Healthy Sexuality Course Offered Next Week in Dillingham

May 7, 2014

Two-day course will focus on communication between teens and parents about healthy sexuality, pregnancy, STDs, and more.

DILLINGHAM: Next week the Bristol Bay Native Association is sponsoring a two day course about how to discuss issues of healthy sexuality in the home.

The course can be taken for credit, but also is open to anyone who would like to learn more about, and practice, the delicate art of having “the talk” with teenagers. The hope is to address the high number of unplanned teen pregnancies in the area.

"Nationwide, unintended pregnancy, or teen pregnancy, is around, I believe 25 per 1000 teens. And our rate in rate in rural Alaska is around twice that," said Rachel Muir, a public health nurse in Dillingham and an assistant nursing professor at UAA. "The idea is to make sure that teens can get good information from a parent, from a teacher, or from any advocate they trust."

Muir said that teens can and often do make great parents, but that it’s also a very stressful undertaking that works best when planned for.

According to Planned Parenthood, which is presenting the program, teens rank their parents as the number one influence on their sexual decision making.

"A major focus of this course is letting parents know that their teens want to hear from them," said Muir. "Some parents say that they didn't get good education around sexuality and don't know how to bring up the topic. So the intention is to create a safe space for those parents and families so they can talk now about what they didn't get to talk about, and create ways to talk more often with their teens."

The two day course is open to anyone who would like to attend, and may be counted as continuing education credit for teachers and others. It takes place next Wednesday and Thursday, May 15-16 from 9 - 4:30.  

An additional two hour parent workshop called “Parents are Talking” is also being offered to parents of any age. That happens Wednesday May 15 from 6-9pm at the Senior Center.  

Contact Marlene Andrews at BBNA to sign up or get more details.   (907) 842-2262 or mandrews@bbna.com