Please join us in recognizing and congratulating CSHP doctoral student, Mika Baugh, for being awarded the Doug Kirby Adolescent Sexual Health Research Grant from the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention for her project titled "Barriers to Quality to Sex Education for Blind and Low Vision Youth: Perspectives from Professionals in Blindness Education".
When asked to speak to the importance of her topic, Mika wrote, "Sex education is important for all students, but especially for disabled students. Considering the high rates of sexual assault, negative stereotypes, and educational barriers in this population, providing sex education is a complex and challenging, yet imperative, endeavor. This is particularly true for blind and low vision students, who are often overlooked or explicitly excluded from school-sponsored sex education instruction."
The Doug Kirby Adolescent Sexual Health Research Grant honors Dr. Doug Kirby, a renowned authority on adolescent sexual health through school and community-based programs designed to reduce sexual risk behavior among youth. The grant is awarded annually to encourage and support research conducted by emerging investigators.
With support from the Doug Kirby Adolescent Sexual Health Research Grant, Mika is conducting research which directly engages the specialized Teachers of the Blind and Low Vision (TBLVs) responsible for ensuring educational equity for blind and low vision students. Through the lens of Critical Disability Theory, this work will interrogate the norms which dictate that sex education is not a priority for this population and explore teachers' feelings about and experiences with teaching and facilitating access to sexual health material.