In this video, Mayo Clinic Urology researchers Niki Palik, MD, MBA, MSBA, Tobias S. Koehler, MD, MPHand Matthew J. Siegelman, MDhighlights the background and results of the study, “The Impact of Medical School Sexual Health Education on Specialty Choices of Young Urologists Specializing in Sexual Dysfunction.”
Could you explain the background of this research?
Parikh: Sexual health is a very important factor for everyone’s overall quality of life. It affects not only the physical aspects of health, but also the emotional and mental ones. Sexual dysfunction is an important reassurance for all urologists. We look at the sexual health curriculum experienced in medical school by trainees at various levels, including residents, fellows, and even early faculty, and their responses to it and to lifelong instruction. wanted to evaluate. And whether it influenced the decision to pursue urology or receive further specialized training.
Kohler: Informally among faculty members of the men’s health team here in Rochester, staff asked each other what sexual health training they had received. Really, really different. I personally had SAR, Sexual Attitude Readjustment, for a week. They lock you and your classmates in a lecture hall for a week and show you everything you can think of. Some medical schools do nothing. We were very curious about how contradictory the modern world is and how it affects career choices and comfort levels with which to do things. Urologists obviously need to know about sexual health, [for] primary care doctor [and] internal medicine doctor, [it’s] Not only is this very important for quality of life, but in some cases sexual health concerns can be predictive factors such as heart disease and depression.
Ziegelmann: Dr. Kohler and I are both involved in the medical school here at Mayo University. We too were looking at this as an opportunity to figure out how to get people even more excited about the areas we know are great. Urology is such an amazing field, but how do you get people excited about urology and sexual health? And does it make a difference? If we are, if we have such a captive audience in medical school, does our engagement with them make a difference? We learned a lot through this research, and that was the start. How can medical students be caught early? What are the implications beyond urology for medical students to have more rewarding careers? As Dr. Kohler mentioned, that applies to things like primary care and family medicine.
What was your notable discovery?
Parikh: Overall, we conducted a survey [and] Of the 94 respondents, only about half remembered any of the sexual health curriculum during medical school. It is a group of trainees focused on pursuing sexual medicine and life reconstruction. We found that while topics such as sexual health, anatomy, and physiology are frequently covered, education on topics such as body image, sexual self-esteem, and lifelong sexuality is less covered. Only 25% of respondents felt that the sexual health curriculum provided sufficient knowledge to address their patients’ sexual health concerns. And only 14% felt that exposure influenced their decision to pursue urology.
When I looked into mentorship specifically, I found that many of them had mentors who specialize in sex medicine as trainees. It was around 80%. When specifically looking at individuals seeking to pursue sexual dysfunction fellowships, the factor that seemed really important was being accompanied by a mentor with sexual dysfunction expertise. Most of those people thought mentorship was important or very important in their decision to get subspecialty training, but just as exposure to the sexual health curriculum in medical school played a role at all. The importance of mentorship was emphasized.
Ziegelmann: Even among urologists, urology trainees, fellows, and some of the early staff who probably wanted to pursue a career in this field, most of them felt that their medical school experience was relevant to their patients’ concerns. I didn’t feel ready to deal with. I think this is important and I think it underscores the need to seriously consider how to reinvent medical school education as it relates to sexual health.
This transcript has been edited for clarity.