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Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community was implemented by Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and the Hall of Health. The project’s success depended on collaboration with the Oakland Unified School District, Fruitvale Elementary School, Hoover Elementary School, the Biology Scholars Program, FACES for the Future, Explorit Science Center, Leapfrog, Inc., Exploratorium, Lawrence Hall of Science, and The Tech Museum.

Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI)
As a research facility affiliated with a pediatric medical center, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) is uniquely equipped to develop and implement a project such as Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community. CHORI is a medical research institute of international renown, with an annual research budget of over $40 million. More than 200 basic and clinical researchers come together at CHORI in an environment that fosters collaboration and an exchange of ideas for saving and improving the lives of children. While research is targeted generally toward pediatric diseases, investigative results may have far-reaching implications for people of all ages in areas such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and aging.

Hall of Health
The Hall of Health, a hands-on health museum and science center founded in 1974, was sponsored by Children’s Hospital & Research Center at Oakland (CHRCO) from 1989 to 2009. The Hall of Health was dedicated to promoting wellness and individual responsibility for health. The philosophy of the museum, which was located in downtown Berkeley, was that health and human biology go hand in hand: an understanding of how the body works provides a meaningful context for all of the practices that promote good health. More than 350,000 visitors of all ages used the museum’s interactive exhibits to learn about the workings of the body, the value of sound diet and exercise, and the destructive effects of smoking and drug abuse.

Oakland Unified School District
(All statistics are from 2007)
Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is a large urban district with 67 elementary schools (grades K-5); 16 middle schools (grades 6-8); 6 comprehensive senior high schools (grades 9-12) and 12 alternative education centers serving students from grades 6-12. The District’s population of approximately 50,000 students is 45% African American, 30% Latino, 18% Asian/Pacific Islander, 5.5% Caucasian, .5% Native American and 1% other. A majority of Oakland students are from low- or moderate-income families—nearly 60% qualify for free or reduced price lunch. More than 32 languages are spoken in Oakland schools and 35% of OUSD students are English Learners. The District’s high school dropout rate has improved markedly in recent years, but is still higher than the statewide average. This level of academic and social need among OUSD students poses a great challenge, but also represents an opportunity for innovative education programs such as Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community.

Fruitvale Elementary School
Fruitvale, a K-5 elementary school in the Oakland Unified School District, has more than 700 multi-culturally diverse students. There are two main language groups for bilingual classes, Vietnamese and Spanish, but there are over 10 other languages in use at the school. Fruitvale Elementary School seeks to prepare these diverse students to continue their education through college or vocational school. The energetic and dedicated staff is always working hard to improve instruction for the students. They are very proud of their wonderful parent involvement and community partnerships, representing many hours of volunteer time at their school.

Hoover Elementary School
Hoover is a K-5 elementary school in the Oakland Unified School District. There are over 400 students enrolled in the school, many of whom come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Through classroom instruction and after-school programs, Hoover is dedicated in its mission to encourage students to learn and seek higher education.

Biology Scholars Program
The Biology Scholars Program (BSP), funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is a diversity program in UC Berkeley’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. The goal of BSP is to increase the diversity of Berkeley students who succeed in their biology majors and careers. Program components include a course introducing new students to the “culture” of the university; university science, academic and personal advising; academic support that promotes collaborative learning and encourages student participation; funded research opportunities and internships both on and off-campus; mentoring by culturally sensitive faculty and staff; and student networking/peer advising in both an academic and social context. Since the program was established in 1992, minority BSP members have graduated with biology degrees in equivalent percentages and with GPAs equivalent to non-BSP majority students in spite of entering the University with lower high school GPAs and SAT scores. Participants in the Biology Scholars Program were recruited for presenter positions in Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community. Presenters taught the classroom lessons and presented activities at the family festivals.

