Northwestern University’s medical school launched a website called Reprotopia to educate children ages 10 to 14 on reproductive health.
The site features a series of music videos called “A New You, That’s Who” centered on topics such as puberty, menstruation and the male and female anatomy. Cartoon characters Olivia the Ovary and Timothy the Testis star in the short videos alongside an array of other reproductive organ friends.
Dr. Teresa Woodruff, dean of The Graduate School and an OB-GYN, contributed to the creation of the series alongside Dr. Eric Patrick, a communications professor who served as the executive producer. The catchy tunes in the music videos were composed by award-winning songwriter Robert Charde.
“We are really trying to be the authoritative source for reproductive health information,” Woodruff told The Daily Northwestern. “It’s important because there’s no real place for kids to go to get the information they need.”
Woodruff hopes that people of all ages will benefit from the reproductive health education that the Reprotopia videos provide. Accompanied by colorful graphics and diagrams that help illustrate what is going on in the body during various phases of development, the songs breakdown health information is a way that makes it more digestible. A supplementary coloring book featuring Olivia the Ovary, Timothy the Testis and friends has also been published on the website for younger audience members.
The video series seeks to fill a void of engaging and interactive reproductive health programs for kids. Most children aren’t exposed to reproductive health education until seventh or eighth grade and there are very few resources for health educators to use in these classes.
“Timothy and Olivia are a neat way for kids to de-sensationalize the words ovary and testis,” Woodruff said on the Northwestern Now website. “If we can do that for these common terms, it will be easier for kids to access the information they need for their health as they get older.
Northwestern’s Center on Media and Human Development conducted a study to test children’s retention of the subject matter presented in the videos. Kids who watched the New You series demonstrated significant comprehension and retention of the material, scoring 75 percent accuracy on a multiple choice quiz about reproductive health.
Woodruff is happy with the results she has seen so far.
“There’s so much more about our own bodies and reproductive health that we need to understand better,” Woodruff told The Daily Northwestern. “This is really one way that we are looking to get that information out.”