For Release: June 21, 2007
Contact: Deborah Kimbell, 603-653-0887 or (802-889-3270 cell)
Hughes Grant to DMS Will Promote Science Education Excellence in New Hampshire High Schools
HANOVER, NH—The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) today announced the award of a five-year, $750,000 grant to Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) to enhance high school health and science education in New Hampshire communities.
The grant will fund a collaboration among entities at Dartmouth, the New Hampshire (NH) Department of Education, the New Hampshire Science Teachers Association, the New Hampshire Area Health Education Center, and six New Hampshire high school districts. Program activities will include summer academies for science and health teachers and students.
DMS was one of only 31 institutions to receive a HHMI grant out of 297 eligible research schools and hospitals. $750,000 is the maximum award given.
Dr. Rosemary Orgren, assistant professor of community and family medicine at Dartmouth and director of the New Hampshire Area Health Education Center (AHEC), will serve as program director for "Promoting Science Literacy among High School Students in New Hampshire."
"We are honored and delighted to be one of the recipients of the HHMI award," Orgren said. "We believe the program we've designed will have a profound impact on how our schools teach science and health and how students become engaged and learn about these subjects."
This program builds on the success of AHEC's summer Health Careers Camp at Dartmouth for high school students, and on the ongoing efforts of the NH Department of Education to substantially revise its high school science curriculum, with special emphasis on opportunities for "real world learning" opportunities. Initially, high schools in the Northumberland, Newmarket, and Mascoma Valley districts will participate in the program. Three additional school districts will be added in Year 4.
There are four main components to the program:
- A "Health Detectives Club" for all interested students in which DMS graduate students will lead participants through simulations and case studies based on real events. Five sessions will be offered in each school throughout the year.
- A more intensive program for "Howard Hughes Research Scholars," 20 students chosen to participate in a summer academy, follow-up summer seminars, a yearlong community-based research project, and written and oral presentation of their work.
- A summer Teacher Institute to bring science and health teachers together with Dartmouth faculty and the Montshire Museum of Science to work on curriculum and teaching methods.
- Leadership and mentoring experience for DMS graduate students, who will direct student activities during meetings and provide ongoing support through weekly email and telephone correspondence.
In selecting Dartmouth's proposal, HHMI recognized the experience of the program's leaders with its summer Health Careers Camp. Now in its 4th year, the 4-day camp provides high school students interested in the health field with classroom instruction, hands-on experience at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, group projects, mock job interviews, and discussions that promote critical thinking. Highly popular with students and their advising faculty, this year the camp will offer two sessions to meet growing demand.
"From the feedback we've received from science teachers and guidance counselors who have referred students to our Health Careers camps, we know that there is tremendous interest in finding more ways for students to make connections between science and everyday life," said Orgren. "At the same time, we've heard from teachers and principals that they want professional development opportunities to enhance their ability to offer inquiry-based science instruction and meet the goals of the revised science curriculum. We think we've got a great chance with this program to serve both communities, while offering our graduate students a valuable teaching and mentoring opportunity. "
For more information about the HHMI Precollege Science Education Initiative and grant awards, go to http://www.hhmi.org/news/20070620.html. More information about the Health Careers Camp at Dartmouth, go to geiselmed.dartmouth.edu/camp/