Sexual and Reproductive Health

Discrimination based on gender and sexuality has a major impact on patient health and is prevalent in the Canadian healthcare context. Thus, the Local Officers of Sexual and Reproductive Health (LORSHs) put on a wide variety of events and initiatives to increase awareness of the issues and advocate for changes to improve sexual and reproductive health in our local, national, and global communities.

For students interested in completing their pre-clerkship elective in this area, most events put on by the LORSH’s can be used to count towards the necessary 12 hours. Click here to learn more about the Community Engagement electives.

The events and activities listed below are some of past years’ elective activities, but keep up-to-date with the current year’s events by following the MSA Calendar, as each year brings in new projects.

Events & Activities

Inclusive Health Conference

The Inclusive Health Conference is a Canadian Medical Education approved conference for healthcare professionals on developing LGBTQ* competencies in their practice. The LORSHs work to support the Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Advocacy Committee (SGA) to put on the conference. The SGA is another student group that aims to address Alberta’s health disparities in sexual and gender minority communities, through collaboration, education of health professionals, and advocacy for sustainable social change. Medical students can receive elective credit towards a Community Engagement elective for attending the conference.

Sexual History Taking

Upper year medical students and residents facilitate a workshop that allows first and second year students to develop and refine their skills for taking sexual histories from a diversity of people. Generally, the event starts with a short lecture on the components of a sexual history and the use of inclusive language. Small groups then participate in OSCE style practice scenarios.

The Vagina Monologues (TVM)

This production is performed in honor of V-Day, an international day that works to promote an end to the physical and sexual violence experienced by women. Eve Ensler, author of TVM, and her team began the One Billion Rising Campaign which invites “one billion” people to rise up against female physical and sexual abuse. The performance is put on by first and second year medical students, who raise about $1000 each year for a local organization that works towards safety for women. The 2017 donation was made to Kindred House, a safe house and resource center for women and transgender individuals involved in street prostitution.

Health for Two

Health for Two is a community service experience facilitated by Mary Robbins, a community Health RN running one of the programs in the Edmonton area. The program is a perinatal support group for women facing adversity, including substance abuse, language or cultural barriers, and violent relationships. Medical students can sign up to attend one of the sessions during the school year. The experience aims to expose pre-clerkship students to the patient experience and allow for them to develop relationships and understanding with women from other communities. It is an opportunity to build connections between the medical community and women who have often faced discrimination when accessing care.

HIV Decriminalization Seminar

This seminar is often hosted by Dr. Cooper, an infectious disease doctor in the Edmonton community who works with HIV positive patients. The session begins with a short review of HIV medicine and the history of HIV criminalization. Then, as a group, students review a number of court cases involving HIV criminalization and discuss the ethical and public health issues involved in each.

Safqey LGBTQ* Homeless screening and Panel

In conjunction with the Local Officers of Inner City Health, the LORSH’s held a screening of an Edmonton filmed documentary about LGBTQ* youth homelessness. Following the documentary, there was a panel discussion about the intersectionality of these community members’ lives and how this issue pertains to the practice of physicians.

Additional Resources

SexualityandU This resource, provided by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, offers up to date information and resources on sexual health.

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights The CFSH is the Canadian member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and their website offers information on education, training programs, resources, and public awareness campaigns.

Medical Students for Choice Med students for Choice is an internationally recognized, non-profit organization with a network of over 100 000 medical students and residents around the US and Canada. Visit their website, or contact the University of Alberta chapter of Medical Students for Choice for more information.

Women’s Health Options Women’s Health Options is a local clinic that provides education, counseling, birth control and abortion services. Shadowing opportunities are available for students at the clinic.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission An international organization that focuses on human rights advocacy.

CEASE (Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation) A local organization working to create strategies that address sexual exploitation and support individuals who have been affected by exploitation.

V-Day Established by playwright Eve Ensler, V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls.