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Sexually Speaking: How Are Medical School Clinical Curricula Preparing Future Physicians?

Purpose: This study focuses on medical school OBGYN core clerkship content to determine how female sexual medicine (FSM) is taught to medical students.


Background: Currently, only half of US medical schools require formal sexual health instruction, which contributes to the under-preparedness physicians experience in addressing FSM. Previous work from our group revealed a need for restructuring pre-clinical medical school curricula to include crucial FSM domains. Thus, comprehensive education in clinical curricula assumes an important role.


Methods: OBGYN clerkship syllabi, synchronous lecture materials, and supplemental resources were collected from four medical schools in Chicago, Illinois. Upon review of each institution’s clerkship materials, we assessed the goals set forth in each syllabus in terms of lecture or online learning content required for completion by rotating students.


Results: Clerkship materials were collected from four (n=4) medical schools. When comparing the specific aims and course content outlines in the rotation syllabi, 3 of 4 institutions included topics on FSM or female sexual dysfunction. Of these, only one had corresponding synchronous clerkship time dedicated to these topics. Furthermore, only one program offered training in comprehensive sexual history-taking practices, including screening for female sexual dysfunction. 


Discussions: Our needs assessment reveals inconsistencies in the outlined goals of OBGYN clinical rotations and the required content for students. A single lecture was included at only one institution specifically dedicated to treatment of female sexual dysfunction. This same school was the only to offer optional training in screening for female sexual dysfunction. Future work includes emphasizing FSM as crucial a domain for medical students.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2023, Student, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Osteopathic Faculty, Medical Knowledge, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement, UME, Assessment, Lecture, Advocacy,

General Information

Student,Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,Osteopathic Faculty,
Medical Knowledge,Practice-Based Learning & Improvement,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Olivia Negris, BS, MA; Rush Medical College; Nicolette Codispoti, MS, MPH; Anna Petersen, BA; Jennifer Romanello, BS

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