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Summer institute on sexuality studies kicks off

July 14, 2003

Image of National Sexuality Resource Center logoThe next generation of researchers on issues of sexuality has arrived at SFSU for an extensive look at how sexuality impacts health in today's global society.

In the only program of its type in the country, SFSU's monthlong Summer Institute on Sexuality, Society and Health has attracted more than 30 leading researchers, health-care providers, community organizers and graduate students from throughout the world to learn the latest about emerging issues in sexuality research.

Cuong Manh La, who is attending the summer institute with two other colleagues from Vietnam, works with farmers in Hanoi as a health educator promoting male responsibility in reproductive health. "I need to know more about women's reproductive health issues in order to work with farmers. I hope to learn many things I can take back to my country as it deals with issues of population," he said.

Institute participants represent a cross-section of the world. In addition to Vietnam, students are from England, India, Spain and Peru as well as from North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee.

During the four-week institute, which continues through July 31, the students will explore such issues as the state of sexual health in the United States, the influence poverty, racism and homophobia may play in the AIDS epidemic and the impact of globalization on sexual health in local communities.

The faculty and students will tackle such topics as historical and theoretical issues in sexuality, female sexuality, the global aspects of sexuality and the impact of social inequality on the sexual health of individuals. The students also will learn about qualitative methods for studying human sexuality and the theory and practice of sexuality research.

The institute also features a special practitioner training program for doctors, health-care providers, and others to examine sexuality, ethnicity and health, and how these factors affect practice in the field.

Leading the sessions is summer institute director Gilbert Herdt, an internationally known researcher on sexuality, architect of SFSU's pioneering Human Sexuality Studies Program and founder/director of the National Sexuality Resource Center (NSRC) and assisted by institute coordinator Joy O'Donnell. The faculty features noted SFSU experts in sexuality studies including Caitlin Ryan, Deborah Tolman, Judy Young, Rafael Dìaz, Jessica Fields, Christopher Carrington, Niels Teunis and others.

The institute, which was first held in 2001, has now become a vital part of the mission of the NSRC, Herdt said. "By learning more about the current research in the field and developing research skills, we hope that you will help create a meaningful dialogue between academics and advocates on the complex issue of sexuality in today's society," Herdt told students at the opening session.

SFSU is one of the few universities in the country offering a master's degree in human sexuality studies.

-- Ted DeAdwyler


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Last modified July 14, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs