EvidenceWorks: How Doctors Use Evidence-based Medicine

  • Project Description

    EvidenceWorks is an innovative Phase I and II SEPA project that uses real physicians in filmed hospital settings and evidence-based medicine tools to explore and understand the importance of published clinical trials. EvidenceWorks will: Engage student interest in clinical trials through filmed hospital patient encounters Explore real clinical trials using mathematics (EBM tools) and higher-level critical thinking Promote understanding of the importance of clinical trials research in medical practice

  • Abstract

    The goal of EvidenceWorks is to improve high school teachers’ and students’ understanding of the clinical trial process and the advances in health science that arise from such trials. We have assembled a partnership that brings together physicians from Maine Medical Center (the major teaching hospital in Maine), a core of master teachers, the Center for Curriculum Development of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), experts in teacher professional development from the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, and the staff of ScienceWorks for ME. The objective is to develop a novel curriculum that will pique the interest of high school students in clinical trials research while building critical science and mathematics knowledge and skills. To accomplish this, the project will develop, pilot, and field-test medically focused inquiry-based curriculum units for advanced high school biology classes. The curricular units will introduce the evidence-based medicine (EBM) process of asking answerable questions, searching the medical literature for clinical trials, and evaluating evidence from trials. The units will be aligned with national and state standards thereby supporting learning areas of mathematics and science in a real-world context. EvidenceWorks will engage high school students in medical challenges via filmed vignettes of hospital rounds. A team of master teachers and medical doctors will define the clinical scenarios that provide a setting for framing the medical questions about therapy and diagnosis. The films introduce the clinical problem and provide background medical information students will need to understand the context for asking an EBM question. The curricular units will be piloted by the master teachers in their advanced science classes in years 2 and 3. Additional high school teachers will be recruited from New England in year 3 to attend a field-test Institute introducing them to EvidenceWorks. Teachers will field-test the pilot curriculum with their students during the academic year. During the final two years of the project, professional development and dissemination will occur through conference presentations, one-day workshops at state science meetings, three- and five-day sessions at summer institutes in Maine, and school district requested three-day institutes in various locations. EvidenceWorks materials and associated professional development will also be offered through the NSTA bookstore.

  • Dissemination Strategies

    The objective of this portion of the project was re-focused to provide the curriculum in formats that do NOT require teacher professional development. Thus, the original paper and pencil lessons were written to include detailed teacher instructions, and the online and ebook versions include instructional video making the curriculum self-instructional. The specific aims of the dissemination are to: host a web site (evidenceworksremote.com) that provides background and resources for teachers and students interested in learning about evidence-based medicine with links to the 3 final forms of the curriculum: paper & pencil, online or ebook. make PDF versions of the curriculum available for free download with accompanying links to YouTube videos of the curriculum units’ films. This version is for teachers interested in using the paper and pencil format in their classrooms. host a self-instructional student version using the Moodle learning management system that can be used by individual students or as a “blended” course in the classroom. make a self-instructional ebook for iPad version of the curriculum units available through the iTunes bookstore and the Maine Department of Education’s iTunes U site. make PDF versions of lesson plans for teachers interested in teaching a blended course in EBM with either the online or ebook version of the curriculum.

  • Project Evaluation(s)

    To provide a comprehensive framework for the triangulation of evidence and to increase the validity, reliability, and generalizability of findings, a mixed-method approach will be employed in the evaluation. The evaluation plan is designed to collect evidence and provide answers to five core questions: To what extent does an evidence-based medicine-infused curriculum influence student interest in medically-related career choices? To what extent does the new curriculum using filmed hospital patient encounter vignettes enhance teachers’ understanding of evidence-based medicine and how they learn and teach? What is the impact of asking students to use higher-level critical thinking to appraise clinical trials on teachers instruction and use of resources in curriculum development? To what extent does the use of inquiry in the EvidenceWorks curriculum affect how master teachers assess science instruction in their schools and guide new teacher professional development during the dissemination phase? What is the impact of EvidenceWorks on participating research scientists’ understanding of education and their role in its improvement? Both formative and summative evaluation evidence will be collected and forwarded to appropriate stakeholders (i.e., formative to project staff and summative to funding agency). Formative evaluation evidence will be shared with project staff on a yearly basis to inform program modifications in a timely manner. Written formative evaluation reports will be produced at the end of each contract year, and a final written summative report will be developed at the end of the grant period.

  • Resources for Sharing

    The EvidenceWorks web site provides the field-tested curriculum units in 3 formats: as a PDF for the paper and pencil format, as online Moodle courses, or as ebook for iPad – all of which are free!

Project Audience

Advanced high school biology teachers and students; college students