Year End Letter from the Chair in Sexual Health
This has been an exceptional year at the Program in Human Sexuality (PHS) at the University of Minnesota. Through philanthropic support, we were able to recruit the first Joycelyn Elders Chair in Sexual Health Education at the University of Minnesota. Michael Ross, MD PhD MPH became the inaugural chair on December 1, 2014. The Elders chair is designed to revitalize sexual health education across the lifespan and expand the research needed to support this work.
Our faculty continued their work in human sexuality research, education, clinical care, and public policy. Our research enterprise includes new investigators who are increasing our understanding of human sexuality and tackling complex sexual problems. We have been advancing research in HIV prevention, sexuality and aging, and transgender health services. Through a generous gift, we were able to conduct new research in sexuality and aging and have plans to translate the findings into a theatrical performance to inform the public. The research of faculty Michael Miner, PhD, continues to advance the fields of sex offender treatment and impulsive/compulsive sexual behavior by testing prominent theories and providing empirical challenges to accepted beliefs.
With support from a generous gift, we were able to expand our educational endeavors and recruit the first fellow for the Michael E. Metz Fellowship in Couples’ Sexual Health. Michael Metz, PhD, was a former faculty member, respected psychologist and author. We continue to train other distinguished clinical fellows in human sexuality and are looking for opportunities to support them with more time for research through philanthropic support.
In December 2014, we held the second Summit on Medical School Education in Sexual Health at the Commons Hotel in Minneapolis. The summit was attended by over 50 experts in sexual health education from the United States and Canada and chaired by former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, MD, MS. The meeting created a number of work groups to provide useful educational products to support sexual health education in medical schools. The challenge is daunting, but the Program in Human Sexuality is committed to making a difference.
Clinicians at the Center for Sexual Health, the clinical arm of our program, provided high quality therapy to individuals and families of all backgrounds. As we look to the future of the Program in Human Sexuality, we will focus our clinical efforts towards transgender care, relationship and sex therapy, and compulsive sexual behavior. The focus on these clinical areas will align PHS with our mission and strengthen our commitment to exceptional clinical care.
We have engaged in a number of public policy activities, including addressing the issue of sexual rights as human rights, civil commitment for sexual offenders, trans men and women serving in the military, and sexual health as a public health strategy. We were able to provide leadership and funding to help the World Association for Sexual Health revise its Declaration of Sexual Rights (released September 2014). We are committed to going beyond our walls and enacting real change in this world by advocating for a sexually healthy climate. Without a healthy society, we cannot have healthy individuals and families. We will continue to insist that sound public policy be based on the best available science.
Thank you for all you do to support our efforts to advance sexual health. It is because of you — our donors, our colleagues, and our advocates-that we continue to thrive.
Eli Coleman, PhD
Academic Chair in Sexual Health
Professor and Director