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SEPA Project Descriptions 2012

The Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program is designed to incorporate inquiry-based learning experiences to stimulate interest in science, further public understanding of health issues and encourage the next generation of health professionals. With an emphasis on supporting a diverse workforce pipeline and reducing health disparities, the program's K – 12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) projects target minorities and students in rural and underserved communities. The SEPA program's Informal Science Education (ISE) projects in science museums and planetariums educate the public on the relationship between lifestyle and health and emerging or topical health issues. SEPA K – 12 STEM and ISE awards support enhanced training for science teachers; the development and distribution of hands-on science curricula; and websites for students, teachers and the general public.


City of Hope/Beckman Research Institute

Duarte, CA

City of Hope and the San Gabriel Valley SEPA Collaborative
Grant No. R25 OD 010513
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,321,759

Principal Investigator
Susan E. Kane, Ph.D.
Email: skane@coh.org

Description:

The San Gabriel Valley Science Education Partnership Award Collaborative (SGV SEPAC) is a partnership between City of Hope (COH), a Comprehensive Cancer Center and biomedical research institute, and Duarte Unified School District (DUSD), an 80% minority school district in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County. Other partners include Pasadena City College and a stand-alone research and education non-profit called Oak Crest Institute of Science (OCIS). The primary activity of the SGV SEPAC is the summer research program, in which high school students will receive instruction about and conduct true inquiry research projects in the setting of a dedicated Community Teaching Laboratory housed on the COH campus. The goal is to offer a less intimidating, more nurturing and enriching research experience than traditional summer programs that take place in regular research labs. Select students from the summer program will go on to conduct a school-year research project in COH and OCIS labs, now with the background knowledge, skills, and confidence to be productive contributors to these labs' research programs. We are also planning a series of teacher- focused professional development programs focused on increasing content knowledge and research skills on the same topics that students are learning about in their summer research programs. Teachers will receive curriculum materials and protocols to take back to their classrooms. Teachers will also be involved in teaching the didactic portion of the summer research program and work side-by-side with students in the laboratory portion of the program. These experiences will help teachers reinforce the concepts learned by their students in the summer research program and also disseminate that information during the school year to a wider base of students who could not participate in the summer program. An additional component of the proposed activities will be directed at K-8 students. These will include visits to 2nd grade classrooms by COH scientists and field trip visits to the COH campus by groups of 5th grade and 8th grade students. Students will take a campus tour, visit COH labs, engage in grade-appropriate experimental activities in the Community Teaching Lab, and talk with scientists to learn about careers in research. The goal is to whet the students' appetite for research and pique their interest in applying for the summer research program during their high school years. Taken together, these programs are intended to be positive research experiences that are more likely than traditional laboratory activities to have a lasting, engaging effect on our target group of high school students, thus increasing their chances for pursuing careers in biomedical research. Rigorous evaluation using logic model assessment planning tools will ensure timely feedback on our successes and failures and allow for rapid program improvement and dissemination of best practices.


Milwaukee School of Engineering

Milwaukee, WI

Teachers FIRST: From Interesting Research to Scientific Teaching Environments
Grant No. R25 OD 010505
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1.16 million

Principal Investigator
Tim M. Herman, Ph.D.
Email: herman@msoe.edu

Co-Investigator
Shannon Colton, Ph.D.
Email: colton@msoe.edu

Website: http://www.rpc.msoe.edu/index.php Link to external Website

Description:

The Teachers FIRST project (From Interesting Research to Scientific Teaching) provides high school teachers with the background and tools to go beyond the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology (DNA -> RNA -> Protein) in their teaching, and to engage their students in meaningful discussions of genomic science and its implications for personalized health care. In the first phase of this project, teachers will be introduced to a series of molecular stories of current research that emphasize the role of technology in driving the development of personalized genomic medicine. A broad range of innovative, student-centered instructional materials will be created in this project, including (i) cellular landscapes that transition students' thinking from the cellular to the molecular world, (ii) a central dogma construction kit, and (iii) physical models and computer-based (Jmol) explorations of specific proteins. Teachers will then receive explicit training in the use of these materials to connect the central elements of each molecular story to the basic concepts of chemistry and biology that are taught at the high school level. In the second phase of this project, teachers will be introduced to the principles of scientific teaching - and challenged to apply the same experimental rigor to their classrooms that researchers apply in their laboratories. Teams of teachers will be assisted in the development of individualized research plans in which the impact of implementing the project's instructional materials in their classrooms will be studied. Beginning in a summer workshop and continuing into the implementation of these shared research plans in their classrooms, teachers will be encouraged to become active participants in a professional community of educators - committed to documenting the impact of their classroom innovations on student learning and to sharing the results of that education research with others. In the final phase of this project, the molecular stories and related instructional materials will be disseminated to a national audience of high school students and their teachers through a Protein Modeling event in the Science Olympiad competition. More than 9,000 students in 48 states will be exposed to stories of personalized genomic medicine as they construct physical models of proteins that play key roles in the molecular stories.

