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Sexuality-religion issues get Morehouse focus

ATLANTA – Morehouse School of Medicine on Wednesday (May 30) announced the creation of an endowed academic chair devoted to issues related to sexuality and religion.

The Marta S. Weeks and David E. Richards Endowed Chair in Sexuality and Religion will develop innovative health and pastoral services as well as teaching, research and public leadership related to issues that bridge the topics of sexuality, religion and medicine.

"Through this unique chair, Morehouse School of Medicine will provide national and international leadership addressing the challenges of sexuality and sexual health in the worlds of medicine and religion," said David Satcher, M.D. Ph.D., 16th Surgeon General of the United States and founder of Morehouse School of Medicine's Satcher Health Leadership Institute and its Center of Excellence for Sexual Health.

The Marta S. Weeks and David E. Richards Endowed Chair in Sexuality and Religion represents more than a decade of work by Satcher, who in 2001 released the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior. That document outlined a framework of initiatives to strengthen the national dialogue on sexual health. It recognized that sexuality and religion are deeply connected in the United States and that public health would benefit from coordinated efforts of leaders in public health and religion as well as other major constituencies with deeply held beliefs relating to sexuality.

"While the chair will address sexual health issues in all communities, it will place a particular emphasis on underserved populations, which is integral to Morehouse School of Medicine's mission," said Satcher.

"The continuing disparities in access to quality health care services for minorities, poor people, and other disadvantaged groups results in a weakened public health infrastructure, which ultimately affects everyone."

The endowed chair will focus its efforts on:

Teaching sexuality and sexual health topics to current theological and medical students;

Training the next generation of religious and healthcare leaders to meet the sexual health challenges of both disciplines;

Bringing together leaders of constituency organizations that have diverse viewpoints for consultations and consensus-building;

Research directed toward documenting and suggesting ways to overcome disparities in sexual health with a special focus on underserved communities.

(For more information on Morehouse School of Medicine and the institution's latest endowed chair in sexuality and religion, please visit www.msm.edu.)

Source: PR Newswire

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