First impressions: what are preclinical medical students in the US and Canada learning about sexual and reproductive health?

Contraception. 2009 Jul;80(1):74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2008.12.015. Epub 2009 Mar 31.


Background: This study evaluates the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) topics in preclinical US and Canadian medical education.

Study design: Between 2002 and 2005, we sent surveys to the student coordinators of active Medical Students for Choice chapters at 122 US and Canadian medical schools. Students reported on the preclinical curricular inclusion of 50 specific SRH topics in the broad categories of pregnancy, contraception, infertility, elective abortion, ethical and social issues, and other topics.

Results: We received 77 completed surveys, for an overall response rate of 63%. Coverage of pregnancy physiology and STIs/HIV was uniformly high. In contrast, inclusion of contraceptive methods and elective abortion procedures greatly varied by subtopic and geographic region. Thirty-three percent of respondents reported no coverage of elective abortion-related topics.

Conclusions: Inclusion of contraception and elective abortion in preclinical medical school courses varies widely. As critical components of women's lives and health, we recommend that medical schools work to integrate comprehensive family planning content into their standard curricula.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / education*
  • Canada
  • Contraception*
  • Counseling / education
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Reproduction
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Sex Education
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Students, Medical
  • Sulfones
  • Time Factors
  • United States


  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Sildenafil Citrate