The Teachers FIRST project website is at http://cbm.msoe.edu/FIRST/ Link to external Website .


Ochsner Clinic Foundation

New Orleans, LA

BEST Science! - Bioscience Enrichment for Students and Teachers
Grant No. R25 OD 010515
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,209,585

Principal Investigators
Jawed Alam, Ph.D.
Email: jalam@ochsner.org
Paula Elizabeth Gregory, Ph.D.

Description:

The Greater New Orleans area is the setting for an unprecedented experiment in education reform. This effort is characterized by an influx of reform-minded administrators and teachers, enthusiastic adoption of the public charter school concept, increased accountability and parental options, and intensification of community involvement. This environment provides a unique and attractive opportunity for testing new ideas in curriculum development and delivery. The National Institutes of Health has developed a series of educational modules based on scientific discoveries from NIH-sponsored research. These units are designed to supplement existing elementary and secondary life science curricula at both the state and local levels and are consistent with National Science Education Standards. The supplements developed by teachers, scientists and curriculum experts, and field-tested nationally by teachers, "promote active and collaborative learning and are inquiry- based to help students develop problem-solving strategies and critical thinking." The NIH modules do not include hands-on laboratory exercises and no provisions are made for training teachers in the underlying concepts and technologies of molecular and cellular biology and molecular genetics. This application proposes a comprehensive program - BEST Science! - to provide Bioscience Enrichment for Students and Teachers. BEST Science! is a partnership between Ochsner Clinic Foundation, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and several local school districts The long-term objective of this partnership is to advance an interest in, and understanding of, biomedical research and health sciences by New Orleans area high school students, particularly underrepresented minorities. The ultimate goal is to stimulate further education and vocation in these areas. The general mechanism proposed to achieve this goal is to produce and implement summer professional development workshops for biology teachers and then provide the necessary resources for them to deploy the curriculum in their classrooms during the academic year. The core of the workshop curriculum will be select NIH modules supplemented with complementary laboratory exercises utilizing technologies such as DNA transformation, PCR amplification and gel electrophoresis. The laboratory units will be created using existing modules, developed by SEPA-funded programs such as CityLab and Regional Biotech, as templates. Research scientists and graduate students from Ochsner and LSUHSC will participate in the workshops. Academic year support will include provision of reagent kits, equipment loans and mentoring by program faculty, graduate students, and Lead Teachers who have experience with the curriculum. Participating teachers, who must commit for one year to all aspects of the program, will have the option of carrying out the laboratory exercises in their classroom or in a dedicated student laboratory on the Ochsner campus. By providing the necessary training and resources, BEST Science! will help incorporate the NIH modules into the local curricula and fulfill the original intent of the NIH program.


Oregon Health & Science University

Portland, OR

Chatter: Translating community research data for classroom use
Grant No. R25 OD 010496
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,292,813

Principal Investigators
Jackilen Shannon, Ph.D.
Email: shannoja@ohsu.edu
Lisa Marriott, Ph.D.
Email: marriott@ohsu.edu

Website: https://lgh.ohsu.edu/ Link to external Website

Description:

This project develops the Community Health Interactive Data Resource (CHIDR); a dissemination intervention that provides teachers and students with online access to community-specific research data generated from the Let's Get Healthy! education and research exhibit. The data-gathering fair and student exploration of local data through CHIDR will be used as a method of engaging students in understanding how personal and group decisions can impact heath issues. Teacher-guided exploration of data will enable students to see first-hand how participation in an NIH-funded human research study can be used to better understand human health. This project will raise individual and classroom awareness about health issues related to childhood obesity as well as promote skills that enable students to use meaningful data to make positive changes in their school and community. The immediate impact of the proposed project develops the infrastructure for a web-based data visualization tool and resource library that is freely available to the public, including teachers, students, policy makers and community health groups. CHIDR would leverage the already successful Let's Get Healthy! program to provide a web-based resource where accurate, region-specific data could be used to enable personal and policy decision.


Science Museum of Minnesota

Saint Paul, MN

Weighing the Evidence: Making Informed Health Care Decisions (A Traveling Exhibit)
Grant No. R25 OD 010544
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,318,288

Principal Investigator
Laurie Ann Kleinbaum Fink, Ph.D.
Email: lfink@smm.org

Description:

Health care in the United States is expensive and complex, and there are many competing interests that make it an increasing necessity for health care consumers to take an active role to better advocate for themselves and those who are impacted by the decisions that are made. Making effective health care choices requires both science literacy and critical thinking skills to understand and evaluate options.

