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Medical students go to prison

Innovative public health teaching approach

Medical students from the University of Otago's Christchurch campus are sharing safe sex messages through song with prison inmates.

A group of fourth year students recently visited Christchurch Men's Prison youth unit to run an interactive safer sex education session. It included songs and dances they created.

The innovative assignment, named ‘Sex Bugs and Rock’n’Roll’, was developed by the Department of Population Health with help from haematologist and ‘singing lecturer’ Dr Sean Macpherson.

Using music to reach at-risk groups

The recent session was the fifth time Christchurch medical students have visited prisons.

Fifth and fourth year student groups have been to Christchurch Women’s Prison, and also performed for city road workers, bar patrons, young parents, and students in alternate education.

Population Health department senior lecturer Jen Desrosiers says the project has allowed meaningful interactions between students and inmates that their feedback suggests helps both groups feel more comfortable talking about sexual health issues.

She says collaborations with the Canterbury District Health Board and Corrections have been essential to the project’s success.

Watch videos of the students performances