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Last modified: Thursday, September 27, 2007

$1 million grant broadens scope of sexual health research at Indiana University

Sept. 27, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Sexual health researchers at Indiana University Bloomington plan to dramatically expand the scope of their work through the new Center for Sexual Health Promotion.

Applied Health Science Sex Researchers

Brian Dodge (left), Debby Herbenick and Michael Reece

Print-Quality Photo

The Patty Brisben Foundation provided core support for the new center through a $1 million research grant to Michael Reece and Debby Herbenick, both sexual health experts in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

The new center reflects the growth and evolution of the Sexual Health Research Working Group, founded five years ago by Reece, who will serve as director of the new center.

"The center offers a comprehensive and coordinated effort to facilitate partnerships between various researchers and clinicians to advance sexual health research, education, and training, not just at IU but across the globe," said Reece, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Health Science.

The center will hold its inaugural event on Oct. 22 when it hosts the 2007 Indiana Sexual Health Summit. This event will bring together sexual health leaders from across the state of Indiana to discuss and debate more participatory approaches to research, education and practice in the area of sexual health. For more information about the summit, visit the center's Web site at

Reece said the Cincinnati-based Patty Brisben Foundation has provided more than $1.3 million in funding to support sexual health research and education projects at IU since 2004, with this new grant providing core support for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion through 2013.

"As a foundation, they have been committed to facilitating more holistic and comprehensive approaches to sexual health research and education," said Herbenick, who will serve as one of the associate directors of the new center. "They have long been impressed with the vast resources at IU that are focused on sexuality and wanted to play a role in creating a new center that was focused exclusively on the health-related aspects of sexuality."

The center enhances the Bloomington campus' role as a leader in sexual health research. IUB is home of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, now celebrating its 60th anniversary; the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, located in HPER; and a Department of Gender Studies that offers the country's first doctorate in gender studies. The highly regarded Midwest Center for STD Research is located nearby at the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

"The new center and its partners at IU are shining examples of why students and scholars from around the world flock to IU to conduct work related to sexual health," said Brian Dodge, associate director of the new center.

For more information, contact Reece at 812-855-0068 and