North Star (Phase I and II)
Goals: 1) Increase the number of Alaskans from educationally and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds particularly Alaska Natives who pursue careers in health sciences and health professions and 2) Inform the Alaskan public about health science research and the clinical trial process so that they are better equipped to make healthier lifestyle choices and better understand the aims and benefits of clinical research. Objectives: 1) Pre-med Summer Enrichment program (U-DOC) at UAA (pipeline into college) 2) Statewide Alaska Student Scientist Corps for U-DOC 3) students (pipeline into college) 4) Facility-based Student Science Guide program at Imaginarium Science Discovery Center 5) Job Shadowing/Mentorship Program for U-DOC students and biomedical researchers 6) Research-based and student-led exhibit demonstration and multi-media presentations 7) Professional Development for educators 8) North Star Website.
Alaska is a vast state equal to the combined areas of Texas California New York Pennsylvania Florida Massachusetts Virginia and Vermont yet it has half the road miles of Maryland a state 56 times smaller and with a population of just 626932. Alaska’s physical size lack of road access to most communities natural barriers and some of the earth’s harshest weather have limited the state’s ability to educate its citizens provide adequate health care and even to provide public water and
1) U-DOC and SSC students: Students will deliver and present their research-based exhibits demonstrations and curriculum directly to their rural village schools 2) Educators: Teachers will receive professional development training and hopefully weave additional health and science education into classroom curricula. 3) Website: To highlight student biomedical research projects to a world-wide audience.
The Imaginarium (IMG) and its partners developed an evidence-based framework for planning the North Star program. The importance of using logic models is noted in the legislatively mandated national Area Health Education Center (AHEC) evaluative report conducted by Ricketts et al. The National AHEC Organization (NAO) US Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and other HHS agencies have also endorsed this approach. The Alaska AHEC Program housed at the University of Alaska Anchorage used the logic model approach in planning its own program as well as other HRSA-funded Alaska-based programs which encourage youth from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds into health careers. Based on this experience with planning impact-driven programs and commitment to the success of the North Star program the Alaska AHEC partnered with the Imaginarium in designing the North Star evaluation strategies. Specifically the Alaska AHEC staff interviewed key staff in remote Alaska native communities faculty students health care professionals in tribal health organizations and health leaders. Approximately 30 interviewees participated in responding to a problem statement: Youth from disadvantaged backgrounds are not entering health professions. Following each interview a visual map depicting the relationship of the identified antecedent conditions was created. The map along with a short written summary was presented to each interviewee for validation. Upon receiving the validated interviews a single interview map for each goal area was developed. Using these three levels of evaluation there will be defensible data upon which to make programmatic decisions such as whether to continue investments or reallocate resources. For the North Star project each principal aim and its key program activities and objectives was assigned a series of process outcomes impact outcomes long-term outcomes and evaluation instruments to be used. Sample: Key program activities: Six week Summer Enrichment Program (U-DOC) and Alaska Teen Scientist Corps (ATS) Process outcomes: A minimum of 20 U-DOC participants each summer will complete the entire program. A minimum of 20 students will participate each year AND all of them will demonstrate health research projects to the public. Impact outcomes: 1 a) A minimum of 80% of U-DOC participants will be able to describe the academic requirements and professional responsibilities for 5 distinct health careers and 1 b) A minimum of 80% of U-DOC participants will demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in knowledge of biostatistics. Long term outcomes: 1-4 a) By the close of Year 4 at least 40% of former U-DOC ATS SSG ASF and Mentor students will be matriculated into college and 1-4 b) Of former U-DOC ATS SSG ASF and Mentor students in college at least 60% will indicate an intention to pursue a career in the health or science field. Evaluation instruments: 1 a) personal interviews by U-Doc staff and reported to external evaluator and 1 b) written participant evaluation instrument.
Resources for Sharing
1) Materials: written materials scripts curriculum and video production developed will be uploaded to the North Star website for public review will be shared with rural Alaskan communities. 2) Professional Development: Teachers receiving professional development training will share their experiences materials curriculum etc. each other and with their students as appropriate. 3) Dissemination Strategies 4) U-DOC and SSC students: Students will deliver and present their research-based exhibits demonstrations and curriculum directly to their rural village schools 5) Educators: Teachers will receive professional development training and hopefully weave additional health and science education into classroom curricula. 6) Website: To highlight student biomedical research projects to a world-wide audience.
1) Rural village junior and senior high students from off-road regions of Alaska (Interior North Slope and West Coast) 2) Juniors and seniors from 34 communities accessible via the Alaska Marine Highway System (ferry system) and it-s connecting roads (Southeast Southwest Peninsula and Aleutian Chain) 3) Middle and High school students in low income high racial mix neighborhoods of Anchorage 4) High School Educators (statewide) for professional development
Biomedical education and career opportunities (see objectives)