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Comprehensive Sex Education for Refugee and Immigrant Elementary (4-6th) School Students

The goal of this project is to pilot a Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) for late elementary school students of refugee and immigrant backgrounds. CSE is defined by the United Nations Population Fund as giving young people access to information “to protect their health, well-being and dignity” and it is part of a human-rights approach to education. That includes giving young people information about consent, gender, sexuality, how their bodies work, and their health, to allow them autonomy to make decisions about their future. This is a partnership between the School of Medicine, the School for Social and Cultural Transformation, and a community partner (Sunnyvale Community Center). The partnership fulfills the campus-wide goals of engaging the university and the broader community in a dialogue that leads to positive growth for all involved. It also seeks to provide students with the opportunity to build a sense of community and belonging on campus and outside its boundaries. Furthermore, it works towards moving knowledge produced on campus into the community and strengthens the relationship between underserved populations and health service providers in the University system. The success of the pilot will provide the footprint to the development of youth curriculum and guidelines to train educators and health professionals who work in direct contact with these populations.

Current Status

The Comprehensive Sex Education for Refugee and Immigrant Elementary Students program was conceptualized as a 16-week arts-based pilot program, however, it grew to be much more. This project exemplifies the vision of the One U for Utah because it benefited the main campus, the health campus, and the community at large. In the main campus, the project created an opportunity for an undergraduate student to develop a research project, and it also generated a new class offer at the Division of Gender Studies. In the health campus, the partnership with the Sunnyvale Neighborhood Center provided the opportunity for first-, second-, and third-year residents to engage with the community in an informal setting. Residents taught sessions in the original 16-week program, in the Spring of 2021, and are already slated to teach at the center again this Fall. For the community partner, the data from the project was been used to secured funding for the coming years. Lastly, the program provided youth with invaluable information about sexual health, which was assessed through surveys, interviews, materials produced by the students, recording, and field notes. The results of the project are being presented at a professional conference and will be submitted for publication.


Ana Carolina Antunes
School of Cultural and Social Transformation
Gender Studies
Project Owner

Bethany Everett
College of Social and Behavioral Science

Nicole Mihalopoulos
School of Medicine

Project Info

Funded Project Amount

sex education, refugee, immigrant, youth, K-6, education, maturation, puberty, gender identity, sexuality, gender

Project Status
Funded 2020

View poster (pdf)
Last Updated: 12/7/22