This project will equip teens with the skills to produce high quality, compelling health video content for the PBS NewsHour, local PBS stations and Student Reporting Labs (SRL) audiences, which will increase youth engagement with health sciences, including exposure to health science careers, through project-based learning resources that leverage storytelling and journalistic integrity. Building from previous SEPA research findings that showed success in a select number of journalism classes that produced health stories, SRL is ready to take our programming to the next level by working with STEM program leaders, educators and teens to create peer-to-peer STEM health reporting and educational resources supporting health literacy for a wide range of classrooms and STEM programs, focusing intentionally on strategies to include groups under-represented in STEM fields. This project will ultimately support hundreds of STEM educators and programs with the tools to communicate the value of health science, rebuild trust and introduce teens from diverse backgrounds to pathways for meaningful, lifelong engagement with health science issues, both as informed citizens able to combat misinformation and as the next generation of health professionals, in careers and contexts unimaginable today.
The need for health literacy and a diverse, socially-conscious health workforce is more evident than ever after two and a half years navigating a global pandemic, and growing mental health and environmental health crises. This proposal from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL), a teen-driven program from the nation’s most trusted news source, builds from the successes of previous SEPA work to provide high school youth with: 1.) tools to create evidence-based and ethically responsible journalism (primarily 1-4 minute videos) about critical health issues that impact their communities; 2.) introductions and inroads to health science careers that use storytelling to engage a diverse range of students; and 3.) strategies for effective communication around health science, including intergenerational dialogue and social media best-practices, for the general public. The initiative will provide a strong foundation of support for teens, educators, and other SEPA program leaders to produce high-quality content distributed to peers through an extensive student journalism network, online learning platforms, and traditional and digital broadcasting. A previous SEPA summative evaluation largely serves as the front-end evaluation for this proposed project. Researchers at Knology will use Year 1 to update all evaluation instruments and create a mixed-methods evaluation with students and educators in years 2-4 of the grant for both formative and summative purposes. Findings will measure the impact on programs and participants, including other SEPA projects, and result in a map of the full ecosystem of health learning opportunities created during the grant period and their effectiveness, including student-created stories, health practitioner profiles, lesson plans and other learning opportunities. Student-produced videos will be supplemented with expertly- crafted educational resources distributed to a wide national audience of teachers, formal and informal educators, and STEM program leaders. Through these elements – student health journalism, health science career content, and storytelling strategies for science communication – the project will drive engagement and understanding around health science and public health in young people to support an informed, inquisitive, and involved citizenry.