KCUR: Sex Education on Stage, in Schools

AIDS education project
Philip Hansen educates about AIDS. Image courtesy the Coterie Theatre.

UMKC partnered with Coterie for AIDS education project

Listen to the story here.

Ten years ago, the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy partnered with the Coterie Theatre to design what was then called the Dramatic AIDS Education Project. In honor of the project’s ten-year anniversary, the Coterie Theatre is showing “Spring Awakening,” a rock musical about sex and sexuality. KCUR-FM covered the story.

At the start of the Dramatic AIDS Education Project, a local playwright was asked to write a script for the Coterie Theatre that would educate young people about HIV/AIDS, and encourage them to practice abstinence.

To this day, the format for the project’s 30-minute presentations has remained consistent. A male and a female stand before a slide show and talk about their characters’ feelings about and mistakes regarding sex and sexuality. One of the performers is always an actor, and one a medical student.

Julie Banderas, professor of medicine at UMKC, is one of the project’s co-directors and responsible for recruiting the med students.

“This project speaks to them because they’re interested in reaching out to adolescents and telling them things they wish they’d known. They all talk about how it’s changed their lives,” Banderas told KCUR’s Steve Walker.

KCUR 89.3 FM, part of the National Public Radio’s digital network, is licensed by UMKC.

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