Douglas B. Kirby, World-Renowned Researcher and Member of UNESCO’s Global Advisory Group on Sexuality Education

Douglas B. Kirby

Douglas Bernard Kirby, PhD, a Senior Research Scientist at ETR Associates, died of a heart attack on Saturday December 22, 2012 while climbing Cotopaxi in Ecuador. He was 69.

Dr Kirby was one of the world’s leading experts on sexuality education. He authored over 150 articles, chapters and monographs and worked with national governments, civil society and UN agencies to strengthen sexuality education programmes throughout the world.

As a founding member of UNESCO’s Global Advisory Group on Sexuality Education, he was a principal developer of the highly influential International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education: An evidence-informed approach for schools teachers and health educators and he helped to shape a wide-ranging global programme of work on all aspects of sexuality education that revitalised the education sector response to HIV and AIDS. Recently, he worked closely with UNESCO and other UN partners on capacity building and providing intensive support aimed at scaling up sexuality education in East and Southern Africa, the region most affected by the HIV epidemic.

Dr. Kirby received his PhD in Sociology from UCLA in 1975. For the past 25 years he served as Senior Research Scientist at ETR Associates in California, USA. Over his professional career, he published the most definitive systematic reviews on the effectiveness of sex, relationships and HIV education in schools and is widely recognised as the leading world expert on sex, relationships and HIV education curriculum standards. He painted a more comprehensive and detailed picture of the risk and protective factors associated with young people’s sexual behaviour, contraceptive use, and pregnancy, and has identified important common characteristics of effective sexuality education and HIV education programmes. At another level, he was a passionate, thoughtful and inspiring advocate for education. He will be remembered for his professional integrity, his infectious love for life, and his dedication to make the world a better place.

He is survived by his wife Gail, daughter Kathryn, son Cameron, and brother Robion Kirby. Donations in Dr Kirby’s memory can be made to Zambia Orphans of AIDS .

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