The mission of the Center of Excellence for Sexual Health (CESH) is to raise the level of national dialogue on human sexuality, sexual health, and well-being in a sustained, informed, honest, mature, and respectful way and to link that dialogue to actions that reflect scientific evidence and deeply held beliefs.
The first Center of Excellence for Sexual Health in the United States CESH seeks to strengthen public health through promotion of national public discussion of sexual health issues, provide forums and assistance to leaders of divergent viewpoints in building agreements on controversial issues of public health policy regarding sexual health, and provide education to improve the sexual health of the American people.
The four themes to guide the program development of the Center of Excellence for Sexual Health include:
- Bridge-Building: Bridge-building among leaders of diverse viewpoints for effective sexual health policy and services.
- Student Learning: Leadership in student learning regarding sexual health and its dimensions of public health.
- Community Education: Replicable models in health-care professions and institutions for improving nationwide public health education about sexual health.
- Disparity Reduction Initiatives: Services to improve equal access to national sexual health understanding and services and to reduce the disparities in health services for minority communities.
The Center of Excellence for Sexual Health is located at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Morehouse School of Medicine is a leader among the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America. The Center of Excellence for Sexual Health can provide unique cultural leadership for the United States through its understanding of minority communities.
Programs and Initiatives
National Consensus Process on Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior
The first initiative and cornerstone of CESH was the creation of the National Consensus Process on Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior (NCP), a delicate and fragile process that brought together top-level leaders from a wide range of major constituency organizations with core interests in sexual health to build agreement on a common direction and specific products to contribute to improved sexual health in America.
Anglican Indaba Project
Because of the work with the National Consensus Process and our commitment to bringing people together on divisive issues, CESH was called upon to develop a consensus process with the Worldwide Anglican Communion to assist in the development of a process to address divisive issues (e.g. homosexuality in the church, the ordination of women) within their religious system.
Endowed Chair in Sexuality and Religion
The Marta S. Weeks/David E. Richards Endowed Chair in Sexuality and Religion bridges the fields of sexuality, medicine, and religion by training future health and religious leaders to effectively address issues of sexuality in underserved communities. It supports innovative and effective pastoral services and provides the leadership needed to address challenges of sexuality and sexual health for medicine and religion.
Disabilities, Chronic Conditions and Sexual Health Program
CESH responds to the historic neglect of the sexual health of persons with disabilities and persons with chronic conditions. A conference was convened in 2008 entitled Wounded Troops and Partners: Supporting Intimate Relationships, bringing together leaders who could affect policy or fund research and programs that focus on family resiliency for veterans who have suffered physical and mental wounds in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to our Wounded Troops and Partners initiative CESH has also worked with former NFL players and their family members to address the issues surrounding the mental health impact of transitions and resiliency on their intimate relationships.
The Center of Excellence for Sexual Health released Promoting Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior: A Universal Curriculum for Health Professionals (2009) to provide students in the health care professions more and better sexuality and sexual health education in order to capitalize on opportunities to promote sexual health with their patients. Additionally, CESH is developing a theory- and research-based curriculum entitled Talking With Your Child About Sexuality: A Parents/Caregivers Curriculumthat expands on the National Consensus Process model which identified elements of sexual health education to guide parents and/or caregivers in fostering sustained, honest and open communication about sexuality in the household.
Chris Thrasher, MA, CSC, CSE
Sharon Rachel, MA, MPH, CSE
Associate Project Director