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Perseverance in Sexual & Reproductive Health: Pioneers Led Us Here

Perseverance in Sexual & Reproductive Health: Pioneers Led Us Here

By Debra Christopher, MSM | September 25, 2018
Ambassador for Health and Learning, ETR

Last month, I stayed in the tiny village of Bennington, VT. I happened upon the tiny, cozy village bookstore and, of course, wandered in. (Stay with me. It is worth it.)

I picked up a book titled Scratchings, written by the "Scribble Sisters." This is a group of 11 women who took a writing class, and then spent a year exploring their pasts and writing about their reflections.

So that is a whole other cool story, but here is my reason for sharing this experience with you. One of the 11 authors uncovered the profound life-path of her great-great aunt, Sarah Hibbard, who died more than 100 years ago. Against all odds, Sarah became a physician (in 1870). She proceeded to excel, persevere and speak her mind. She was even featured in an article written by Susan B. Anthony.

What I fell in love with is this passage that Sarah Hibbard wrote about sex education:

Some people seem to fear the results to our young America if they teach the useful study of Anatomy and Physiology Simplified in our schools. But they need not, for our young America are of the steel and metal, that cannot be kept in ignorance, and if we, their betters, are ashamed to teach them the truth and teach it truly then they will learn the Error for themselves and let the Truth go to the dogs.

—Sarah H. Hibbard, MD 1838-1883

Thank you to the courageous pioneers who acted on their belief that our “young America” have the right and the capacity to be taught the truth! For those of us in the sexual and reproductive health world, this is reflective of our current message, our science and our missions. The work continues...

Debra Christopher, MSM, is Ambassador for Health and Learning at ETR. She is a nationally recognized professional development consultant specializing in the neuroscience link to learning. She can be reached at

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