SciEd Conference Poster
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BRAINedu: A Window into the Brain/Una ventana al cerebro, is a project that will provide Hispanic children and families with bilingual media resources about brain structure and function, neuroscience careers and mental health.
BRAINedu will engage communities nationwide with standards-based content and programming, including educational outreach programs for youth and their families; training of educators and local health workers in Hispanic communities; role model media production of Latino neuroscientists, and the use of award-winning Twin Cities PBS productions on brain health-related topics like Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and depression. The multi-year project’s advisors include members of the National Council of La Raza, The National Alliance for Hispanic Health, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health.
Twin Cities PBS BRAINedu: A Window into the Brain/Una ventana al cerebro, is a national English/Spanish informal education project providing culturally competent programming and media resources about the brain’s structure and function to Hispanic middle school students and their families. The project responds to the need to eliminate proven barriers to Hispanic students’ STEM/neuroscience education, increase Hispanic participation in neuroscience and mental health careers and increase Hispanic utilization of mental health resources.
The program’s goals are to engage Hispanic learners and families by
- empowering informalSTEM educators to provide culturally competent activities about the brain’s structure and function;
- demonstrating neuroscience and mental health career options; and
- reducing mental health stigma, thus increasing help-seeking behavior.
The hypothesis underpinning BRAINedu’s four-year project plan is that participating Hispanic youth and families will be able to explain how the brain works and describe specific brain disorders; demonstrate a higher level of interest of neuroscience and mental health careers and be more willing to openly discuss and seek support for brain disorders and mental health conditions.
To achieve program goals, Twin Cities PBS (TPT) will leverage existing partnerships with Hispanic-serving youth educational organizations to provide culturally competent learning opportunities about brain health to Hispanic students and families. TPT will partner with neuroscience and mental health professionals, cultural competency experts and Hispanic-serving informal STEM educators to complete the following objectives:
- Develop bilingual educational resources for multigenerational audiences;
- Provide professional development around neuroscience education to informal educators, empowering them to implement programming with Hispanic youth and families, and
- Develop role model video profiles of Hispanic neuroscience professionals, and help partner organizations produce autobiographical student videos.
We will employ rigorous evaluation strategies to measure the project’s impact on Hispanic participants: a) understanding of neuroscience and brain health, particularly around disorders that disproportionately affect the Hispanic community; b) motivation to pursue neuroscience or mental health career paths; and c) mental health literacy and help-seeking behavior. The project will directly reach 72 Hispanic-serving informal STEM educators and public health professionals, and 200 children and 400 parents in underserved urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide.
To accomplish BRAINedu’s outreach goals, Twin Cities PBS is tapping into its SciGirls STEM Partner Network. This national network includes 200+ partner organizations in 34 states and Puerto Rico, about a quarter of which are located in Hispanic communities and provide Spanish-language programming. More than 4,000 educators nationwide have been trained in Twin Cities PBS’ research-based principles of gender equitable and culturally competent STEM education, who have engaged more than 60,000 girls and boys at STEM-themed classes, camps, clubs, after-school initiatives and more. BRAINedu will enrich and expand this existing programming.
Resources for Sharing
Alicia Santiago & Kassy Rousselle (Fall, 2020). Breaking Down Cultural Barriers to STEM education for Middle Schoolers. Afterschool Today.
Twin Cities PBS (TPT)’s mission is to enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media. Established in Saint Paul 58 years ago, TPT now operates as a public service media organization that harnesses a range of media tools to serve citizens in new ways — with multiple broadcast channels, online teaching resources, educational outreach and community engagement activities.
“Twin Cities PBS has over thirty years of experience creating culturally responsive, standards-based STEM programming for diverse learners,” said the STEM Department’s Managing Director Rita Karl. “We are pleased to have this opportunity to work with—and learn from—our country’s diverse and rapidly growing Hispanic community.”
Hispanic children and families
Brain structure, brain function, neuroscience, neuroscience careers, mental health