Students ask anonymous health questions during class meetings


Gray Timberlake

Family practice physician Rebecca McEntee answers an anonymous question during class meetings. Juniors and seniors had a combined discussion with McEntee in the Center.

Gray Timberlake, Senior Reporter

WEB EXCLUSIVE Health professionals led conversations split by grades during class meetings last week about various health-related topics.

Students had the opportunity to write down anonymous questions on notecards that were collected and answered out loud by the health professional leading their discussion.

Family practice physician Rebecca McEntee talked to the juniors and seniors about confidentiality and reminded students that doctors are safe people to talk to and will keep their conversations confidential.

“I think it’s important to know that everything from questions about birth control or sex, to questions about sexuality or gender identity, is confidential,” McEntee said. “As long as there is no risk of harm to yourself or harm to someone else, your doctor cannot and will not discuss your conversations.”

No guidelines were given for the topics of questions, and McEntee answered questions about many health-related subjects, from drugs and alcohol to birth control methods. The conversation was collaborative with the students and McEntee and teachers were asked not to be present to create a safer environment for students, according to junior Lila Horowitz.

“It is really important for girls who grow up thinking that sex and health should not be talked about to have a conversation together,” Horowitz said. “The more independent we become as young women, the more we need to learn how to take care of ourselves and I think the first step is the type of group education we had in today’s  discussion.”

Freshmen had a similar discussion in the Williams Library with Athletic Trainer and Campus Health Professional Justine Li.

“It was a very comfortable environment and I feel like everyone could really ask serious questions,” freshman Finley Simon said. “I learned a lot and I think my classmates did too. I think it is important that we talk about health.”

There will be an opportunity for any unanswered questions to be addressed by the health professionals, according to counsellor Annie Egan. However, student’s personal doctors are resources for further questions, according to McEntee.  

“Always talk to your doctor when you have questions or you can email questions to Planned Parenthood,” McEntee said. “The most common things we talk about are myths around birth control or myths related to sex. You can Google things, but anybody can put anything on the internet, so make sure the source is a reliable medical institution or clinic.”

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