I was frustrated by the serious health consequences suffered by several of my friends due to misinformation. In conjunction with my Community Service Project, required of all Point Scholars, I launched the Utah County Sexual Health Symposium, held in Provo, UT. My friend Caitlin Jolley and I decided to take it upon ourselves to address the sexual health information needs of the LGBTQ community in Utah County.
The symposium took place November 8 at the Provo Marriott Hotel. Point Foundation’s Executive Director & CEO Jorge Valencia delivered the evening’s keynote address in addition to presentations by Dr. Kevin Kapila from Fenway Health; Matthew Mietchen, an epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health; and Mormon poet and author Carol Lynn Wright Pearson. The symposium also welcomed representatives from many local community health centers, including: Planned Parenthood; Utah AIDS Foundation; Utah Pride Center; Centro Hispano; and Family Acceptance Project.
I wanted to encourage a culture of sexual responsibility in which people understand the risks their own personal sexual activity exposes them to and know how to minimize these risks as desired. To do this, we focused on presenting basic sexual health information, giving this information some emotional valence, and then connecting the Utah County LGBTQ community with their local community health organizations who could meet their needs once we were gone. Ultimately, I hope that we can save some people from life-altering tragedies moving forward.
“Like Cary, having attended school at Brigham Young University, I can attest to the importance of making information available to young people in Utah County regarding sexual health,” said Valencia. “Like Point Scholar Cary Crall, many of my friends suffered from the lack of information available. We’re very proud of Cary’s efforts. The symposium was managed beautifully, well attended and candidly informative. I have no doubt that the information presented to the attendees will help young people make well-informed decision regarding their health.”
For more photos and to download audio and slide presentations from the 2012 symposium, visit www.ucshs.org/archive.
|This post was written by Cary Crall|
|2012 Wells Fargo Point Scholar Cary Crall is a second year medical student at Harvard University, he is currently co‐president of Harvard Medical School’s LGBTQ student group, where he has initiated curriculum reform focused on improving health care disparities affecting LGBTQ people and other disadvantaged groups. Learn more about Cary.|