The Weighing the Evidence (tentative title) project team will work with medical experts, researchers, health and medicine journalists, and community partners to improve visitors’ critical analysis skills and ability to review evidence so that they can make informed health care decisions. To meet this goal a traveling exhibition will be developed utilizing a unique collection of historical and contemporary quack medical devices donated to the Science Museum of Minnesota when the Museum of Questionable Medical Devises closed in 2002. While the collection is rich in fun and entertainment, it also offers a multitude of opportunities to reflect on science, society and ethics, skepticism, and objectivity. This collection, along with interactive experiences, theater programs, outreach programming and a companion website will provide visitors with the tools needed to become more knowledgeable health care consumers.

Websites: http://www.smm.org/exhibitservices/history/evidence and http://www.sciencebuzz.org/topics/qmd Link to external Website

Learning Goals:

All participants will:

  • Become aware of the need to be active, competent health care consumers who ask questions about the evidence that underlies different health claims.
  • Begin to develop new strategies for questioning the evidence behind different health products. These strategies may include (but are not limited to): looking for costs, risks, and benefits; identifying evidence as scientific, clinical, or personal; recognizing red flags for inadequate evidence.
  • Recognize and better understand the role of research in developing new health care products and in the advancement of medical treatments.
  • Appreciate the role that cultural traditions and values play in the shaping individuals’ views on health and wellness – including our own.

For the Health Crew outreach team only, participants will:

  • Become better prepared to pursue STEM careers in particular health sciences.

Seattle Children's Hospital

Seattle, WA

Engaging families to enhance science learning and interest in STEM careers
Grant No. R25 OD 010499
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,119,156

Principal Investigators
Amanda Lynsey Jones, Ph.D.
Email: amanda.jones@seattlechildrens.org

Website: http://www.seattlechildrens.org/classes-community Link to external Website

Description:

The Science Adventure Lab program was initiated by Seattle Children's Research Institute in 2008 to address the need for improved access of students in Washington state to high-quality, hands-on science education and in recognition of the well-established connection between education and health. This 45 foot, state-of-the-art mobile science laboratory has visited over 12,600 students at 85 different schools since September 2009. The program specifically serves under-resourced rural and urban schools by providing cutting-edge science laboratory experiences to students where resources and personnel to offer this are not available. This proposed project entitled "Engaging families to enhance science learning and interest in STEM careers" will utilize the best practices and proven approaches developed over the past two years by the Science Adventure Lab team together with novel curriculum modules developed specifically for this project, and add critically-important, structured, family-based activities that will encourage and support student learning and interest in STEM careers. Our hypothesis is that completing two curriculum modules onboard the Science Adventure Lab will result in gains in student knowledge, increased interest in science and awareness of careers in the STEM fields, and that structured family involvement will amplify those gains. Additionally, students and families are expected to develop an increased understanding of the importance of research and clinical trials for building a healthy community. Each year of the project, ~ 700 fourth-graders at ten under-resourced urban or rural schools in Washington state will complete two novel, inquiry-based, hands-on curriculum modules onboard the Science Adventure Lab. Families of participating students will be invited to attend two events. At "Science Night" at the school, families will complete an activity on the Science Adventure Lab together with their children and be provided with resources that will help them encourage and support their children's interest in science. At the end of the school year, families will attend "Science Day" at Seattle Children's Research Institute where they will complete a follow-up, hands-on activity that extends the skills and knowledge developed during "Science Night", tour the facility, interact with scientists and learn about the importance of scientific research and clinical trials for building a healthy community. Implementing this project will result in the development of an ongoing, sustainable program of family-based activities that includes Family Science Night kits that can be shipped to schools anywhere in the U.S., and regular events for families at Seattle Children's Research Institute.


Tufts University

Medford, MA

Bioinformatics Inquiry through Sequencing (BIOSEQ)
Grant No. R25 OD 010547
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,310,819

Principal Investigators
David R. Walt, Ph.D.
Email: david.walt@tufts.edu

Description:

The overall goal for the Bioinformatics Inquiry through Sequencing (BIOSEQ) project is to provide opportunities for a broad audience of people to learn about the field of bioinformatics through inquiry based research. Three main activities will support this goal: 1. Increase knowledge of and participation in inquiry-based bioinformatics research among students and educators by establishing a sequencing center at Tufts University's Medford Campus for educational use. This sequencing center will be available to high school students and college student mentors through college level research courses and will also be available to educators and students who wish to integrate sequencing into classroom projects and science fair projects. 2. Introduce bioinformatics to high school students through entry level, semester-long research-based courses designed to teach students laboratory skills, computer skills and research skills in the context of student designed projects. The high school student course will happen during the summer session, students will be able to receive college credit. Scholarships will be available for underrepresented minorities and those of low socioeconomic status to participate in the course. 3. Increase teacher knowledge of bioinformatics and inclusion of bioinformatics concepts in their courses by developing modular activities and curricular units to describe bioinformatics concepts, including the impact of bioinformatics on scientific and medical research. Some of these activities and units will be integrated into existing high school biology and computer science courses, and will include understanding of how bioinformatics and genomics have influenced individual and public health through innovations such as Genome Wide Association studies (GWAs) and Direct to Consumer (DTC) genetic testing. This five year project will involve faculty, staff, graduate undergraduate student mentors from Tufts' Chemistry and Computer science departments, faculty and student mentors from Bunker Hill Community College, and teachers and high school students from four diverse, urban partner school districts.


