May 29, 2015 —Summary of "Sex-Ed in the Summer: Can One Day Change Providers' Beliefs and Practices?" Hill et al., Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology, 2015.
"The adolescent population in the Delaware Valley area has some of the highest rates of sexual activity, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy amongst adolescents in the United States," and the area also faces a "shortage of adolescent medicine specialists and pediatric and adolescent gynecologists to provide care for this high risk population," Samantha Hill, from the Department of Pediatrics at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University/Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, and colleagues wrote.
In the study, the researchers "assess[ed] the change in clinical practice in issues surrounding adolescent patients using pre and post conference surveys in a multidisciplinary group of health care providers after attending a conference on adolescent reproductive health."
According to the researchers, physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers and medical students participated in the study. The participants, all attendees at a conference on adolescent reproductive health, were asked to "complet[e] anonymous electronic pre and post-conference surveys."
The researchers wrote that "twenty-three participants (40%) completed the pre-conference survey and twenty-nine participants (51%) completed the post-conference survey." The survey featured 32 questions addressing "demographics, sexually transmitted infections, contraception, lesbian/gay/bisexual transgender (LGBT) health, human trafficking, male reproductive health, confidentiality, and the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine."
Hall and colleagues found that "the conference had the most impact on knowledge concerning medical professionals' approach with the LGBT issues." Specifically, the survey showed that after the conference individuals were:
~ "28 times ... more likely to recognize the importance of asking about sexual orientation";
~ "14 times ... more likely to report feeling aware of specific health issues that affect LGBT youth";
~ "11 times ... more likely to recognize the importance of having resources readily available to that patient population"; and
~ "10 times ... more likely to feel comfortable talking with patients about their sexual orientation."
"This study illustrated that some healthcare providers in the Delaware Valley are not informed of or comfortable addressing common adolescent reproductive health care problems especially those pertaining to [the] LGBT community," the authors write.
However, they note that the study also found "that a one-day conference can equip healthcare providers with information and tools they can use in their respective disciplines to increase their knowledge concerning their approach to LGBT health."