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Christchurch medical students go to prison in innovative assignment

Christchurch campus

Thursday 1 October 2015 9:04am

Jen Desrosiers
Jen Desrosiers

The University of Otago, Christchurch’s Population Health Department has developed an innovative programme where medical students write and perform songs about public health topics such as sexual health to at-risk groups.

The latest group to participate in the programme were fourth year students who visited the Christchurch Men’s Prison youth unit to run an interactive safer sex education session. It included songs and dances they created.

The unusual but very successful module named ‘Sex, Bugs and Rock’n’Roll’, was developed by Department of Population Health staff members with help from haematologist and ‘singing lecturer’ Dr Sean Macpherson.

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 some of the student’s performances

For further information, contact:

Kim Thomas
Communication Manager
University of Otago, Christchurch
Tel 64 27 222 6016

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