Project PATHS is a program designed to improve the educational achievement of Hispanic students of the Dallas Independent School District. While Hispanic students are the principal target participants all students may participate in PATHS activities. The PATHS program attempts to increase high students- interest in health and science careers. Project PATHS is a 3-year K-12 science education program which began in 2004 and goes through 2007. Project PATHS is a partnership between the University of North Texas University of North Texas Health Science Center North Dallas High School and Molina High School. The two primary goals of Project PATHS are to: 1. Increase the representation of Hispanics in the health/science professions by establishing a health sciences club to promote health science professions via presentations and field trips. 2. Promote health-related lifestyle changes by adding an additional health module that has been integrated into the regular health curriculum. Specific objectives include: A. Increasing the number of Hispanic students taking college entrance exams by 10% B. Increasing the number of Hispanic students who report interest in health/science professions by 10% C. Improving participants- healthy lifestyles related to Health People 2010 Leading Health Indicators.
The Hispanic population of the United States is one of the fastest growing minority groups. According to the 2000 U.S. Census Hispanics comprised 12.5% of the U.S. population and are expected to exceed 20% of the population by 2035. Hispanics suffer disparities in morbidity and mortality due to violent crime accidents diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity (USDHHS 2000). The leading cause of death for Hispanics is cardiovascular diseases. In addition Hispanics are vastly underrepresented in the attainment of educational degrees and represent extremely small percentages of those employed in health/science-related professions. In order to address these two issues facing the Hispanic community the Department of Kinesiology Health Promotion and Recreation at the UNT-Denton together with the School of Public Health at the UNT Health Science Center propose Participation And Training in Health Sciences (Project PATHS) a three-year health promotion initiative. Project PATHS will engage North Dallas High School students who are predominantly Hispanic in culturally appropriate health/science promotion activities and experiences. The two primary goals of Project PATHS are to 1) increase the representation of Hispanics in the health/science professions and 2) promote health related life style changes. Specific objectives include: 1) increasing the number of Hispanic students taking college entrance exams by 10% 2) increasing the number of Hispanic students who report interest in health/science professions by 10% 3) improving participants’ healthy lifestyles related to Healthy People 2010 Leading Health Indicators. The intervention is based on an ecological model that will involve students through a school-based culturally competent curriculum and facilitate a supportive environment through the collaborative efforts of several academic institutions.
1. School and Community meetings/presentations (PTA meetings Community College/University and Career Fairs etc.) 2. Internet Website (see http://www.paths.unt.edu) 3. Program and Research Presentations at Local State National and International Proceedings and Conferences.
Evaluation goals: 1. Increasing the number of Hispanic students taking college entrance exams by 10% – This goal will be evaluated at the end of Project PATHS intervention by examining data provided by the Texas Education Agency. 2. Increasing the number of Hispanic students who report interest in health/science professions by 10% – Preliminary data has been collected on this goal. Ongoing data collection is being conducted on 6 key health/science professions identified in the U.S. Census (i.e. dentistry nursing optometry pharmacy physician podiatry). 3. Improving participants’ healthy lifestyles related to Health People 2010 Leading Health Indicators – Preliminary data has been collected on this goal. Evaluation design: A quasi-experimental design was used to investigate the impact of Project PATHS. A 2×2 (intervention by occasion) design permitted tests of the intervention occasion and the intervention by occasion interaction effects. Analyses included repeated measures ANOVA and Chi-Square. Type of data collected: Quantitative data from surveys administered to intervention and control participants were obtained. YRBSS-based lifestyle behavior questions and career interests were measured. Qualitative data from group interview sessions were obtained from intervention participants. Results of data analysis: The PATHS intervention has generated significant (p<.05) increases in health/science career interest that have exceeded the 10% goal. However that finding has not been consistent across all statistical comparisons. Results for the YRBSS-based health behavior questions have not produced significant effects. Qualitative analysis indicated acceptance and approval by participants of the near-peer mentoring approach.
Resources for Sharing
1. PATHS Health Class Curriculum and Lesson Plans Adapted from Salud Para Su Coraz
Project PATHS is a near-peer mentoring intervention conducted at an inner city high school located in downtown Dallas TX. Students involved in the program represent grades 9 to12. Most identify themselves as Hispanic.
Culturally appropriate health and science promotion activities and experiences are provided to increase interest in the health/science professions and healthy lifestyles.