We’re thrilled to announce the addition of former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, to our closing keynote plenary. Alongside noted journalist, Lara Riscol, and therapist and international best-selling author, Esther Perel, Dr. Elders, will continue her lifelong mission of changing the sexual status quo and progressing the conversations we have about sex in America beyond the smut and sanctimony rhetoric that stagnates our growth and puts our health at risk.
From early in her career, Dr. Elders focused on advocating for adolescents, including assisting her patients in determining proper birth control and family planning. Appointed by then Governor William Clinton as head of the Arkansas Department of Health in 1987, Dr. Elders stirred up controversy with religious and conservative groups, as she successfully established a K-12 curriculum that included sex education, substance-abuse prevention, and programs to promote self-esteem in 1989.
President Clinton appointed Dr. Elders U.S. Surgeon General in 1993. In 1994, at the United Nations conference on AIDS, Dr. Elders was asked whether masturbation might be successful in preventing riskier sexual practices. She replied, ”I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.” This statement stirred up a storm of controversy that led to her removal from office. Dr. Elders continues to believe that change can only be achieved when those in positions of authority can get people to listen and talk about difficult issues.
Since leaving office in 1995, she has remained a prominent figure in the public discourse around human sexuality and has been a champion for comprehensive sexuality education, reproductive rights, and sexual rights. Dr. Elders is currently teaming up with the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School to advance comprehensive science-based sexual health education. You can help support her efforts to continue to advance sexual health education by making a contribution online.
Because of the late addition of Dr. Elders to our closing plenary, we have extended the regular registration fee of $100 until March 10th. After March 10th, registration will be $150.
Last year, registration sold out in advance of the conference, and we are on target to sell out again this year. We will NOT be selling tickets at the conference, so if you’re planning on attending, please try and get your tickets early and at the lower price!