The HOPE Partnership is designed to enhance public understanding of biomedical and health-related research and the impact of this research on human health through the development and dissemination of public health science education materials The project partners include Community Outreach and Education Programs at Oregon State University University of Arizona University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Southern California/University of California Los Angeles University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison Through this initiative students teachers and the general public are gaining access to resources and information necessary to realize the impact of research on public health improving their scientific literacy The HOPE Partnership capitalizes on three established national health observances that focus on diseases to which many people can relate: Cancer Control Month (April) Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month (May) and Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (third week of October)
The UMDNJ-School of Public Health through the Community Outreach and Education Program (COEP) at the Center for Environmental Health Sciences a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Center of Excellence at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) proposes to conduct the HOPE Partnership (Health Observances & Public Education) a five-year Phase I and II Development and Dissemination project. This program will help to improve public understanding of the biomedical and health-related sciences and the impact of research on human health while determining the most effective outreach methods to achieve this goal. UMDNJ will direct this project in collaboration with seven COEPs based at universities nationwide. The HOPE Partnership will continue the collaborations established through the EH-STEP (Environmental Health Sciences Training and Education Program) initiative also supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Center for Research Resources National Institutes of Health (Grant No. R25 RR15621) through August 31 2003. Seven of the eight universities from EH-STEP that have demonstrated their ability to collaborate to increase public understanding of the biomedical and health-related sciences are part of the HOPE Partnership: Oregon State University; University of Arizona ; UMDNJ; University of Southern California/University of California Los Angeles; University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Vanderbilt University. These established partners will be joined by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill . The model comprises six components: health observances needs assessment action mechanisms public health science education materials scientist involvement and program evaluation. Program components will capitalize on three established national health observances (Cancer Control Month Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month and Lead Poisoning Prevention Week) to impact the target audiences (students teachers general public). A needs assessment will document the target audiences’ perceptions attitudes and knowledge of biomedical and health-related sciences. Utilizing the diverse experiences and expertise of this established network of COEPs and the needs assessment the HOPE Partnership will develop public health science education materials that will be disseminated through action mechanisms: community learning formal education informal education media non-profit organizations and science centers/children’s museums. Scientists will be involved throughout the initiative including the development of materials and the implementation of the action mechanisms. Formative and summative measures will be used to analyze all aspects including overall project effectiveness.
The HOPE Partnership’s educational materials are disseminated and evaluated through six action mechanisms (modes of dissemination) to allow project partners to reach a variety of audiences. The six action mechanisms and target audience(s) include: Community learning (general public) Formal education (middle/high school teachers and students) Informal education (middle/high school teachers and students and general public) Media (general public) Non-profit organizations (general public) Science centers/museums (middle/high school students)
GOAL AND DESIGN: Evaluation of the HOPE Partnership assesses the effectiveness of the public health science education model. The evaluation plan will demonstrate whether the HOPE Partnership has made a difference – whether the use of health observances educational materials and action mechanisms have enhanced public understanding of biomedical and health-related research. Evaluation is organized around the needs assessment and development pilot testing and implementation of program educational materials. INSTRUMENTS USED: Several evaluation forms have been developed to document the HOPE Partnership’s successes and areas for improvement. Focus groups were evaluated through participant questionnaires and evaluation forms. Implementation of the HOP educational materials through the action mechanisms is documented through participant questionnaires evaluation forms and an interview guide for all target audiences. Report forms are completed by project partners to document the strategies successes and areas of improvement for each focus group or implemented action mechanism. DATA COLLECTED: Participant questionnaires document participants’ demographic information science background interest in asthma and allergies lead poisoning and cancer research and understanding of research. Evaluation forms address best practices of focus group technique and action mechanism implementation. Report forms are completed by project partners after conducting focus groups and action mechanisms. PRELIMINARY RESULTS: Focus groups were first conducted by each project partner to understand the target audience’s perceptions and understanding about health-related research related to cancer asthma and allergies and lead poisoning to explore what information is desired about research results to help the public evaluate the value of the research and its impact on public health and to explore best methods for dissemination of health-related research. Select focus groups from each site were transcribed and analyzed using Atlas.ti (N=18). Results indicate that participants thought health-related research is important but do not generally understand the research process. Participants generally thought of health-related research as treatment-oriented and were skeptical about the role of the media on understanding health research.
Resources for Sharing
Educational materials for middle and high school teachers and students as well as the general public have been developed based on the results of the HOPE Partnership needs assessment The educational materials are designed to raise public awareness as to how research relates to the prevention detection and/or treatment of diseases addressed by the three selected health observances A health observance package has been created for each health observance. Each package contains fact sheets presentations and hands-on activities to highlight research advances among the target audiences: Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month Health Observance Package (HOP) Lead Poisoning Prevention Week HOP and Cancer Control Month HOP.
Middle and high school students and teachers and the general public.
Research on asthma and allergies lead poisoning and cancer and the environment.