FACES for the Future
FACES for the Future is a novel program developed at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. This multifaceted, three-year educational program aims to prepare underrepresented youth, who reflect our ethnically diverse communities, for careers in all areas of the health professions and biomedical research. By actively recruiting and preparing a student pool that reflects California’s diversity, FACES hopes to ensure a future healthcare workforce that is capable of meeting the health needs of multiethnic communities. FACES also aims to assist local public schools in motivating and preparing underrepresented, at-risk high school students for entry into college, health care/research careers, and other viable employment opportunities in the healthcare industry. In addition to introducing students to health and research careers, FACES strives to ensure access to support services that address the cultural, health, academic, and psychosocial needs of each student. The overarching goal is to establish opportunities for the continuous support of underrepresented students as they progress through the educational process (elementary to professional), via an extensive network comprised of educational, community and medical/research partners. FACES interns were recruited for presenter positions in Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community. Each FACES presenter was paired with a Biology Scholar to present activities in the classroom and at the family festivals.

Explorit Science Center
Explorit Science Center, founded in 1982, is located in Davis, California. Its mission is “To involve people in science experiences that touch our lives.” This small, hands-on, science center serves about 60,000 people a year in a ten to twelve-county region. Explorit serves the general public and school groups at its facility and also provides schools and communities with a selection of traveling programs. Explorit’s Health in Your World program was used for the 2005 family festival of Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community and provided inspiration for the SEEK Family Health and Science Festival. In addition, Explorit hosted the Your Genes & Your Choices exhibit.

LeapFrog, Inc.
A leader in the education technology market, LeapFrog develops revolutionary ways to help teachers teach and students learn. LeapFrog products use a multisensory approach that captures students’ attention and makes them full participants in the learning process. LeapFrog SchoolHouse develops and publishes award-winning assessment and curriculum content for PreK–Grade 8. Interactive, research-based programs are designed specifically to meet the needs of today’s classroom. LeapFrog tools and programs enable teachers to personalize student instruction, instantly assess and monitor student progress relative to state and national standards, and easily integrate the programs into classroom learning. The SEEK curriculum uses Quantum Pads and an interactive book on asthma developed by LeapFrog.

Housed within the walls of San Francisco’s landmark Palace of Fine Arts, the Exploratorium is a collage of hundreds of interactive exhibits in the areas of science, art, and human perception. The Exploratorium stands in the vanguard of the movement of the “museum as educational center.” It provides access to, and information about, science, nature, art, and technology. This unique museum was founded in 1969 by noted physicist and educator Dr. Frank Oppenheimer, who devoted his efforts to it—and was its director—until his death in 1985. Dr. Dennis M. Bartels, a nationally known science education and policy expert, became Executive Director of the Exploratorium in 2006. Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community received advice and assistance from the staff of the Exploratorium’s Microscope Imaging Station, a SEPA project.

Lawrence Hall of Science
Established in 1968, Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) is a public science center with exciting hands-on experiences for learners of all ages. LHS is a national leader in the development of model programs for teaching and learning science and mathematics. Family Health: Explorations for Schools and Science Centers is an LHS project that has been funded by a SEPA grant from the National Institutes of Health, as well as by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The Family Health staff, working with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Center for Community Wellness, develops innovative hands-on health science activities and follow-up materials for participating schools in the Bay Area. The program also collaborates with parent and teen health promoters at participating schools. Some of the project activities include: Medical Mystery Festivals at schools and community sites presented in Spanish and English; Teen Health Theatre performances by high school students; and annual Family Health Conferences that bring together parents, teens, teachers, healthcare professionals and community partners. The Family Health project and Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community shared student activities to maximize the effectiveness of both programs.

The Tech Museum
With over 200 interactive, hi-tech exhibits, The Tech Museum in downtown San Jose is unlike any other museum in the world. One can learn about communication networks, new frontiers in science, lasers, Silicon Valley inventions, biotechnology, and other cutting edge technologies that influence us all. The museum also includes a 360-degree IMAX theater. The Tech is singularly focused on inspiring the innovator in everyone it reaches. Truly hands-on and interactive exhibits, divided among themed galleries, offer guests a memorable experience. Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community received advice and assistance from the staff of The Tech’s SEPA project, Life’s New Frontier: Public Health Genetics.


Revised: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 3:33 PM

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