West Virginia Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) Student Design Public Health Clinical Trials
The goals are to guide students and teachers in research projects involving life-style interventions in communities where they transmit their new knowledge and understanding of research and clinical trials protocol to their parents and community members in order to: 1) Address critical barriers to progress in healthy lifestyles 2) Address critical barriers to demystifying clinical trials research through the use of a novel teaching format using mock clinical trial protocol as the foundation 3) Raise the level of rigor in the science training for both hsta teachers and hsta students 4) Excite hsta teachers to incorporate the mock clinical trial protocol curriculum in their classrooms 5) Provide academic enrichment in science and math to better prepare under-represented students for academic success in college 6) Stimulate student interest in biomedical research with particular attention to under-represented students.
The Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) of West Virginia University will implement this Phase I and II SEPA project with mock clinical trial protocol as a format to bring together biomedical and clinical researchers university faculty and community to disseminate science education to 9th-12th grade underrepresented students their high school teachers and to the general public. Critical components of clinical trials will be embedded in population-appropriate and age-appropriate context and inquiry-based experiences using diabetes as the disease system and life-style interventions focused on nutrition and exercise. Clinical trials protocol curriculum will be designed by both HSTA teachers and university faculty and used for both campus summer programming and academic year community-based student research projects. In W.Va. over 43 percent of children have been classified as at-risk or overweight. In the last decade W.Va. has recorded the highest diabetes-related deaths in the nation though it is believed to have a high prevalence of modifiable risk factors for diabetes and obesity. The objectives of this application are to demystify clinical trials for the general public with special attention to under-served populations and to improve the health of the state through education. The goal is to guide students and teachers in research projects involving life-style interventions for obesity and diabetes in communities where they transmit their new knowledge and understanding of research and clinical trials protocol to parents and community members. By doing so teachers will address critical barriers to progress in healthy lifestyles and demystify clinical trials research through the use of a novel teaching method. In addition the project will raise the level of science training for both teachers and students involved; excite teachers to incorporate the mock clinical trial protocol curriculum in their classrooms; provide academic enrichment in scienceand math to better prepare under-represented students for academic success in college; and stimulate student interest towards biomedical research with particular attention to under-represented students.
These HSTA students will transmit their new knowledge and understanding of research and protocol to their parents and community members. In Phase II the community based pilot will be expanded to include more students from other HSTA counties each year.
Each component of the program from Summer Institute to Community-based Clubs from workshops to retreats is assessed as to its effectiveness at meeting the goals and providing for the needs of students teachers and volunteers. HSTA uses multiple techniques to evaluate including pre-post surveys questionnaires focus groups tracking of individual student success through transcripts interviews and bimonthly reports from each region. We measure long term outcomes short term outcomes strategies outputs and inputs. We use multiple tools to measure each component. Examples of long term outcomes HSTA measures include goals of increasing Under Represented Students (URS) in health careers in underserved areas of WV 60% of HSTA college students will choose health careers 96% of HSTA graduates will go to college 70% of HSTA students will successfully graduate from HSTA and HSTA will improve conditions for learning science for URS. Examples of short term outcomes HSTA evaluates include HSTA has: increased student awareness of how to reduce negative impact of society on life choices provided opportunity for HSTA Teachers get Masters in Science Education increased student and teacher awareness of positive aspects of diversity increased student science and technology knowledge increased student motivation and performance in school increased opportunities to interact with like-minded peers improved students’ communication skills and helped students gain leadership skills through teamwork and networking to complete projects. Examples of outputs HSTA evaluates include: all HSTA teachers provide individual attention to URS in small groups in HSTA Clubs meetings at least 24hr/semester all HSTA students work on yearly science and technology projects to enhance their math and science skills all HSTA students present their projects at the yearly HSTA Symposium or during a Local Governing Board Meeting all HSTA students attend at least two Summer Institutes to experience research multiculturalism and university life together with like-minded peers Local Governing Boards meet monthly to oversee community activities Joint Governing Board meets monthly to oversee all of HSTA students provide over 75 hours of community service in health related capacities all successful HSTA graduates get the benefit of financial assistance in college through HSTA. Examples of strategies HSTA evaluates are Summer Institute programming community based clubs LGB and JGB meetings and retreats providing community role models for student club speakers providing opportunities for students to present scientific success and challenges through annual symposium. The inputs evaluated include funds well defined mission community leaders schools school leadership and teachers parents health care providers and researchers well skilled staff students universities and colleges and health sciences centers willing to engage in this endeavor tuition and fee waivers technology and community role models. HSTA was established in 1994 with HHMI funding for two counties ten teachers and 44 students. It now reaches 25 out of the 55 West Virginia counties approximately 800 current 9th-12th grade underrepresented students and 80 teachers. In April 1997 the WV State Legislature passed a bill allowing any state supported college or university to grant tuition and fee waivers to successful HSTA graduates. The 852 successful HSTA graduates to date are attending college at rates of 96% far higher than the state average of 56%. These students obtain significantly higher ACT’s and GPA’s (p<.0001) in high school and choose science technology and health majors 52% of the time far more frequently than the general population of WVU students (17%). HSTA graduates are more likely to stay in college; one of eight drops out where 1 out of 3 in the general population drops out in their freshman year. HSTA graduates are more likely to complete their undergraduate degree within six years (49% versus 32% of non-HSTA West Virginia college students). Of the approximately 237 HSTA students who have had time to complete their undergraduate degree 23% are already enrolled in graduate programs or professional schools. Already these students' earning power is $25940 annually more than their parents. Assuming that a student works for 30 years each student could average in excess of $778000 additional earnings over their career.
Resources for Sharing
Website: www.wv-hsta.org which hosts project ideas for math and science enrichment healthy lifestyle intervention strategies classroom curriculum and opportunities to collaborate on student projects.
9th-12th graders from under-served populations and their teachers
The Health Sciences and Technology Academy proposal is based on mock clinical trial protocol as a format to bring together biomedical and clinical researchers university faculty and community to disseminate science education to 9th-12th grade under-represented students their high school teachers and to the general public. Critical components of clinical trials will be embedded in population-appropriate and age-appropriate context and inquiry based experiences using diabetes as the disease system and life-style interventions focused on nutrition and exercise.