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Let's talk about sex(uality) in the medical curricula

Ferreira Carvalho, R1; Pais de Lacerda, A2; Pais de Lacerda, N3

1: SexED, Portugal; 2: Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Portugal; 3: INSPSIC, Portugal

Objectives: It has been difficult to introduce Sexology in Portuguese medical faculties' official curricula. The use of a parallel curriculum in Congresses organized by the students can promote teaching/learning sessions on these issues. The objective of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of a workshop more focused on the sexuality topics not often conveyed in Medical faculties: gender identity and diversity of sexual development (often known as intersexuality).

Population sample: Approximately 60 Medical students attending 4 optional workshops on Sexuality.

Methods: Four 2 to 3 hours workshops were organized in different International Medical Students Congresses in Portugal during 2017 with a student-centered approach to learning, and in an informal education setting, centered in a role-playing medical consult to discuss and explore biopsychosocial sexuality myths. Questionnaires were filled out anonymously and privately by the students immediately after the workshop.

Preliminary results and discussion: Students’ on the spot evaluation acknowledged the workshop as being very important for their future practice, expressing the lack of discussion of these subjects in their medical faculties, emphasizing the need for further discussion of other sex-related topics (possibly in multiple sessions included officially in the medical curriculum). The medical curriculum in Portugal lacks a transversal and systematic approach to human sexuality issues and the population of medical students evaluated understand the usefulness of these problem-based workshops in the medical curricula.

Conclusions: Teaching and learning in Medicine issues related to human sexuality is relevant to structure or to change mentalities of students who otherwise would keep the concepts of their family/living environments. Sexuality related themes should be introduced in the curricula of medical schools, since this has a biopsychosocial role that assumes increasing importance in daily interpersonal and doctor-patient relationships.


Work supported by industry: no.

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