University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

Translating Translation and Scientific Questioning in the Global K-12 Community
Grant No. R25 OD 010487
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,338,635

Principal Investigators
Marlys Hearst Witte, M.D.
Email: grace@surgery.arizona.edu

Co-Principal Investigator
Francisco Garcia, A.R., M.P.H, M.D.

Co-Investigator
Michael B. Bernas, M.S.

Program Coordinator
Grace S. Wagner
Email: grace@surgery.arizona.edu

Websites: http://ignorance.medicine.arizona.edu/ Link to external Website , http://www.medicalignorance.org/ Link to external Website , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enfDNW1Bxpk Link to external Website

Description:

Recent NIH initiatives target reengineering clinical research, fueling a diverse workforce, and improving health/ science literacy, to accelerate "translation" of discoveries from "bench to bedside to community." Key to "translating translation" is introducing the "language of medicine" to the K-12 community and public; and raising awareness of the transiency of biomedical "knowledge", social aspects of the scientific enterprise; and uncertainty in decision-making, i.e., preparing students for an unpredictable future. With broadband Internet connectivity widely available, this NIH-SEPA proposal, from an experienced team of translational scientists devoted to outcomes-oriented educational interventions for disadvantaged students, leverages a broad infrastructure of programs, people, and partnerships. The unique centerpiece is the Virtual Clinical Research Center/Questionarium (VCRC/Q) web-based platform, 5 years in development, designed to expand real-life "place-based seat-timed" K-12 school experiences. To exploit VCRC/Q's potential as a customizable bi- directional "learning grid" linking scientists with K-12 students/ teachers in a global "learning community", our specific aims (SA) are; 1) implement, scale and network the VCRC/Q Platform to facilitate communication among Clinical Translational Science Awards/Clinical Research Centers, SEPA projects, K-12 schools, and the public; 2) assemble, integrate and test a customizable inquiry-based "Translating Translation" core curriculum targeting high school students on VCRC/Q or face-to-face in classrooms/labs by trained teachers to excite, motivate, and educate young minds about the adventure and opportunities in biomedical research. "Translating Translation" will introduce medical language and showcase NIH research and diverse experts/ peer-near peer role models in a paradigm shift emphasizing the dynamic imbalance between medical "knowledge" - the "known" (unquestioned answers) and medical "ignorance" (unanswered questions: what we know we don't know, don't know we don't know, and think we know but don't) - the "unknown"; and 3) incorporate platform and curriculum into a robust self-renewing career pipeline with multiple entry points to nurture a growing cadre of diverse young scientist-leaders by bridging progressive summer and year-round "hands on-brain on" research experiences modeled after our long-standing introductory Summer Institute on Medical Ignorance (~500 disadvantaged high school student alumni). SA3 will feature a "high octane" pathway for entry-level student scientists closely mentored in team-oriented laboratory/ clinical research and leadership and "low octane" and "self-serve" options in smaller doses for home use and the public. A comprehensive formative and summative evaluation includes a 3-phase model (design>test>refine; implement>test>refine; disseminate>test>refine) focusing on changes in attitudes, skills, and knowledge and long-term outcomes/ impact including capacity building, career tracks, transportability, and network expansion. Dissemination centers in VCRC/Q with multimedia, multi-institutional partnerships to enhance outreach, and impact.


University of California Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

Play Pads: Mobile Educational Health Science Activities for Children in Hospitals
Grant No. R25 OD 010543
Estimated Four-Year Award: $1,040,438

Principal Investigators
Darrell Porcello, Ph.D.

