Sexuality encompasses diverse behaviors and meanings that are shaped by individual, social, cultural, and historical factors. From the local to the global, a significant number of public health challenges involve sexual and reproductive health: HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, access to family planning services, sex education, maternal mortality, sexual violence, and discrimination against/stigmatization of sexually non-conforming individuals. Promoting sexual and reproductive rights and agency, as well as respect for the dignity, equality, and rights of all persons, are also public health issues.
The Certificate in Sexuality, Sexual and Reproductive Health approaches sexual and reproductive health as states of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. The curriculum explores and challenges the social inequalities that have had profound effects on sexuality and health. Students can specialize as researchers or practitioners, and emerge prepared to work in agencies and organizations involved in programmatic or advocacy work, policy or evaluation research, or in direct service delivery.
Sexuality, Sexual, and Reproductive Health is open to Columbia MPH students in:
Visit the Certificates Database to learn more about core and credit requirements.
Current Issues in Sexual and Reproductive Health
In this course, students critically examine sexual health and specific sexual health issues within a global context. The first part of the course examines sexual health as a concept, the different frames of sexual health (medical, public health, feminist, human rights), the macro and micro factors that enable and/or impede sexual health, and efforts to improve sexual health in communities. The course focuses on key social factors, including culture, gender-based norms that constrain the sexual expression and health of women and men, racism, and poverty. The second part of of the course focuses on sexual health issues including sexual pleasure/desire and well-being, unintended pregnancy, non-volitional sex, and stigmatization and discrimination against sexual minorities.
Seminar on Sexuality, Gender, Health, and Human Rights
This seminar uses new scholarship on sexuality to engage with ongoing theoretical conversations and activism in human rights, gender, and health. Pressed by the increasing recognition of the importance of sexuality in a wide range of rights and advocacy work (for example, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and sexual violence), theorists and advocates alike have struggled with the complex, sometimes fluid and elusive nature of sexuality. What is this "sexuality" in need of rights and health? How does it manifest itself across a range of persons and cultures? And how can culturally and historically situated work about sexuality inform and improve legal and advocacy interventions? The seminar also turns a critical eye on recent scholarship, in light of current issues raised by policy interventions and advocacy in many countries and cultures. Finally, the seminar aims to promote dialogue and exchange between academic, activist, and advocacy work.