Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Linda Cool




cultural sensitivity, community educators, sex education, Planned Parenthood


The human service field has broadly adopted a “culturally sensitive” approach to delivering services to an increasingly diverse community. Similarly, the health care field works to provide effective care for patients that is sensitive to cultural differences and understandings. As an anthropologist, I wondered just what “culturally sensitive” means and how it is practiced by service providers. Thus, I decided to explore this concept through the lens of Planned Parenthood of the Mohawk-Hudson (PPMH), an organization that identifies itself as having a “trained, culturally sensitive” staff, As the public face in the community for Planned Parenthood, the education department and its delivery of comprehensive sex education became the natural focus of my research. This paper outlines a brief history of Planned Parenthood on a national and local level, examines public constructions of PPMH, looks at specific “culturally sensitive” training given to community educators, and analyzes actual PPMH education programs in terms of their cultural sensitivity. The findings indicate that there are certain aspects of PPMH’s education department that are “culturally sensitive”; however, from an anthropological perspective, improvements can be made, specifically in the training of educators.