Email: porcello@berkeley.edu
Sherry Hsi, Ph.D.
Email: sherryh@berkeley.edu

Website: http://www.lawrencehallofscience.org/ Link to external Website

Description:

University of California, Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS), in partnership with the Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland (CHRCO), proposes to design, develop, implement, and evaluate a hospital-based educational program using pedagogically rich mobile learning experiences with age-appropriate K-12 health sciences content. LHS staff will combine educational technology, curriculum, and learning research expertise to create a new, inquiry based health science program delivered through tablet computers or PlayPads. The interactive media, digital stories, and gaming on PlayPads will feature everyday concepts and important foundations in health education based on the science content and learning frameworks from successful science curricula created at LHS. Hospital patients and their families, visitors, staff, and volunteers will encounter PlayPads with finished waiting room exhibit media stations designed and constructed by Exploratorium Exhibit Services, on teaching carts deployed by hospital educators, and through individual check-out units.PlayPads content will also be available outside of the hospital setting through the Internet for extended use on personal mobile devices and computers. The mission of the PlayPads program is to increase exposure of the hospital-going public to topics directly relevant to healthy lives and families through mobile technology. PlayPads will be an inviting experience for youth, framing interactions with driving questions and common misconceptions to inspire the curiosity of participants. Youth ages 8 to 16 will experience wide-ranging interactives including: games that show the hazards of smoking, simulations of blood flow through the heart, brain quizzes to hone memory function, or lively info-graphics about the nutritional shortcomings of junk food. Given the recent strides in the affordability of touch screen technology and the rapid adoption of mobile computing ecosystems, this is an unprecedented time to build a ubiquitous health educational program within a contextually relevant environment like a hospital. PlayPads will be a model for delivering health education content in a unique educational setting leveraging the great strides in consumer mobile technology. By working with a strong, local hospital partner that serves a highly diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population, LHS staff will ensure the portability of the program for future healthcare providers. With the extensive private and public networks of both LHS and CHRCO, PlayPads will potentially have a lasting impact on health education efforts in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.


Univeristy of California Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA

Integrating health and biology in a science curriculum for Latino preschoolers
Grant No. R25 OD010537
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,200,724

Principal Investigator
Laura F. Romo, Ph.D.
Email: lromo@education.ucsb.edu
Julie A. Bianchini, Ph.D.
Email: jbianchi@education.ucsb.edu
Jin Sook Lee, Ph.D.
Email: jslee@education.ucsb.edu
Yukari Okamoto, Ph.D.
Email: yukari@education.ucsb.edu

Description:

Children from low-income language minority backgrounds begin kindergarten at a significant disadvantage compared to their English-speaking peers, highlighting the need to provide them with enriching educational experiences in early childhood. Many state readiness standards now highlight preschool science as a key domain in the preparation of young children for the transition into formal schooling (Head Start, 2007). Yet, the lack of studies with rigorous research designs to evaluate the effectiveness of preschool science curricula has prevented researchers from drawing conclusions about best practices. In addition, preschool science curricula have been designed for classrooms made up of European American children from middle income backgrounds and the effectiveness of these programs have not been tested with low-income Latino preschool children from Spanish- speaking backgrounds. The overall goal of the proposed study is to design and test the efficacy of a preschool science curriculum for low-income Latino children that focuses on improving their conceptual understanding of germ contagion and contamination, and food and nutrition, an area of interest to NIH related to developing creative and innovate research education to deliver information about healthy living in science to children. Our study is novel in that it integrates health and biology concepts in a multi-unit science curriculum, instead of introducing health information as a stand-alone topic outside of science, typical of preschool programs. In the proposed research, 40 preschool classrooms will be assigned randomly to one of two experimental groups: 1) a treatment group that receives the biology-based health science curriculum; 2) an attention control group that receives a standard health curriculum from published, on-line materials. Within each experimental group, half of the classrooms will receive the curriculum in Spanish and the other half will receive the curriculum in English. All children, ages 4 and 5, will participate in pre- and post-test assessment sessions. We expect that relative to control group, children will show an increase in conceptual understanding of health concepts related to biological process, and science inquiry skills as measured by their capacity to ask questions and generate explanations. There will be significant increases on measures of science understanding and inquiry skills for both groups of children (those receiving the instruction in Spanish and those in English) although the overall effects of the experimental curriculum will be stronger for children receiving the instruction in their primary language (Spanish).This study will provide vital information for the development and dissemination of a biology-based preschool health science program particularly for low-income Latino children from Spanish-speaking backgrounds, but appropriate for different types of learners.


University of Miami

Miami, FL

Get in the GROOVE!
Grant No. R25 OD 010525
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,230,735

Principal Investigator
Patrice G. Saab, Ph.D.
Email: psaab@miami.edu
Judy A. Brown, Ed.D.
Email: jabrown@miamisci.org

Other Contact
Isabel Leeder
Email: ileeder@miamisci.org
Lucia E. Williams
Email: lenriconi@miamisci.org

Website: http://www.frostscience.org Link to external Website

Description:

