Many researchers work tirelessly throughout their careers, hoping to be recognized for an important contribution to their field of study.
While few ever receive the honors they dream of, one University professor recently received an award that exceeded even his own expectations of success.
Dr. Eli Coleman, University professor and world-renowned expert in issues of human sexuality, was awarded the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the field of sexology Nov. 12 in Orlando, Fla.
Coleman has been working in the field of sexology for more than 20 years and is one of the most highly regarded experts on issues of sexual orientation, gender dysphoria, chemical dependency, compulsive sexual behavior and sexual offenders.
“I was in disbelief (to receive the award). Just to be in the company of the kind of people that have received this award before … I was stunned,” Coleman said.
The award was presented by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, an international organization that dedicates itself to the advancement and exploration of sexuality issues.
Each year an SSSS committee board nominates several candidates to receive the award, which is then given to one individual.
“Eli Coleman was selected for his years of service to the nation in the field of sexology,” said David Fleming, SSSS executive director.
“He is one of the premier researchers in the nation and very deserving of this award,” he said.
Coleman is the current president of the World Association for Sexology and the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association. He also serves as editor for the Journal of Psychology of Human Sexuality and the International Journal of Transgenderism.
“As a psychologist, I was very aware of sexual problems and the little amount of scientific literature (about them),” Coleman said.
“It was a great new territory to explore. I’ve been able to improve treatment and to see that spread around the world is very gratifying,” he added.
While at the University, Coleman counsels patients, conducts research and teaches workshops and seminars in sexuality.
“He’s delightful to work with,” said Walter Bockting, coordinator of transgender services at the Program in Human Sexuality.
“He’s a team player and what he contributes is always very eye-opening. He’s done ground-breaking work and his broad understanding of human sexuality has really influenced my work,” Bockting said.
Coleman also heads the Program in Human Sexuality at the University — a program he hopes will continue in a positive direction.
“Our program has been a leader in the field for 30 years … Our faculty is being called upon to address many issues and we’re continually viewed as an important resource,” Coleman said.
Along with his other affiliations, Coleman is currently involved with the World Health Organization in an effort to create an international sexual health recommendation which will develop a strategy for dealing with sexual health problems.
Coleman hopes international exposure to issues in sexual health will create an awareness of current existing problems and also give the field of sexology an opportunity to grow.
“Sexology is an interdisciplinary study and I’m hoping it will have more of an impact on public policy and promote a sexually healthier world,” Coleman said.
Melinda Rogers welcomes comments at [email protected]