With Dr David Satcher

Dr David Satcher was the nation’s Surgeon General during the Clinton administration and is now at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta where he heads the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the Center of Excellence for Sexual Health. In 2001 Dr Satcher issued a remarkable Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior. This Call to Action recognized that sexuality and religion are profoundly intertwined in the U.S. Religious institutions are critical to public understanding of sexuality and sexual health and how these things are essential to a person’s mental, spiritual, physical and relational health. We are not a sexually mature nation. This is partly why 19 million Americans annually are infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STD); 1 In 4 teenagers have an STD which can lead to grave complications and infertility; 1.1 million are infected with HIV; 1 in 4 teenagers are victims of sexual abuse.

I know from personal experience over the past 16 years working in Georgia through my organization, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP), that adults are not trained in these matters. Parents, ministers, teachers, rabbis, the very adults youngsters should be able to go to for guidance and answers to questions about sexuality, are clueless for the most part.

With Reverend Bill Stayton

My friend, Baptist minister Rev Bill Stayton, was unable to answer the complex questions about sexuality that his parishioners asked him and so —early in his ministry–he did something very unusual for a minister, he became a therapist in family life and sex education and was a founder of The Center for Religion and Sexuality. Several years ago, Dr Satcher invited Rev Stayton to move the Institute to Morehouse School of Medicine.

Bill Stayton and me with Dr Linda Mona who works with veterans

Last night’s fundraiser was to support the endowed Chair in Sexuality and Religion at Morehouse, a position that will provide national and international leadership for sexual health and religion. There were many fascinating people who toil in this same vineyard: a catholic priest, a rabbi, sex therapists, teachers, politicians. Dr Linda Mona, for instance, is a clinical psychologist for the Department of Veteran Affairs at the Long Beach VA hospital. She provides services for the Spinal Cord Injury Service and told me that a good part of her work addresses issues of sexual dysfunction experienced by returning veterans. I was proud when she told me how useful my film, “Coming Home,” is in her work with veterans. James Griffin Jr, also at Morehouse School of Medicine, was there and commented on the fine program created by the Jane Fonda Center, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to stop dating violence. If you are interested in knowing more about all the amazing programs, trainings and curricula we have created, I encourage you to look at the Jane Fonda Center website which you can access on the front page of this blog or by clicking here. And, check out G-CAPP’s website. We are working in school districts in many parts of Georgia helping schools choose the appropriate health and sexuality curricula for their needs and training teachers in how to present these curricula. G-CAPP is the non-profit that will benefit from The First Annual World Fitness Day on May 1st.

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