“Get in the GROOVE!” will address health disparities impacting underserved youth, as well as the national need to cultivate diversity in preparing the next generation of health professionals. Given the alarming rate of overweight and obesity among high school minority youth, the project will focus on middle school with the primary aim of reaching middle school girls before unhealthy habits become firmly ingrained. The project brings together the research and informal science education community in an innovative effort to contribute to the knowledge base with regard to the impact of informal learning environments as a delivery system for communicating key health messages to diverse populations, and explore the use of virtual world technology as a vehicle for motivating interest in learning how a healthy diet and physical activity can impact an individual's well-being throughout life. The specific objectives are to: 1) to develop science-rich health education resources for middle school students that motivate interest in adopting a healthy lifestyle; 2) to increase middle school students' awareness of and interest in nutrition and physiology related STEM career pathways; 3) increase parental awareness, within the family cultural context, of the importance of good nutrition and physical activity for children's health; 4) to investigate, in a multicenter randomized controlled trial (conducted at the Miami Science Museum and the New York Hall of Science), the extent to which a 3-D virtual world environment explored in an informal museum setting produces gains in middle school students' self-efficacy, health knowledge, and readiness for positive behavior change; and 5) to broadly disseminate the evaluated program results and research findings to the global community of health, informal science education and K-12 research communities. The evaluation plan will document the impact of the GROOVE program to engage students in the study of nutrition and physical activity and enhance their conceptual understanding of the importance of nutrition and activity to their overall health. If successful, this approach will advance the field through rigorous evaluation of the use of virtual world simulations as a learning tool, contribute to the research base of the impact and the value of informal education environments to serve underrepresented youth, and could transform science education by simultaneously stimulating interest in science while promoting healthy behavior in youth.


Univeristy of Montana

Missoula, MT

Training rural/underserved youth to understand and pursue scientific careers
Grant No. R25 OD 010511
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,288,942

Principal Investigators
Andrij Holian, Ph.D.
Email: andrij.holian@umontana.edu
Anthony Ward, Ph.D.
Email: tony.ward@umontana.edu

Website: http://www.umt.edu/cehs/k12_outreach.html Link to external Website

Description:

Students living in rural and frontier areas are oftentimes at a disadvantage, in that they do not always have easy access to hands-on educational programs that might stimulate their interest in the sciences. The inquiry-based science education program that is being developed will train students in the scientific process based on real- world air pollution issues, giving them the tools necessary to conduct hands-on research. The new Clean Air and Healthy Homes Program (CAHHP) is based on our successful "Air Toxics Under the Big Sky" program, one of four sub- projects in our original SEPA. Through three Aims, we will test the overall hypothesis that CAHHP can be used in rural, underserved areas to effectively educate students in the scientific process, raise their interest in science and science careers, and increase their awareness of environmental impacts on human health. We will test this hypothesis with the following Aims: 1) Develop an inquiry-based, student directed, learner centered program (CAHHP) that will allow students to test relevant real-world questions in science; 2) Implement CAAHP into rural, underserved areas of Montana, Idaho, and Alaska in collaboration with our regional partners; and 3) Establish a professional development program for teachers interested in environmental health sciences. Through Aims 1 and 2, we anticipate that students participating in CAHHP will have increased interests in science, as well as an increased interest in science as a career. Through Aim 3, we will provide professional development training to teachers, enhancing the science education that students receive within the classroom. Our over-arching goal is to provide educational opportunities to nearly 4,300 students from 51 schools located within rural and underserved areas of the northern Rocky Mountains, and within remote Alaska Native Villages.


University of Nebraska Lincoln

Lincoln, NE

Biology of Human: Understanding Ourselves through the Lens of Current Biomedical
Grant No. R25 OD 010506
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,328,618

Principal Investigator
Judy Diamond, Ph.D.
Email: jdiamond1@unl.edu
Julia McQuillan, Ph.D.
Email: jmcquillan@unl.edu

Website: http://www.worldofviruses.unl.edu Link to external Website

Description:

Recent biomedical research has transformed scientific understanding of human biology. But many of these advances haven’t filtered into public awareness, hindering our ability to make good health-related decisions. A new educational program ‒ Biology of Human ‒ will help the public, particularly young people, better understand advances in biomedical research. This innovative, learning research-based science education program is strategically designed to increase awareness of and understanding about new biomedical research developments pertaining to human biology. Biology of Human will provide a sophisticated science education outreach package for students aged 11 to 15 and adults, including parents and educators. The project's goal is to leverage the latest biomedical information and innovations, a dynamic suite of educational and dissemination strategies, and research-driven approach grounded in sociology to broadly educate youth and adults about human biology. A team led by the University of Nebraska State Museum, the Department of Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the NIH/NCRR-funded Nebraska Center for Virology (a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence) will work with science writers, kids, and educators to complete three specific aims: 1) stimulate interest in and understanding of biomedical research's importance to diverse individuals' health, communities, and environments; 2) establish partnerships among science educators, biomedical researchers, science journalists, and others to create dynamic educational resources focused on biomedical research developments and human biology; and 3) increase youths' interest in biomedical science. Biology of Human will provide adults and youth with several simultaneous, complementary options for learning about how biomedical research has helped us understand human biology including essays, books and blogs; entertaining and scientifically accurate mobile and tablet apps; activities and graphic stories; and a Web site that complements and supports the project's professional development programs. More than 175,000 youth and adults are expected to be directly impacted through this effort.


