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  Program in Human Sexuality > News & Events > Sexual Health Education Chair

Sexual Health Education Chair


For Immediate Release 

Contact: Laura Stroup, Academic Health Center, 612-624-5680 or stro0481@umn.edu  

First of Its Kind Sexual Health Education Chair Established at U of M

MINNEAPOLIS/ST PAUL (July 15, 2011) – The Program in Human Sexuality, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School, exceeded its fundraising goals for the Joycelyn Elders Chair in Sexual Health Education. The Chair is the first of its kind in the nation to focus on sexuality education.

The unique grassroots fundraising efforts for the chair attracted more than 275 donors, including 21 organizations, from 24 states, the District of Columbia, and 8 countries. Together donors gave $2,009,771 to establish the Joycelyn Elders Chair in Sexual Health Education. In five years, once all pledged donations have been received, the Program in Human Sexuality will hire one faculty member to hold the endowed faculty position and focus his/her efforts on creating comprehensive life-long sexual education curricula, increasing the number of health care providers and health educators trained in sexual health, and expanding scientific research in sexuality education. These efforts will help to change the direction of sexual health in this country and around the world.

“The Program in Human Sexuality has proven success in educating medical professionals, human sexuality research, providing clinical care, and advocating for science-based public policy. Through the Elders Chair we will build on our strengths to advance sexual health education,” said Eli Coleman, PhD, director of the Program in Human Sexuality.

Joycelyn Elders, MD, has always felt a strong connection to the University of Minnesota Medical School where she completed an internship in pediatrics in 1960. “In 1959 the University of Minnesota had the best pediatric internship in the country, they could have had any student that they wanted, and they selected me. I have always been very grateful.”

Sexual health has been a primary focus for Elders starting with her service as the director of the Arkansas Health Department through her time as a U.S. Surgeon General, and in the years that have followed. She continues to travel the country advocating for sexual health to professional organizations and college students. She said, “I have realized the detriment and destruction that can be caused from a lack of sexual health. The most common cause of poverty is children being born to children. Sexuality makes up such a great part of our lives, and yet we spend so little time talking about it, teaching about it, and educating our young people about it. We must know that if we want to have a sexually healthy society, it’s about education, education, education.”

The Joycelyn Elders Chair in Sexual Health Education will be the second endowed Chair at the Program in Human Sexuality. In 2007 the Chair in Sexual Health was established, and the program’s director, Eli Coleman, PhD, holds the position.


About the University of Minnesota’s Program in Human Sexuality
The Program in Human Sexuality promotes the sexual health of Minnesota, the nation, and the world through preeminence in research, education, clinical service, and advocacy. At PHS we are working daily to revolutionize the sexual climate by eliminating barriers and advancing healthy sexuality. PHS is in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. For more information, visit



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