Practice meets theory: a new approach to medical sex education

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In the past three years an elective clinical practicum in sex education has been added to the existing human sexuality program at the Howard University College of Medicine. Staff from the Washington, D.C., Department of Human Resources and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington have trained 84 third- and fourth-year medical students in sex education techniques and supervised their work with 2,100 public school children, mostly fifth- and sixth-grade pupils. Results indicate several advantages to the program: the public schools receive a needed service; the health agencies and the medical school are able to expand their work in the community; the public school students find ready models for identification while learning about sexual issues; and the medical students move from the role of passive learner to that of active teacher.

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