Sex Workers as Medical Student Educators
Medical trainees often are told their patients are their best teachers. They are told one of the best ways to learn is to spend time with their patients; however, when patients are utilized as educators, often only the most eloquent and educated patients are selected. Sex workers who live with addiction and mental illness are not typically viewed as potential educators of medical trainees, but internationally, sex workers have been used as peer educators with great success [1, 2]. Using mental health consumers as educators not only benefits these populations but also has been shown to benefit health-care professionals learning from them . Taking these educational successes into consideration, Women Leading Healthy Change (WLHC) was created with a two-pronged mission to both empower sex workers, with co-occurring mental illness and substance dependence, and to teach medical students.
We acknowledge the support of the following people: Melissa Delbello, MD, University of Cincinnati; Sidney Zisook, MD, University of California, San Diego; and David Folsom, MD, University of California, San Diego. This project was funded by American Psychiatric Foundation 2011 Helping Hands grant.
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.