CHSS Gets Our Own Building!!

The Center for Human Sexuality Studies CHSS) has moved into our own building!  The full-time faculty, two research scientists at the Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaborative (ISRC), two academic secretaries, and seven graduate assistants are all together in one building on Widener’s main campus in Chester, PA.  We also have a conference room for meetings, dissertation defenses, and small classes, with video cameras and a screens for interactive web conferencing.

We are located on the corner of 13th and Potter Streets, right across the street from Lathem Hall.  Feel free to stop by between 9am and 5pm and introduce yourself to the administrative secretaries, Syreita Jackson and Kathy Mitchell.  Just be aware that Widener offices are closed throughout the university on Fridays until August 11.

The Center’s USPS mailing address has stayed the same, as have our phone numbers and emails (remember all emails are now instead of Our new physical address is 501 E 13th street.

Please keep your eye out for an email about an open house we are planning to host in the fall semester.

Brent Satterly: Faculty Spotlight

Brent A. Satterly, Ph.D., LCSW, CSE, CST is an associate professor and the director of the BSW Program in Widener University’s Center for Social Work Education. He teaches as well in our program, particularly HSED 592. Dr. Satterly received his Masters of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality Education from our program when it was at the University of Pennsylvania. With over 20 years of clinical experience, He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Pennsylvania and a Certified Sexuality Educator and Sex Therapist through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).

Widener University gave Dr. Satterly the prestigious Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2016. His areas of expertise include human sexuality and social work pedagogies, clinical work with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) populations, GLBT professional identity management, and HIV/AIDS. He is well published, including his recent 2016 co-authored textbook, Sexuality Concepts for Social Workers. He is a member of good standing in AASECT, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Pennsylvania Association of Undergraduate Social Work Education (PAUSWE), and the Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors in Social Work (BPD).

Program Spotlight: CHSS in Japan

By Mark Levand

In May, 2015, Widener’s School of Human Service Professions embarked on a trip to Japan with more than 40 people. Ultimately led by Dr. Sachi Ando, a professor from Widener’s Center for Social Work Education, the Widener group participated in many different culturally informative endeavors. While three different centers were on the trip (Human Sexuality, Social Work, and Clinical Psychology) with their own respective faculty, this is a brief synopsis of what the CHSS representatives did while in Japan.

We began our trip in Tokyo. Faculty member Dr. Sabitha Pillai-Friedman and students Jessie Andre, Kayleigh Shepard, Sarah D’Andrea, and myself represented the Center for Human Sexuality Studies on this trip. After adjusting to the time difference, we were ready to get into the academic aspect of the trip–giving presentations at two different universities.

The members of the International Christian University (ICU) were gracious with their time and resources, informing us about the state of gender and sexual identity support that they offer to their student body. CHSS students were asked to give presentations on how sexuality research is conducted at Widener as well as the research into breast cancer patients and sexual self-schema led by Dr. Pillai-Friedman. After our presentations, ICU doctoral students presented some of their research to us followed by presentations given by the undergraduate students. A lively question and answer session ensued following the inspiring presentations.

Members of the University of Tokyo (UT) were equally as generous with their time and resources. After exchanging presentations with the faculty and students of UT, we embarked on a carefully planned evening of exploration into the practical application of sexual and gender identity support on the streets of Tokyo. We were given a tour of various organizations in Tokyo that act as informational resources around sexuality.

We also attended a fantastic Gender Forum at Rikkyo University where we learned about the state of gender equality (and inequality) in Japan. Afterwards, we met with a government official to hear about what was being done to address the rights and concerns of LGBT identified people. We were even fortunate enough to meet with a psychosexual therapist over lunch who informed us of the Japanese phenomenon of love hotels.

Various famous sights were visited during our stay as well—the Shibuya crossing, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo tower, and the like.

We then got a chance to travel on the bullet train to Osaka. During our time in Osaka, we visited places like Nara, Kyoto, and Hiroshima. Nara and Kyoto are known for some of the most beautiful temples and shrines in the world. We also visited Doshisha University and heard from another prominent sexual scholar about his research in Japan.

In Hiroshima, the entire Widener group was given the opportunity to walk through the various memorials and museums constructed after the detonation of the A-Bomb during WWII. We all listened to a moving story of one woman’s experience of nuclear warfare and the devastation the bomb brought on people and the environment. We were then able to attend an assisted living facility specifically for survivors of the Atomic Bomb. Here we heard more stories of the heartbreak and havoc brought on by the nuclear disaster.

Amidst all of this business, scholarship, sightseeing, and leisure time, we were often reminded of the importance of code switching. In many fields, code switching is the concept of how to appropriate the specialized language and content about your field for a general audience. Computer technicians may experience this when they put technical jargon into words that the average person may understand and find useful. In sexuality, we may speak about content differently in various settings: in class, with peers or colleagues, with our families, with different groups to which we may present, or clients we may have in therapy. As human sexuality professionals, we must often navigate a complex landscape for code switching at the intersection of sensitivity around sexual issues, cultural nuances and expectations, lived physical realities (gender, race, etc.), and power dynamics around sexual information. This trip allowed us to practice code switching within our group from Widener (with social work and clinical psychology representatives) as well as cross-cultural code switching–code switching for an audience with culturally (U.S.) American ideologies around sexuality to those with Japanese ideologies.

Overall, this course has been an incredible experience offering a complex view of sexuality across different cultures. The ways in which different cultures deal with sexuality are truly amazing and quite unique. We were given information that would have been difficult or impossible to acquire while on a similar trip with a different group. Sexuality is not a specific U.S. experience. Other countries and cultures have addressed issues around sexuality in different ways. It appears that there still remains many things the U.S. culture can learn from others.

Linda Hawkins: Faculty/Alumni Spotlight

Dr. Linda Hawkins has been a champion for Transgender and Gender Expansive children and youth for nearly two decades. She received her Ph.D. from CHSS, and teaches here as an adjunct instructor. In January, 2014, Dr. Hawkins co-founded the Gender & Sexuality Development Clinic at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). To date, the clinic has supported over 500 families from Virginia to New York, and supporting all of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Dr. Hawkins recently shared about her work: Our work since last November has become increasingly political and policy related to assure the safety, health and well-being of our patients and their families. In the first few weeks following the November election, we organized a law clinic where a dozen lawyers from throughout Philadelphia came to offer pro bono legal support to our families.

We have also partnered with the Policy Lab at CHOP to create further efforts for change,  The White House recently walked back protections for transgender students that allowed them to use school restrooms corresponding to their gender identify. This type of “bathroom policing” can have serious health consequences for transgender students and can lead to the development of unhealthy and disordered eating patterns, urinary tract infections or gastrointestinal distress. Furthermore, when transgender individuals don’t receive needed medical and mental health services, rates of attempted suicide can be as high as 40 percent.

In a their blog post, PolicyLab researchers and members of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic Nadia Dowshen, MD, MSHP, Linda Hawkins, PhD, MSEd, LPC, Susan Lee, MPH, and Siobhan Gruschow, MPH, MEd, detailed the transgender student protections removed, as well as actions across the country that are further threatening these protections. For example, in just the first two months of 2017, 14 states have introduced legislation to impose similar bathroom policies on transgender individuals.

As new health policy issues arise across the country, PolicyLab researchers continue building evidence-based solutions to address and inform how to protect children, adolescents and families. We invite you to read our latest blog posts related to this work (previewed below) and continue to engage with us as we navigate the landscape of issues that impact patients and families.