University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM

SEPA in New Mexico
Grant No. R25 OD 010509
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,304,489

Principal Investigators
Shiraz I Mishra, MBBS, Ph.D.
Email: smishra@salud.unm.edu
Sally Melinda M Davis, Ph.D.
Email: sdavis@salud.unm.edu

Description:

American Indians and Hispanics have historically been under-represented in the scientific fields and recently there has been a steady decline in the number of American Indian and Hispanic students graduating with science and engineering bachelor's degrees from high Hispanic enrollment institutions and Tribal colleges. Further, chronic diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity are a disproportionate cause of morbidity and mortality among American Indians and Hispanics, people who lack economic resources, and those who reside in rural geographies. The lower representation of American Indians and Hispanics in the sciences coupled with higher prevalence of chronic diseases among these populations poses a serious national challenge. According to the National Institutes of Health, potential solutions to this challenge are to enhance the prevention and population sciences research infrastructure by increasing research training and career opportunities for people under-represented in the sciences and to inform the public about the latest advances in prevention and population sciences research. We address this national challenge through a multi- faceted science enrichment program aimed towards students enrolled in tribal and non-tribal (predominantly Hispanic) middle schools, their science teachers, families, and the community at large in rural New Mexico. The program is a school- and community-based health education and participatory research program that incorporates intergenerational and science-inquiry based learning experiences to explore research, health promoting nutrition, and physical activity for the prevention of chronic diseases. The aims are to: (1) enhance the science curriculum in the middle schools through the addition of modules on research, nutrition, and physical activity so as to foster interest in science careers among the students; (2) implement a comprehensive mentoring program for the students to ensure intergenerational learning; (3) provide professional development activities for the science and health teachers so as to develop sustainable skills for the development of evidence-based science curricula; (4) enhance the awareness among families and the community at large about the latest advances in prevention and population sciences research; and (5) evaluate effectiveness of the science enrichment program. We build on the UNM PRC's extensive expertise in school- and community- based prevention research. We utilize community-based health education and participatory research methods to implement the evidence-based curriculum that will increase student understanding and interest in science and the scientific methods. Further, we will develop dynamic partnerships between science teachers and UNM researchers, and will promote the community's understanding of current advances in health sciences. Lastly, we will broadly disseminate the project through a web-portal and other traditional and non-traditional venues to facilitate a quick adoption of the effective curriculum and other research tools developed through the project.


University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

The Science of Really Gross Things: Engaging Young Learners in Biomedical Science
Grant No. R25 OD 010522
Estimated Four-Year Award: $ 784,767

Principal Investigator
Denise Lee Young
Email: dlyoung@email.unc.edu

Website: http://www.moreheadplanetarium.org Link to external Website

Description:

Through "Addressing the Science of Really Gross Things: Engaging Young Learners in Biomedical Science Through a Fulldome Planetarium Show and Supporting Curricula," Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in close collaboration with NIH-funded researchers at the UNC and a leading children's book author, will develop an informal science education media project and a suite of hands-on, inquiry-based curricula based on the media project for use in science centers, museums and schools. This project will build the pipeline of future researchers and create awareness of NIH-funded research by generating interest and excitement among children age 9-13 in the health sciences and related careers and building their science content knowledge. To achieve the objective, the investigators will develop a fulldome planetarium show; create correlating curricula for summer camps, afterschool programs, scout programs, science center field trips, science clubs and schools; and produce a DVD highlighting careers in the health sciences. In addition, the project will use several methods to target populations traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical fields, including featuring professionals from underrepresented populations in the multimedia and curricula products, making outreach visits to counties with large populations traditionally underrepresented in health science research careers, and producing a Spanish-language version of the products. The use of a known brand, "Grossology," is an innovative way to connect to children in the target age range and to encourage the informal science education community to embrace health-science content in their fulldome theaters. In addition, the project's hub-and-spoke approach further encourages adoption of this programming by providing informal science venues with both an engaging experience (hub) and the supporting curricula (the spokes) that is necessary to extend the show's potential for having significant educational impact. A strong project team maximizes the project's likelihood for success. The team includes fulldome producers and educators from Morehead and NIH-funded researchers with expertise in appropriate science content areas. In addition, the investigators have created a network of consultants, advisory board members and evaluators that will create feedback loops designed to ensure high-quality, scientifically-accurate, educationally-effective products. The investigators will use a combination of free and revenue-based dissemination strategies to ensure that the products of this award are broadly distributed. These strategies hold significant promise for creating broad use of this project's products in the nation's science centers, museums and classrooms.


