13th September 2022: A new nationwide education programme ‘Debunking The Myths: The Science Behind Our Sexual Health’ has been launched by the RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in collaboration with The Rotunda Hospital. The project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland under the Discover Programme.

In the current climate, it can be challenging for teenagers to find reliable sources of information about sexual and reproductive health. Many teenagers are learning about their bodies from film, television and social media, which often show images that help perpetuate myths and unrealistic body standards.

With this in mind, the ‘Debunking The Myths’ programme was designed to help teenagers learn more about these topics by stimulating open discussion and curiosity while providing clear and reliable information in a non-biased and non-judgemental way. Workshops will be delivered by Obstetric and Gynaecology consultants and midwives based at the Rotunda Hospital in conjunction with Infectious Disease and Emergency Medicine specialists, GPs and psychologists. Topics include information directly in line with the government’s Women's Health Action Plan 2022-2023 and the RSE curriculum, including the HPV vaccine, contraception, menstruation, STI prevention and fertility.

With the support of Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme and The Rotunda Foundation, from October 2022 – March 2023 over 4,000 transition year students from 52 schools in 20 counties across Ireland will have the opportunity to attend these expert-led workshops both in-person and virtually.

Professor Fergal Malone, programme lead at ‘Debunking the Myths’ and Master of the Rotunda Hospital said: “The launch of Debunking the Myths is a very exciting time for us all at the RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and we are delighted to have over 4,000 students registered so far. The ability for our experts to engage with young people virtually has revolutionised the programme and allows us to offer this programme to schools beyond Dublin. Young people are more online than ever, and we need to ensure that the information they receive is factual, relevant, and most of all, safe.”

The first phase of the project will conclude in April 2023 with a livestream workshop. Visit www.debunkingthemyths.ie  or email debunkingthemyths@rcsi.ie for more information.