Building Bridges to Health Science Literacy

Project Website(s)

  • Project Description

    Aim 1: Introduce authentic problem-based learning (PBL) into Memphis learning communities Train K-12 science teachers to integrate PBL teaching and learning paradigms into their instructional strategies which conform to district state and national curriculum standards Facilitate PBL case development across grade levels Introduce PBL to UTHSC students and selected faculty Establish PBL case development teams populated with UTHSC students and K-12 PBL teachers to facilitate the incorporation and alignment of health science into current Memphis City Schools curriculum Aim 2: Promote health through genetic literacy Develop educational interventions that are focused and actionable. The focus of the first deliverable is genetic basis of type 2 diabetes including modules on how genes move through families explanation and model of genetic basis of complex disease and recommendations for assembling a family health history Disseminate through established avenues for health promotion such that genetic literacy becomes a component of overall health literacy Aim 3: Build community partnerships that promote the dissemination of health science content Introduce PBL into the interactive health science aspects of local museums using principles of PBL to promote health and science literacy Inject university expertise to promote common goals including health promotion through partnerships with local museums and other community venues with multiple sites

  • Abstract

    Building Bridges to Health Science Literacy proposes to raise the appreciation and understanding of health science research through community outreach. The project takes advantage of several established community resources: Memphis Science Partners Memphis Educational Computer Connectivity Alliance (MECCA) the Pink Palace Museum and the UT General Clinical Research Center. Memphis Science Partners and MECCA are established partnerships between the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the Memphis City Schools. The programs have brought hands-on science learning to underserved schools. Additionally a service-learning program brings professional students into the schools as role models and teachers. The first goal of this proposal is to use the foundation built by Memphis Science Partners to introduce authentic problem-based learning to Memphis schools. This teaching method will be developed in multiple academic and community venues in order to cultivate inquiry-based learning among underserved minority students and their families. These activities will contribute to the long-term well-being of the community and will prepare the next generation of health professionals. The second goal of this proposal is to develop an educational program within the General Clinical Research Center the primary site for clinical research at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. The educational program will focus on genetic research and will be delivered to research subjects. Through systematic step-wise development the educational program will illustrate and explain the process and goals of genetic research. By building off participants’ own experiences with illness and disease and by using common attributes of family and society the program will enable participants to knowledgeably incorporate genomic medicine into healthcare. By targeting individuals with a self-selected interest the program will promote advocacy among those already involved in clincal research. The genetics curriculum developed here will then be expanded and integrated into the service learning and museum activities. Through coordination with established programs these new efforts will accomplish significant outreach thereby enhancing health science literacy throughout the Memphis community and mid-South region.

  • Dissemination Strategies

    Present BBHSL content and findings at national and regional conferences and meetings Actively share the PBL model with similar institutions and informal learning environments Maximize regional and national outreach through promotion of genetic literacy and PBL strategies through website printed materials and presentations Disseminate information and products through the network infrastructure beyond Memphis City Schools to surrounding communities Expand collaboration efforts with Wake Forest University School of Medicine to develop more PBL modules and make them available to additional school systems

  • Project Evaluation(s)

    Aim 1: Problem-Based Learning – A mixed-methods evaluation approach is used for evaluating the PBL component of the BBHSL project. Findings of the teacher and student surveys questionnaires and focus groups were positive with regard to increasing teacher training in PBL and improving students’ higher-order thinking skills and persuasive writing skills with PBL use. The participants in the teacher training workshop particularly benefited from the hands-on aspects of the training. To date over 1200 students have participated in PBL activities delivered by 15 teachers. In addition to the teacher surveys and student questionnaires a problem-solving rubric has been added to the evaluation plan in order to further assess students’ gains in problem-solving. Aim 2: Heredity Project – Evaluation goals are to gauge the public’s level of genetic literacy in order to establish a baseline and then to leverage areas of familiarity and interest to enable health promotion through improved genetic literacy. Front-end evaluation used small group presentations to investigate feasibility of the project design and content. Based on these initial observations content for the first phase was defined. As each new content area is developed several rounds of formative evaluation are undertaken. Upon completion of each new content area quantitative evaluation will be conducted and data will be compiled as part of the summative evaluation. The primary means of data collection is a wireless audience response system coupled to multiple choice questions posed within PowerPoint presentations. Knowledge acquisition is assessed by pre-test/ post-test comparisons. Attitudes are assessed by Likert scale analyses. General attitudes toward genetics are queried as well as attitudes toward the educational intervention. Pre-test/post-test evaluation was tailored to the intervention and optimized to capture changes in knowledge. Validation of the first deliverable focused on genetic risk of type 2 diabetes is in progress. Aim 3: Community Outreach & Partnerships – The UTHSC College of Medicine hosted a mini-med school for Memphis City Schools (MCS) administrators and teachers. Approximately 50 attendees received information on various medical school topics heard testimonials from former MCS students who are now seeking professional degrees in health-related fields and interacted with several UTHSC faculty members. Project staff and faculty members assisted the Pink Palace Museum in designing hands-on genetics activities to coincide with the Gregor Mendel Exhibit as well as acting as speakers in a lecture series on genetics-related topics. An estimated 3000 exhibit visitors viewed this component and several hundred attended the lecture series. We trained 25 UTHSC faculty and staff to serve as tutors to work with math and reading enrichment at three schools near our campus; 50 medical students also served as tutors at these schools. We recruited 39 faculty staff and students to serve as judges in local science fairs.

  • Resources for Sharing

    An interactive website for providing PBL information to teachers An informational website providing students and the public with PBL content PBL cases and resources that are developed and shared with participants in BBHSL program and CERTL (Wake Forest University School of Medicine) Materials to promote genetic literacy which are developed for the Heredity Project (graphics and text currently available; website in development: PBL and genetics content integrated into suitcase and floor exhibits through a collaborative partnership with the Pink Palace Museum

Project Audience

1) K-12 teachers K-12 students and their families and 2) general public and individuals participating in clinical research