West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV

Teaching to Learn: WV-HSTA Students Take CBPR to Their Community
Grant No. R25 OD 010495
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,316,581

Principal Investigators
Ann L. Chester, Ph.D.
Email: achester@hsc.wvu.edu
Sara Hanks, Ph.D.
Email: shanks@hsc.wvu.edu

Website: http://www.wv-hsta.org/ Link to external Website

Description:

The Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) of West Virginia University Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center submits this proposal with the novel approach of using Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) focused on metabolic syndrome and prevention as the format, to bring together biomedical researchers and high school teachers to disseminate science education to 9th-12th grade students from medically underserved communities. The objective is to create a novel design to improve health literacy and biomedical science education in hard to reach under-served Appalachian populations. Critical components of CBPR will be embedded in a population-appropriate and age-appropriate context, with inquiry based experiences using metabolic syndrome as the medical focus and incorporating life-style interventions centered on nutrition and exercise. Students and teachers will partner with scientists in metabolic syndrome and prevention research projects involving life-style interventions, in which STUDENTS transmit their new knowledge and understanding to their families and to medically underserved communities. Underrepresented students will be encouraged to pursue careers in biomedical fields. Students leading in the education and community involvement will aid in dismantling barriers between researchers, clinicians, and patients from under-represented populations; and between researchers and potential under-represented participants in CBPR. This proposal will focus on the following specific aims: Specific Aim 1: To provide summer teacher professional development to 12 teachers/year while introducing CBPR opportunities to 160 11th grade students participating in a summer science enrichment experience. Specific Aim 2: To provide summer science enrichment to 160 11th grade under-represented students a year in "learning by doing" as they engage in biomedical labs working with scientists on different aspects of the metabolic syndrome. Specific Aim 3: To provide academic year science enrichment to 160 11th graders and 100 additional under-represented 9th -12th grade students/year in HSTA clubs across the state. The outcomes of the proposed project are to expand on the past grant's success of base-line data gathering to data gathering with interventions, and to understand a new broader topic --metabolic syndrome. The impact of this proposal is to make health information and prevention strategies easily understandable and interesting to under-served populations, and to improve the health of West Virginians through education on metabolic syndrome and its prevention.


University of Pennsylvania - School of Medicine

Philadelphia, PA

Resources for Education and Action for Community Health in Ambler (REACH Ambler)
Grant No. R25 OD 010521
Estimated Five-Year Award: $1,219,307

Principal Investigator
Frances K. Barg, Ph.D.
Email: bargf@uphs.upenn.edu

Co-Investigator
Edward Emmett, M.D., M.S.
Email: emmetted@mail.med.upenn.edu

Co-Investigator, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Jody Roberts, Ph.D.
Email: jroberts@chemheritage.org

Description:

The overarching goal of this project is to educate community members on environmental justice issues related to long term health effects from proximity to aging, hazardous industrial sites. We will focus on the communities of West and South Ambler, PA, where residents have had continuous occupational and environmental exposure to asbestos since the turn of the 20th century. Our proposal includes the use of a university-community-educational institution partnership to 1) develop an innovative museum exhibit that enables community members to relate the history of this community, 2) provide materials and resources that will challenge students and community based scientists to think about and address health problems in new ways, 3) enable community action groups to speak for the community in responsible ways, and to 4) serve as a case study for other communities that face similar challenges. In order to achieve this goal, we will accomplish the following: (1) Document the history of lower income African American and Italian immigrant asbestos workers, their families and their neighbors in West and South Ambler, PA from the period 1930 to the present. (2) Develop an accessible repository of documents, photographs, life stories, news media, and scientific data about the communities of South and West Ambler that can be used as resource material for students, community researchers and action committees. (3) Evaluate the reach, penetration, and actions that result from project activities. (4) Engage a diverse group of stakeholders in the industrially impacted community to think and act creatively about issues that affect health and welfare. Our overall goal and specific aims have emerged from a close partnership among Ambler community members, interdisciplinary faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Associate Director of the Environmental History and Policy Program at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, PA.

Center for Excellence in Environmental Toxicology
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
http://www.med.upenn.edu/ceet/index.shtml Link to external Website

Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
http://www.chemheritage.org/ Link to external Website


Contact Information

L. Tony Beck, Ph.D.
Program Officer, SEPA
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Division of Program Coordination,
Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI)
Office of the Director
National Institutes of Health
6701 Democracy Blvd, Room 206
Bethesda, MD 20817-1572
301.435.0805
beckl@mail.nih.gov

SEPA URL: http://www.nihsepa.org/ Link to external Website

This page last reviewed on May 25, 2017