Collaborations to Understand Research and Ethics (CURE)
While members of the general public enjoy the health benefits of biomedical research, they are usually unaware of the process that generates new treatments and cures, or the ethical standards that help ensure that research is responsibly conducted. NWABR's multi-faceted education outreach program, Collaborations to Understand Research and Ethics (CURE), increases understanding of these important aspects of research. Students and teachers learn about translational research - the process of applying basic research to the development of clinical therapies - as they connect with scientists in their laboratories and experience how ethical guidelines shape scientific progress. The CURE program will provide teacher professional development and curricular resources for middle and high school life science educators that target the science and ethics of translational research; create learning experiences for students that increase their understanding of translational research and ethics; and disseminate CURE resources and materials through an online teacher course, hands-on workshops and via the web. This SEPA is partnering with the University of Washington Institute of Translational Health Sciences, also funded by NCRR's Clinical and Translational Science Award program.
The Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR), a non-profit organization that advances the understanding and support of biomedical research, will utilize its extensive experience in bioethics teacher training and curriculum development as well as the partnership of its member research organizations to develop a highly collaborative and multi-faceted outreach program, "Collaborations to Understand Science and Ethics (CURE)."
Our long-term goals include increasing public understanding of both the nature of biomedical research and the relationship of science and ethics, with a special emphasis on translational research - the process of applying basic research to the development of clinical therapies. The specific aims of this project are to:
- Provide teacher professional development and curricular resources for middle and high school life science educators that target the science and ethics of translational research
- Provide learning experiences for students that will increase their understanding of translational research and ethics
- Disseminate the resources and materials developed through the CURE program
The following activities will be included:
- A "Biomedical Research-Science and Ethics" teacher professional development workshop that includes time with scientists in research facilities and discussions with individuals who review research protocols
- Development of a "Research Integrity" curriculum for secondary schools focused on the research process and ethical standards that apply to scientific conduct, the use of animals in research, and human clinical trials
- A "Biomedical Research Fellows" program for high school juniors from underrepresented minority backgrounds that provides laboratory visits, interactions with scientists, and a broad overview of the research process
- A "Youth Ethics Summit" that brings together students of teachers who have participated in our professional development to participate in interactive discussions with ethicists and other students and to showcase projects related to bioethics
Dissemination in Phase II will be accomplished by the development of an online teacher course in collaboration with the University of Washington, workshops, and through the web via partners such as the American Institute of Biological Science's ActionBioscience site. Program evaluation will utilize both qualitative and quantitative research measures, including experimental and control groups to examine the impacts of the teacher professional development program on student learning.
While members of the general public enjoy the vital health benefits of biomedical research, they are generally unaware of the process that generates new treatments and cures, or the ethical standards that help ensure that research is responsibly conducted. For example, there is considerable misunderstanding about how basic science relates to the development of drugs and therapies, why animals are needed, or how clinical trials are conducted. To ensure continued support for the research enterprise, it is necessary to promote understanding of the process of biomedical research and also to address its ethical considerations.