Home > Abstract Details > Patient Sexual Health: Teaching Medical Students\' Comfort and Competency

« Back to Search

Patient Sexual Health: Teaching Medical Students\' Comfort and Competency

Background: Given the United States’ poor sexual health status and the mission of the medical field, medical providers ought to be knowledgeable and competent caregivers for sexual health problems, yet many medical students and physicians express discomfort discussing sex with patients and dissatisfaction in the training opportunities at their schools.


Methods: Based on literature and field evidence, we developed a training module to improve competency addressing sexuality concerns with patients. The program covers sexual health, diversity of sexual behaviors and expressions, and best treatment practices for trauma-informed care. The program has been implemented in Washington University’s OB/Gyn clerkship program every 6 weeks since July 2014.

 Program evaluation was conducted using a pre/post test and survey design.


Results: An IRB-approved pilot evaluation showed a significant increase in students’ sense of comfort initiating discussions of sexual wellness with patients [t(10) = -2.89, p < 0.05] and self-perception of ability to discuss sexual health effectively [t(10) = -10.00, p < 0.05]. A comprehensive analysis of continuing evaluation [N=50] indicates improved attitudes and perception of skills, with program effectiveness rated 4.2/5. Surveys indicated a positive reception by students.


Discussions: Program evaluations indicate a positive immediate effect, while additional measures are needed to assess long-term effectiveness. Based on literature review, the longitudinal implementation of similar programming is essential for true program effectiveness.  


Keywords: Sexuality, roleplay, diversity

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2016, Student, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Patient Care, Professionalism, UME, Quality & Safety, Advocacy, Sexuality,

General Information

Poster 2016 C & A Annual Meeting

Student,Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,
Patient Care,Professionalism,
Quality & Safety,Advocacy,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Tammy Sonn, MD, Washington University School of Medicine; Michelle Linschoten, MSW, MPH; Ann Conrath, MSW, LMSW

Additional Materials

Related Abstracts

Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics

2130 Priest Bridge Drive, Suite 7, Crofton, MD 21114


APGO logo

Follow Us

Association of Professors of
Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO)