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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

BU Professor Selected to Speak at TEDMED Stage Program

In 2016, Dr. Emily Rothman community health sciences professor at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), co-designed a pornography literacy curriculum pilot for teenagers in part because “people are tired of the idea that the only way of thinking about teenagers and pornography is that porn should be banned.” This November, Dr. Rothman will speak about the genesis of the curriculum at TEDMED 2018, the health and medicine edition of the acclaimed TED Conference.

The annual program will take place in Palm Springs, California, from November 14 to 16.

Dr. Rothman will join a select lineup of scholars, thought leaders, researchers, physicians, designers, policy makers, artists, and engineers, whose talks and presentations will help generate new ideas and action to advance public health and science.

Dr. Rothman will share insight on the creation of—and public health need for—a 10-session pornography literacy curriculum, formally titled The Truth About Pornography: A Pornography Literacy Curriculum for High School Students Designed to Reduce Sexual and Dating Violence. The curriculum does not advance the idea that all pornography is innately harmful to all young people in all contexts. Instead, it encourages youth to become more critical consumers of pornography. The pornography literacy curriculum was subjected to an evaluation which was carried out with help from BUSPH master’s degree students. The results were published in the American Journal of Sexuality Education. The curriculum also won the attention of a New York Times Magazine reporter, and in 2018 was featured in the magazine’s article about adolescents’ exposure to pornography.

“The stance that we take is new for the field because we reflect the scientific literature, which has both positive and negative findings about the impact of pornography on people,” Dr. Rothman says. “It really depends on who you are, what you’re watching, how often, and what the context is.”

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