Dr. Shannon Dowler is using the power of rap music to get a very serious message across to people of all ages. The Asheville, N.C. family physician writes and raps while her sons runs the camera, lights and audio. Their work is used in presentations at clinics, schools, even before church youth groups.
As a medical student, Dr. Dowler noticed too many young people getting STDs. She wanted to bridge what she saw as an educational gap, with something teens could better relate to and rap music was that bridge.
How do I break through and make this awkward conversation maybe lighter, or funnier and that's when we got the idea of, let's write an STD rap.
The videos stresses abstinence and using sexual protection.
Dr. Dowler says "If teenagers don't necessarily know what they're up against, if they don't understand it, how can we expect them to protect themselves and make good choices?"
The zany doc recently released her newest rap called 'STD's never get old'. The song is aimed at educating senior citizens about the rising rates of STD's in their communities. Stats show the rate of sexually transmitted disease among senior citizens has almost doubled over the past 10 years.
Safe sex baby, safe sex baby, oh, wait, stop. Collaborate and listen, RapDktaD's intention, calling out all you fellas and ladies, STD's are tearing through folks in their 80s.
She says she loves to rap-and-rhyme, because she's otherwise musically challenged. In this case, she wants to get the attention of geriatric patients, who really need to get educated.
"It's tough, to tell a 72-year-old that they're having their first herpes outbreak. If they've lost their partner, they're suddenly developing a new relationship and there's a whole slew of STD's they've never heard about," Dowler said.
These lovers may be older, but the message is the same. If you are going to have sex, use protection. Also, be especially careful if you live in a senior retirement community.
"It's almost like a college dorm, you have a lot of people of the same age, with the same degree of sexuality and they are clustered together in an environment where there's a lot of privacy," Mountain Area Health Education Center’s Dr. Tim Plaut said.
There's also the issue of help with erectile dysfunction. "With those medications coming on board, we've seen an increase in sexual activity that has mirrored the increase in sexually transmitted diseases,” Plaut said.
"I tried to be really intentional to make sure that I was celebrating the aging sexuality, and that it wasn't being critical in any way, there’s just a lot to learn,” Dowler said.
Dowler's video will be shown by the state director of STD services at a conference next month.