Getting the word out: Teaching middle-school children about cardiovascular disease

Published:2008, Journal of Clinical Lipidology
Authors:Toepperwein MA, Pruski LA, Blalock CL, Lemelle OR, Lichtenstein MJ
Type:Project Generated

cardiovascular disease, health education

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has roots in childhood; since CVD begins early, a clear strong case for early education focused on CVD primary prevention exists. Scientists are not traditionally involved in disseminating health knowledge into public education. Similarly, public school teachers typically do not have access to biomedical research that may increase their students’ health science literacy. One way to bridge the ‘cultural’ gap between researchers and school teachers is to form science education partnerships. In order for such partnerships to be successful, teams of scientists and teachers must ‘translate’ biomedical research into plain language appropriate for students. In this article, we briefly review the need for improving health literacy, especially through school-based programs, and describe work with one model scientist/teacher partnership, the Teacher Enrichment Initiatives. Examples of cardiovascular research ‘translated’ into plain language lessons for middle school students are provided and practical considerations for researchers pursuing a science education partnership are delineated.