by Orlando Perez, CFLE Male Health Educator
The Male Health Educator Training Institute is an annual intensive week-long seminar sponsored by the Federal Office of Family Planning in Washington, DC, to support the continuing commitment to male reproductive health. The Institute is designed to provide health educators across the nation with a comprehensive knowledge of reproductive health, family planning, and health education competencies. The goal is to enable health educators to work more effectively with male clients in family planning programs and clinics. In 2010, the Institute was held in Chicago, Illinois, where the Institute presented two training modules each day with some of the most renowned and influential national and international trainers in the field of reproductive and sexual health!
It was amazing to meet and network with 30 health educators from across the country (as far away as Alaska) and the unique experiences each one brought to the training. The educational sessions included an overview of men’s health, fatherhood, sexual development and reproductive health, family planning, intimate partner violence, cultural competencies, and relationship communication, among many more. Though the workshops were intense, facilitators educated with a flair and passion that validated the reason why I chose to work in this professional realm.
I was like a “kid in a candy store,” wanting more with each presentation, and I asked many questions to see how all this new information could be used while educating PPGNNJ clients in individual and group sessions! By the end of the five-day Training Institute, I completed a program that not only will benefit the sessions that I facilitate, but will put into perspective the importance of male health responsibility, as well as each client’s future family planning.