and that participants will use these tools to teach others.
Participation fee is $30. Applicants who are selected to participate will be expected to pay this fee in full by November 1, 2012. Program fees go towards AMSA Academy. AMSA will work with you to help you obtain funding from your school and other organizations if you need assistance with the tuition.
The recommended textbook for the course is Human Sexuality 3rd edition by Roger Hock ($130). We encourage you to find or request a copy at your library.
Participants in any scholars programs must be AMSA members, although one may apply without being an AMSA member yet. If you have been an AMSA member in the past, AMSA membership lasts for the entirety of medical school, so you are still a member while in school. For more information about joining AMSA and its many membership benefits, please see here.
Please contact us if you are worried about the financial obligations; we do not want to turn anyone away for financial reasons.
While not mandatory, we also highly encourage all participants to attend the AMSA National Convention, March 14-17, 2013, in Washington, DC,, as there will be activities for SHSP participants and amazing Gender & Sexuality programming. This will also probably be the only time you can meet your fellow scholars in person!
The Sexual Health Scholars will be a small and versatile group of passionate individuals with different interests, experiences, and levels of knowledge of sexual health.
- Selection of participants is based on merit and not ability to pay.
- Availability: We are especially interested in scholars who are both motivated to fully participate in this rigorous academic program and who have availability in their schedule to do so. We believe that participants will benefit most from this intensive approach, but we also recognize that scholars have other important and competing academic and extracurricular interests and activities.
- Team Player: A desire to engage with and contribute to the group is essential. The program will foster an online community for scholars to work together and with experts in order to gain new perspectives, knowledge, and clinical skills.
- Innovation in Education: Scholars who have the curiosity to ask why the status quo exists and the creativity to challenge it in productive ways. Scholars who want to share their newfound knowledge with their colleagues.
- We do NOT ask for experience in sexual health work or education. It's great if you have it, great if you don't. We are more interested in your enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and time commitment.
By the end of this institute, participants will be able to:
- Develop a network of peers in academic institutions across the world to draw on to build partnerships to further the cause of sexual health
- Recognize the historical context of sexuality research
- Restate functional purposes of sexual anatomy components in men and women
- Compare, contrast, and evaluate different models of human sexuality and sexual response
- Analyze different meanings of "sex"
- Define medical and "slang" sexual and reproductive terminology
- Describe important aspects of sexual health needs of different populations, including, but not limited to, different age groups, LGBT individuals, and patients with chronic illnesses
- Describe common sexual concerns and basic treatment options
- Propose ways to increase sexual self-esteem in different situations
- Conduct an extensive sexual history interview
- Appropriately tailor sexual history interviews to different age groups
- Screen for sexual assault and domestic violence
- Recognize when a physician can treat an illness and when to refer to a specialist.
- Teach fellow students about sexual health concepts through problem-based learning
- Create a sexual health project that can be utilized by other students interested in presenting a sexual health topic to classmates and others.
- Analyze one's own biases related to sexuality and examine ways to confront, work with, and/or overcome these biases.
- Examine the interplay between relationships, love, and family.
- Examine certain viewpoints of sex and sexuality within various religions.
- Examine the role of health care providers in treating sexual problems and promoting healthy sexualities.
- Examine the role of medical education in preparing physicians to treat sexual problems and promote health sexualities.
Our curriculum is primarily based on an extensive curriculum recently developed by the Center for Excellence in Sexual Health at Morehouse School of Medicine.
Below is the tentative list of topics to be covered this year.
Let’s Talk About Sex: Sexuality Values, Models, and Language
- The Birds and the Bees: Sexual Anatomy and Physiology
- Discussion of Gender
- Sexual History Taking
- Sexual Health Counseling
- Safer Sex
- Sexuality Across the Lifespan: Children and Adolescents
- How Do I Look? Body Image and Sexual Self-esteem
- Sexuality Across the Lifespan: Older Adults
- Common Sexual Concerns and Treatments
- Let’s Teach About Sex: Sexual Health in Medical Education
- Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Queer Health
- Transgender Health
- Relationships, Love, and Family
- Sexual Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence
- Sexuality, Disability, and Illness
- That’s So Kinky: The Spectrum of Sexuality
- Sexuality and Religion
- Final Project Presentations