Science Teaching Excites Medical Interest (STEMI), a collaboration among an academic health science center faculty and graduate students, a nationally-recognized Telehealth dissemination capacity, and Mississippi science teachers, will improve the quality of high school teacher training and facilitate electronic delivery of rigorous science lessons to students across the state and beyond. Improving the development of the state’s future health science workforce will help address access-to-care disparities and meet the public health needs of the state’s currently under-served population.
Science Teaching Excites Medical Interest (STEMI), a collaboration among University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) biomedical research experts and graduate students, UMMC’s nationally acclaimed Telehealth capacity, and K-12 Mississippi school districts, proposes a technology-enhanced, teacher- centered Community of Health Learners focused on public health topics of obesity and associated cardiovascular disease (CVD). The STEMI community will develop, evaluate the efficacy of and broadly disseminate high school learning products that address these issues. UMMC faculty in bioscience, anthropology, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, and program evaluation will guide high school science teachers from schools representative of the state’s diversity of experiences and resources in new technological approaches with which to engage students in exploration of causal relationships among low health literacy, obesity, and ensuing anatomic and functional pathophysiology. STEMI will engage teachers in flipped learning/classroom (FL/C) science instruction, providing them with the tools to deliver to students’ novel learning modules aligned with Next Generation Science Standards that specifically address CVD concerns directly impacted by nutrition and obesity. A UMMC anthropologist will facilitate networked approaches for creative teaching of social determinants of health, their impact on health disparities, and CVD. Summative, multisite, telecast presentations will also be created to broadly introduce school communities, peers and families to the STEMI Community of Health Learners. Four cadres of teachers will be guided through 2-year cycles of CVD-themed, didactic summer and weekend training aimed at: 1) design of FL/C explorations of obesity and health; 2) incorporation of classroom technology tools; and 3) electronic facilitation of interactive presentations on obesity, health literacy and CVD across school sites. These teachers, including 8 veterans in the first cycle and 8 early- midcareer teachers in the next 3 groups, will collaborate with UMMC graduate students in clinical anatomy (CA) to: 1) develop skills and practices that encourage entry into careers informed by biomedical sciences; 2) connect with peers and educators through projects that evaluate scientific findings; 3) learn methods for communicating public health issues; 4) gain fluency in state-of-the-art technologies; and 5) further technological collaborations that provide solutions to contemporary problems science education dilemmas. STEMI will validate a model collaborative training network, the structure and focus of which can be replicated by any academic health science center with a desire to advance Next Generation Science Standards and to promote excellence in STEM education.