The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


Breaking Barriers Surrounding Sexual Health on Campus


Amidst the bustling student activity on Dillard University’s campus, there’s an emerging but determined group working to break down barriers surrounding sexual health.

Oyinloluwa “Abbi” Akande, a senior nursing major from Fresno, California, has taken on the job as a student intern for Planned Parenthood and president of Planned Parenthood Next Generation, a subsection of Planned Parenthood operating on campuses nationwide. The subsection is aimed at offering comprehensive sexual health resources and information.

Charged with ensuring the organization’s charter and structuring its operations, Akande hopes to foster open dialogue and provide vital resources for sexual health, such as sexually transmitted infection testing, contraceptives, and more. The organization officially established its chapter on campus at the beginning of spring 2024.

Akande felt it was important to get involved with Planned Parenthood as she believes there are deeper implications for her advocacy.

“As a nursing student, I went into this field to address some of the health disadvantages that black women face. Being an intern for this organization has given me an opportunity to see these issues even more in this area,” Akande said.

With these racial disparities, some, like Dr. Michelle R. Smith, would say that Dillard University’s identity as a historically black university has a unique potential to address these concerns. Dr. Smith is the director of the Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center at the university and according to her, Dillard helps to reduce these disparities through education and resources tailored to the needs of the Black community.

“We can play a pivotal role in fostering culturally competent education, research, and outreach initiatives that directly resonate with the needs faced by minority populations, contributing significantly to the pursuit of health equity. A perfect example of our outreach is the recent grant that the Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center received from Power to Decide, which is an organization to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy, to promote the reproductive well-being of Black people and families in Greater New Orleans, regardless of pregnancy intention,” said Dr. Smith.

With the organization finally up and running after a long process to chartership, the battle continues as the president of the organization works against what she believes is a stigma present around sexual health.

“It kind of reflects the world we live in. For men, it’s something to be bragged about. For women, it’s something to be ashamed of,” Akande said, speaking about her perception of the campus’s current culture around sexual health. Therefore, Akande’s central goal for P.P. Next Gen is to destigmatize conversations around sexual health on campus. She feels the stigma leads to an increase in rates of STIs and unwanted pregnancies due to misinformation.

“I find that when I’m having conversations with people, they’ve just been informed about the wrong things. Mostly, my goal is to have that conversation that it’s their prerogative to do what they do but give them helpful information as there is a lot of misinformation on this campus about how to prevent pregnancy and how to prevent STIs,” said Akande.

As P.P. Next Gen prepares for its first general body meeting and Akande prepares for graduation, she remains adamant about her mission.

“I would hope that it would continue to expand. So, I would like for sexual protection, like Plan B, to be readily available on campus. I would like women to be able to have conversations about things like abortion without that continuous stigma. Overall, I would like everyone, from students to administration, to be more invested in this because I wouldn’t want it to fizzle out after I leave” said Akande.

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