U of MN establishes nation's first endowed chair in sexual health


MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (May 24, 2004) -- The University of Minnesota announces the nation's first endowed chair in sexual health. The chair is part of an ongoing initiative within the University's Program in Human Sexuality to provide research, education, and patient care in this field of public health. More than 260 donors have pledged a total of more than $1 million toward the endowed chair.

Former U. S. Surgeon General David Satcher today applauded the University's commitment at a national conference on sexual health. "The University of Minnesota's endowed chair in sexual health offers an important contribution in the field of public health. By providing science-based research, I believe we can work toward promoting sexual health and responsible sexual behavior." The conference, The Call to Action on Sexual Health: Science and Belief - Seeking Common Ground, is being held today at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. In 2001, Satcher released The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior.

Also participating in today's conference is Eli Coleman, Ph.D., director of the University's Program in Human Sexuality in the Medical School's department of family practice and community health. Coleman describes the program, home to the new chair, as one of the oldest, largest, and well-recognized human sexuality centers in the country. "The Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota has been on the cutting edge of research, education, and patient care for 35 years. While Minnesotans have a tradition of modesty, we also have a tradition of strong public health informed by science and guided by principles of equity and social justice."

One of the chair's donors, Michael Ross, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.H.P.Ed., professor of public health at the University of Texas, believes the endowed chair will inspire other universities to follow suit. "The field of sexuality has become a mainstream one in psychosocial and medical research and this endowed chair, in one of the most prestigious programs in human sexuality in the world, sets the arena and the standards for other universities to follow."

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