AASECT Certified Educator Spotlight - Ann Conrath, MSW, CSE
AASECT Certified Educator Ann Conrath, MSW, CSE answers a few questions for the Certified Educator Spotlight:
1. Can you give me a quick rundown of what keeps you busiest these days?
Several things! I currently work with different orthopedic groups and physicians to implement a federal Medicare program for lower joint surgery. Also, I am co-director of MedSexEd St. Louis, which provides sexual health competency training for healthcare providers. We implement this training and teach at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis to third year OB/GYN clerkship students. I work in private practice as well.
2. Why was it important to you to become AASECT Certified?
AASECT certification provided an opportunity to enhance my knowledge and skill set in several areas of my professional development, including education, personal growth, and a greater understanding of fundamental components of sexuality. Also, obtaining a certification in any professional field provides a certain level of expertise, legitimacy, and credence to one’s ability to consult on a topic or perform certain tasks. Since the research and knowledge base in sexuality is arguably less than others, a certification in sexuality education is very useful and meaningful, if only to quickly gain the respect of others in different areas of study or work.
3. How has your relationship with AASECT affected your career?
AASECT is a phenomenal community of highly educated, supportive individuals that are collectively progressing the field of sexuality into more spaces and positively impacting more people. It is invaluable to have mentors and a group of folks equally passionate about this work and always willing to support me. AASECT has furthered my training through institutes and conferences as well as given me the support and confidence I need to move forward with the work I do and to implement sexuality education.
4. As a certified member, how would you like to be of service to AASECT? To your community? To promoting sexual health and sexual rights for all?
In a professional capacity, I aim to continue to participate in the AASECT community as well as promote sexuality education in medical school curricula and in the healthcare field. Healthcare providers are on the frontlines of identifying health issues related to sexuality and they have a unique opportunity to address the adverse public health issues that affect us. By educating providers’, the sexual health and sexual rights of our community members will progress.
5. What do you wish you knew when you were starting out that you know now?
It takes an immense amount of time to create an effective educational program. There is an incredible amount of information to learn about how to be an effective educator and I wish I had taken more of those skills into consideration when creating our program. Also, there are so many important aspects of sexuality to learn and it is challenging to decide what are the most important aspects to include in a one hour lecture for students. But alas, that is the beauty and purpose of supervision!
6. What do you like the most about the field at this point?
I like that the field continues to evolve in so many different areas, such as education, trauma, gender, and research that outlines the need to provide sexuality education and address sexual health in every system. Further, I like that I am a part of a field of study and community that allows space for growth, creativity, and differences of opinion.
7. Do you have any tips that might be of interest to educators, counselors and/or therapists?
The healthcare field needs us, but they do not necessarily know they need us. It is incumbent upon us to demonstrate our worth and the services we provide to patients to healthcare systems and providers. Reach out to healthcare providers to educate them on the services you provide, offer yourself as an educational resource, and encourage them to use you as a referral for patients.
8. Is there anything else you would like to share with colleagues?
MedSexed St. Louis provides sexual health competency training for health care providers and medical students. Please contact me if you are interested to learn more about our program!