Youth Take Heart — Phase I & II

  • Project Description

    1. Develop disseminate and evaluate a middle school education program covering heart anatomy and physiology diet and lifestyles that promote heart health and bioengineering strategies to repair damaged heart and blood vessels. 2. Develop and implement a workshop to train middle school teachers in a heart health curriculum including physiology disease prevention and bioengineering. 3. Educate underrepresented groups who are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and who are underserved in science mathematics and technology. 4. Raise awareness about careers in health medicine science and research through hands-on inquirybased activities and web- and CD-ROM-based interactive games. 5. Create forums for the general public to learn from scientists and clinicians about the current state of cardiovascular research and strategies for heart disease risk reduction.

  • Abstract

    As atherosclerosis obesity and sedentary habits are known to be formed in childhood and adolescence cardiovascular education among our youth today could have a major impact on reducing the incidence and prevalence of heart disease in the future. The Youth Take Heart (YTH) program is a collaborative project between the University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials Engineering Research Center (UWEB ERC) The Hope Heart Institute (HHI) and the Washington Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program. Phase I will focus on four main components: 1. Development/testing of an interactive Internet and CD-ROM program titled “Guy Simplant: The Heart” (the character “Guy Simplant” was created by UWEB to introduce biomaterials to middle school students) to teach about the anatomy and physiology of the heart heart disease prevention and newly emerging bioengineering solutions for repairing or replacing the heart; 2. Development of a corresponding cardiovascular health laboratory kit and curriculum module by leading health/science teachers and scientists; 3. Development of a YTH public lecture and parent training series and; 4. Creation of a YTH newsletter and brochures. Phase II will focus on the dissemination of the Guy Simplant game curriculum laboratory kits newsletters brochures and implementation of the lecture series using a collaborative model of marketing and dissemination. We will primarily target approximately 5000 MESA students (80% of whom are under-represented minorities and women). Our ultimate goal is to reach all youth in WA and the nation specifically targeting under-served populations who traditionally lack information on careers in math engineering medicine and science and who are also at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. The project will fulfill WA State’s Essential Academic Learning Requirements in Science and Health 1-3 and provide tools for understanding scientific concepts and principles. The project uses the fedral government’s Healthy People 2010 initiative guidelines which challenge individuals and communities to take steps to ensure good health and a long life are enjoyed by all. Youth Take Heart will help enhance the cardiovascular health and quality of life for numerous students through the teaching of medical management prevention and control of risk factors for heart disease.

  • Dissemination Strategies

    1. Recruit teachers whose schools serve underrepresented student populations. 2. Website with heart health information and bioengineering content. 3. Participate in community events reaching over 2500 Seattle community members. 4. Distribute a heart health newsletter to YTH students- families.

  • Project Evaluation(s)

    PURPOSE: Allow staff to make data-based decisions to improve delivery foster accountability and determine whether the project is achieving its goals. GOALS: a) Document project outcomes b) Guide project improvement efforts c) Measure student learning d) Investigate impact on teachers’ professional development e) Document the extent of dissemination. INSTRUMENTS: Survey of the Summer Teacher Institute pre- and post-surveys for students online teacher surveycommunity outreach survey and process evaluation interviews. SURVEY FOR THE SUMMER TEACHER INSTITUTE (19 teachers 2007; 46 teachers total) – Gathers information from teachers regarding satisfaction with content and structure of the Institute professional development opportunities and anticipated application of YTH activities in the following academic year. Teachers reported that the institute increased their knowledge of community resources that the guest speakers were a valuable part of the institute the content was relevant to their teaching they felt prepared to integrate YTH materials in their classrooms and would recommend it to others. PRE AND POST SURVEY FOR STUDENTS (1096 students in 2006-2007; 984 students in 2005-2006) – Questions pertain to acquisition of a range of skills and knowledge; attitudes toward heart-healthy behaviors; and interest in a career in biomedical research or a related field. Students’ backgrounds: 25% identifying as more than one race 11% Black/African American 2% Pacific Islander 2% Native American 14% Asian and 46% White. Significant gains pre/post (p < .05) on student attitudes about their health the degree that they thought about health outside of school the belief that they can remain healthy throughout their lives and understanding the connection between learning about science and health. Student content knowledge significantly increased pre/post (p < .05) concerning composition of the heart and blood how blood flows through the heart goals of bioengineers and how they build blood vessels and food required for good health. 70% or more of the students agreed that their participation in YTH activities increased their confidence to choose healthy food and made them want to exercise more. ONLINE TEACHER SURVEY – Gathers information from teachers after using YTH curriculum. Survey items include ratings of activities student learning challenges gaps in information and curriculum suggestions. All teachers rated the activities as Good or Very Good with some improvement needed in explaining unfamiliar terms. GUY SIMPLANT FOCUS GROUP – Students gave feedback after playing a pilot version of the Guy Simplant video game. Overall students enjoyed the game recommended it for middle school and gave suggestions for improvement. Most suggestions were incorporated into the final version. COMMUNITY OUTREACH SURVEY – Measures satisfaction knowledge application of heart-health concepts and the effects of family night activities. Results indicated that more than 70% of community members of all ages learned new information about heart health and bioengineering and learned how bioengineering affects their lives. PROCESS EVALUATION INTERVIEWS – Interviews held with staff and leadership team members each year. This process documents outcomes helps fine-tune implementation processes and guides future work. Staff described the talents of the staff goals of sustainability for the program and personal professional goals. The staff sees YTH as an integral part of the in-class curriculum and local community programs.

  • Resources for Sharing

    1. Youth Take Heart Middle School and Family Heart Night Curricula 2. Parent/Guardian Newsletters – with heart-healthy information in English and Spanish 3. Guy Simplant interactive heart health video game 4. Evaluation materials including surveys and results.

Project Audience

Middle school students teachers and families; underserved groups in Washington State.

Subjects Addressed

Heart physiology disease prevention health and fitness choices; bioengineering and biomedical research related to cardiovascular disease.