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The ovulatory-menstrual cycle is central to wellbeing. With 40 to 50 years of periods ahead of them, adolescent girls* deserve the best possible start to life as strong healthy women. Using the principles of Positive Education, a Health Promoting School can help make this a reality.

Many adolescent girls experience ovulatory-menstrual health difficulties, such as painful periods, premenstrual symptoms, abnormal bleeding and irregular cycles. These have been associated with school absenteeism, poorer classroom performance, a negative body image, the onset of eating disorders, self-injury, and poor quality of life. A review of resources suggests that this stigmatized subject can be presented inaccurately and negatively. This may explain schools’ tendency to outsource this taboo topic to external guest facilitators.

My Vital Cycles™ aims to address these problems by developing and trialling a school-based ovulatory-menstrual health literacy program centred on the whole person.

* My Vital Cycles™ uses terms such as females, girls, and women. These are used in relation to a person’s sex (i.e. their biological characteristics or reproductive organs). It is recognised that this may differ from gender identity. For example, someone who menstruates may or may not identify as “female”. My Vital Cycles™  believes anyone who menstruates should have the information and skills necessary to best manage this vital sign.

What makes My Vital Cycles™ different?

What makes My Vital Cycles™ different?

It is award-winning

My Vital Cycles™ is supported by multiple awards: Curtin University Ignition Award Curtin University Accelerate Award Curtin Medical School Research...
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What makes My Vital Cycles™ different?

It is personal

My Vital Cycles™ is relevant and engaging to adolescent girls because it is real-world and age-appropriate. They become active participants...
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What makes My Vital Cycles™ different?

It builds capacity

My Vital Cycles™ recognises that quality professional training enables teachers and school healthcare professionals to work in partnership. This supports...
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What makes My Vital Cycles™ different?

It is strengths-based

My Vital Cycles™ begins from the premise that the ovulatory-menstrual cycle is as vital to a woman’s health as her...
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What makes My Vital Cycles™ different?

It is evidence-based

In 2019, a Delphi panel was convened with experts in medicine, education, and public health. The panel, together with a...
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What makes My Vital Cycles™ different?

It is mapped to the Australian Curriculum

As applied to the Australian Health Curriculum for Years 9-10, My Vital Cycles™ gives students a solid grounding in the...
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When will My Vital Cycles™ be rolled out?

The results from the 2021 trial will be used to further refine the program so that it can be offered more broadly. A new web portal is planned to host the online resources and tools to support families, schools and healthcare professionals. This will coincide with a broader communication and engagement process with the education and health sectors.

Felicity Roux
Creator and researcher

Felicity's interest in teaching the cycle to school girls sparked when she was working clinically as an accredited ACNFP educator. Women would exclaim, “I should’ve been taught this stuff at school”.  As a secondary school guest facilitator of relationships and sexuality education programs, she noticed that even after puberty lessons students had not grasped basics like ovulation. As a rite of passage trainer, she observed teachers feeling uncomfortable teaching the cycle. Felicity is a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health, Curtin University,  researching how to make teaching the cycle easier and how to help girls’ learning last a lifetime. She is working towards her accreditation as a BOM educator.

Associate Professor Sharyn Burns
Chief Investigator

Sharyn is Co-Director of Curtin University’s Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health and Chair of Curtin’s Human Research Ethics Committee. She has expertise in planning, implementing and evaluating health promotion interventions, specifically targeting adolescents, parents and school staff. Her mixed methods research specifically focuses on translational intervention-based research in sexual and mental health, such as the Relationships and Sexuality Education Project. She has a long-term involvement as a reference group member and advisor with the Western Australian’s School Standards and Curriculum Authority. Sharyn oversees My Vital Cycles™ overall progress and its ethics' compliance.

Dr Jun Chih
Co-investigator

Jun is a biostatistician at the Curtin University’s School of Public Health. Her research area is on the relationship between lifestyle factors and health, both physical and mental. Jun oversees the rigour with which evidence is gathered and published for My Vital Cycles™.

Dr Jacqui Hendriks
Co-investigator

Jacqui is based at Curtin University’s Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health as the Project Manager for the Relationships and Sexuality Education Project.  She provides training to pre-service and in-service teachers in relationship and sexuality education, and supports schools in this area. Jacqui oversees the alignment of My Vital Cycles™ with best practice for relationship and sexuality education programs.

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Nyungar Wadjuk people as the traditional owners of country in which My Vital Cycles™ was created. We pay our respects to Elders, past and present and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.