Smart Program

  • Abstract

    Minority under-representation in medical education practice and research remains a significant problem nationwide. Even though American students in general perform more poorly in science and math than do students of many other countries the average science proficiency among black and Hispanic children is far below that of American white children. With America’s changing demographics poor and minority children must be provided with access and better opportunities to acquire strong science research and math backgrounds. This five-year educational program will support a new curriculum design that will utilize major clinical diseases affecting minority populations to interest and teach minority students about research and health careers. Each year of the grant will have one clinical focus that is important to the health care of this country: obesity cancer prevention asthma hypertension and coronary heart disease. Each fall the curriculum committee will develop the curriculum after a comprehensive needs assessment and evaluation of the previous year’s curriculum. The goal will be to teach anatomy pathophysiology epidemiology genetics behavior pharmacology and research applications using these disease models to gain and hold the students’ interest. Additionally there will be programmatic offerings for middle and high school teachers and parents as they play a very significant role in the educational future of American children. Specific Aims: (1) To implement age-appropriate programs for urban underrepresented minority students (and other students with a demonstrated need) in grades 8-12 that strengthen: Domain-specific knowledge in health science research and mathematics; domain-independent competencies necessary for academic and workplace success; and skills in higher order critical thinking and problem solving. (2) To promote awareness of and interest in careers in biological science research and health professions among 8th and 12th graders from he greater Newark area. (3) To expand for pre-college science teachers the base of health-related knowledge the practice of performance-based assessments and the use of innovated teaching modalities. (4) To enhance parents’ involvement in their children’s education by offering seminars and workshops that teach skills that will support their children’s progress. (5) To evaluate the effectiveness of the program in reaching its objectives by using a variety of assessment strategies. Settings: UMD-New Jersey Medical School and St. James Preparatory School in Newark NJ. Participants: 125 students will be recruited during the first year of the program. Middle and high school teachers will be recruited in years one through four of the program. Parents and/or legal guardians of the children who participate in the program will also be recruited.