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Female Sexual Medicine: Identifying Gaps To Better Prepare Pre-Clinical Medical Students
Purpose: To examine the current components of female sexual
medicine incorporated into pre-clinical curriculum.
Background: In the United States, medical education on sexual
medicine varies throughout the country and between institutions. With limited
standardization, medical students and subsequent trainees have little to no
training in how to approach a patient with concerns surrounding their sexual
health. We identified a need to determine which components of sexual medicine,
particularly female sexual medicine, are currently being covered in
undergraduate medical education with the goal of proposing and developing
standardized curriculum materials to be utilized by medical students during
their pre-clinical education.
Methods: Curriculum materials on female sexual anatomy,
physiology and pathology were collected from all seven medical schools in
Chicago, Illinois. Courses covering topics on female sexual medicine varied
between institutions due to differences in preclinical curriculum and
coursework. To standardize our needs assessment, we identified specific
components of anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, social sciences,
and history and physical exam skills. Upon reviewing each institution’s
preclinical educational materials, we assessed curriculum content for
saturation of specific concepts within each of the above areas.
Results: Curriculum materials were collected from seven (n=7)
total medical schools in the surrounding Chicago, Illinois area. Out of the 7
institutions, 4/7 discussed clitoral anatomy. In addition to the anatomy, 4/7
discussed the physiology of the female orgasm, 3/7 highlighted the rate and
epidemiology of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), 3/7 included information on
treatment for FSD, 1/7 taught a genitourinary physical exam specific to
assessing FSD (external exam, internal exam, pelvic floor assessment), and 6/7
institutions included information on how to take a sexual history asking about
sexual function, pleasure and satisfaction.
Discussions: Our focused needs assessment highlights the need for
restructuring of curriculum as it pertains to female sexual medicine and FSD in
undergraduate medical education. Next steps include proposing individual
curricular recommendations to institutions, due to the variation in current
curriculum design, as to how they can better teach on areas surrounding FSD,
while also aiming to standardize what medical students are learning during
their pre-clinical years.
CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2023, Student, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Residency Director, Medical Knowledge, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement, UME, Assessment, Lecture, Advocacy, General Ob-Gyn, Sexuality,