UCEDD at OHSU Supporting Oregonians with I/DD through Sexual Health Trainings (OR UCEDD)

May 1, 2018

The University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon has been breaking new ground in sexual and reproductive health education for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Recently collected data from the Oregon Healthy Teens Survey tells us that youth with disabilities, when compared to peers without disabilities, are sexually active at earlier ages, are less likely to engage in safe sex practices, and are at a higher risk for pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, they are more than twice as likely to experience sexual coercion, assault, and abuse. Despite their greater health risks, youth with I/DD are often excluded from general education opportunities related to sexuality and reproductive health. While their minds and bodies often stumble through the same questions and desires as all youth during a tumultuous time in the journey of life, this education topic is not always considered necessary for these individuals.

Beyond necessity, the UCEDD at OHSU is focused on expanding access to sexual health information that is holistic, person-centered, and rights-based through partnerships and projects. Two pilot trainings for over 150 I/DD professionals across the state focused on skill-building to support the sexual health of people with I/DD. The UCEDD at OHSU is also a partner in the Sexual Health Equity for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (SHEIDD) project of Multnomah County, which has developed a number of activities including trainings, information resources, and curriculum review. An upcoming AUCD Webinar will feature the SHEIDD Project on May 25th. The momentum from these projects is the foundation for a formalized program elevating this important aspect of health for individuals with I/DD. The UCEDD at OHSU seeks to create comprehensive resources and training so that people with I/DD are no longer left behind in achieving optimal health. For more information, contact Lindsay Sauve at [email protected].