AMSA Convention 2016 Logo

Sexual Health Leadership Course

Sexual Health LogoAn Online Learning Community
and Course

Fall 2014 - Spring 2015

AMSA firmly believes in comprehensive sexual education for people throughout the life cycle. As such, it is crucial that medical students be taught about sexual health and sexual dysfunction in order to effectively treat and teach their patients. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported 43% of women and 31% of men experience sexual problems. Sexual problems included problems with desire, arousal, orgasm, or pain and were often secondary to other medical conditions. Left untreated, sexual problems often have an association with decreased quality of life, depression, interpersonal conflicts, and frequently lead to patient noncompliance with medications. Despite the high prevalence of sexual dysfunction among our patients, many physicians feel inadequately prepared to manage sexual problems and support healthy sexuality. In fact, our program has found that 85% of medical students report receiving less than 5 hours of medical education dedicated to sexual health.

We are pleased to announce that we are now taking applications to participate in the Sexual Health Leadership Course. The online course, which will run October - March, will include lectures by experts, discussions among participants, various media, and collaborative projects. We hope this program will help participants gain knowledge and skills toward encouraging healthy sexualities and managing sexual concerns, and that participants will use these tools to teach others.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:


  • Develop a network of peers in academic institutions across the world to draw on to build partnerships to further the cause of sexual health
  • Compare, contrast, and evaluate different models of human sexuality and sexual response
  • Describe common sexual concerns and basic treatment options
  • Recognize the historical context of sexuality research
  • Describe important aspects of sexual health needs of different populations, including, but not limited to, different age groups, LGBT individuals, and patients with chronic illnesses


  • Conduct and appropriately tailor sexual history interviews to different age groups
  • Screen for sexual assault and domestic violence
  • Recognize when a physician can treat an illness and when to refer to a specialist
  • Teach fellow students about sexual health concepts through problem-based learning
  • Create a sexual health project that can be utilized by other students interested in presenting a sexual health topic to classmates and others


  • Analyze one's own biases related to sexuality and examine ways to confront, work with, and/or overcome these biases
  • Examine the interplay between relationships, love, and family
  • Examine certain viewpoints of sex and sexuality within various religions
  • Examine the role of health care providers in treating sexual problems and promoting healthy sexualities
  • Examine the role of medical education in preparing physicians to treat sexual problems and promote health sexualities

Tentative Curriculum 2014-2015

Our curriculum is primarily based on an extensive curriculum recently developed by the Center for Excellence in Sexual Health at Morehouse School of Medicine. Below is the tentative list of topics to be covered this year.

  • Let’s Talk About Sex: Sexuality Values, Models, and Language
  • The Birds and the Bees: Sexual Anatomy and Physiology
  • Discussion of Gender and Sexuality
  • Sexuality Across the Lifespan: Children and Adolescents
  • Sexuality Across the Lifespan: Older Adults
  • Common Sexual Concerns and Treatments Part 1
  • Common Sexual Concerns and Treatments Part 2
  • Let’s Teach About Sex: Sexual Health in Medical Education
  • Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Queer Health
  • Transgender Health
  • What’s Love Got to Do With It?: Relationships, Body Image, and Sexual Self-Esteem
  • Sexual Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence
  • Sexuality, Disability, and Illness
  • That’s So Kinky: The Spectrum of Sexuality
  • Oh God!: Sexuality and Religion
  • You Can See the Doctor Now: Sexual Health Counseling
  • Final Project Presentations

Participant Expectations

  • Participants are expected to participate in all sessions. If a scholar cannot attend one of the classes, the scholar is expected to inform the program coordinators of the expected absence. Participants who miss more than 2 small group sessions or more than 4 sessions overall will be asked to leave the program.
  • Participants are asked to remain open-minded and respectful of other views. Participants are asked to actively participate in all discussions.
  • Participants are expected to complete all homework assignments before class begins. Homework may include articles, media clips, short reflective pieces, etc.
  • Participants are expected to complete a final project related to sexual health in the community or sexual health education
  • Student participants will be highly encouraged to attend the AMSA National Convention, February 26-March 1, 2015 in Washington, DC. We are planning some activities at the convention, as this may be the only time during the program in which SHLC participants meet in person.


    Program Dates 

    • The program will run from September to February.
    • The course generally alternates between large group sessions and small group sessions, each 2 hours.
    • Small group sessions will be scheduled according to the availability of your small group.

    Learning Platform

    • The course will largely be conducted via webinar, an online-based learning platform. You will need access to either phone or audio on your computer.
    • We would prefer if you have access to a computer video camera. Many computers come equipped and they are also often available in your school's media resource center.


    • Homework will usually consist of articles, media clips, short story, or reflection.

    Final Project

    • Participants will complete a final project that will advocate for improved sexual health in their community or improved sexual health education in medicine. Final projects may involve anything from giving a lecture to your home medical school to share your knowledge on a topic of your choice, to more community-based action and advocacy efforts surrounding sexual health. Examples of excellent final projects by previous participants are posted here

    Course credit

    • Several participants have received elective credit from their schools for this course. While AMSA unfortunately cannot grant elective credit at this time, we are happy to support you with documentation that will aid you as you seek elective credit.
    • Upon completion of the program, participants will have the option of getting a letter of completion sent to their medical school dean on their behalf. Whether participants receive course credit or not, this letter can help highlight the honor of completing this nationally competitive program with your medical school administration, and is often included in the formal Dean’s Letters written by schools for students when applying for residency.

    Apply Online Today

    Apply Now
    Application Deadline: Sept 15, 2014

    For More Information

    Questions should be directed to the program coordinators at

    Program Tuition For Accepted Applicants

    Tuition Payment Due: Sept 30, 2014

    AMSA Student Member $35
    Non-Member $135*
    * Non-member fee includes AMSA membership, if applicable

    Final Projects from our Sexual Health Leaders

    View a sampling of the diverse projects presented by Sexual Health Leaders. We hope you enjoy learning from and using the information presented in these interactive activities, powerpoints, brochures, case-based exercises, etc.

    Sexual Health at Your School

    If you'd like to adapt this sexual health curriculum (in whole or part) for an elective or course at your school, email us at

    Improve the Sexual Health Curriculum at Your School

    SHLC (formerly SHSP) in the News

    • The New Physician: Sex Effects
      The article discusses how medical students and physicians can help address the mishandling of sexual medicine. It points out that AMSA’s Sexual Health Scholars Program has also sought to benefit physicians-in-training, particularly through helping students get over fears and build their comfort levels in activities like role playing.
    • Sexual Health Curriculum Focuses on Varieties of Sexual Experience 
      Article from AMSA's 60th Annual Convention reports on scholar Sara Thorp’s groundbreaking final project for SHSP course about bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM).
    • Broad sex education may help doctors to treat the community (of the AMSA Conference)
      Article describes Sara Thorp’s presentation about her final project for the course, which explores BDSM and draws conclusions about sexual health education in medical schools.
    • Finding My Achilles' Heel  
      A personal reflection on doctors’ lack of comfort with sexual issues which concludes with the importance of expanding sex education for medical students. It commends SHSP on its work: “This is a huge step forward for the medical community”.
    • Sexuality Education for ALL Medical Students 
      A blog entry describing a provoking conversation between dentist and patient that comes to the conclusion that all medical providers should be better trained in the field of sexual health. It refers to SHSP as a “step in the right direction”.
    • Med Students: We Want More Sex Ed! 
      A blog comment which points out AMSA’s response to that call: SHSP!