ARRA IMPACT REPORT:
Health Science Education


Public Health Burden
Environmental Health Education
Making informed decisions about reducing personal environmental exposures and improving one’s health requires solid scientific and health literacy skills. However, environmental health science concepts are rarely taught in school, and few teachers possess the knowledge base necessary to teach these concepts effectively. Thus, the development of science education materials is necessary to ensure students gain the scientific and health literacy skills they need to protect their health. To meet this need, teachers must have easy access to quality classroom materials based on sound scientific evidence and the latest research that meet state and national standards.

The following ARRA projects have met this need:

  • WGBH Educational Foundation created and disseminated sixty new rich-media lesson plans and K-12 student activities on the PBS Teachers Domain (http://www.teachersdomain.org/special/enh/) using videos and supporting materials drawn from PBS television programs as well as materials developed by environmental health researchers and Federal agencies. Since 2010, the site has received more than 20,000 page views. The project will be moving to PBS Learning Media this year, which will provide teachers with even greater access to the quality materials. 1
  • WGBH Educational Foundation also completed a set of three self-paced lessons for K-12 students, and a set of four self-paced lessons for teacher professional development. These materials will help develop the environmental health literacy of students and strengthen the capacity of teachers to incorporate environmental health concepts in the classroom. 2
  • Through two STEM Summer Institutes (2010 and 2011) and two secondary methods classes offered at the College of Education at Wayne State University, teachers have successfully integrated environmental health topics and biotechnology techniques into their classrooms. Participating teachers and their students are connecting with community groups as well as city or township boards to identify and communicate their environmental health concerns. More importantly, the teachers and students are determining possible changes that can be made in their community to address the environmental health concerns. 3
  • The Air Pollution Outreach, Education, and Research Capacity Building in Alaska Native Villages project team developed culturally and regionally appropriate lesson plans and curricula as part of the Air Toxics Under the North Star program. The team then hosted two teacher training workshops to successfully implement the Program within eight remote/rural Alaskan Native communities. As a result, High School students are now learning about the importance of good indoor air quality and related respiratory health outcomes. 4

Contributing NIH Institutes & Centers

  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

  1. Reported in the PEPH 2012 Project Description Book. Accessible online at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/events/pastmtg/2012/annual-meeting-2012/materials/index.cfm
    1RC1ES018084-01 - SICKER, THEODORE - WGBH EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION - BOSTON - MA
  2. 1RC1ES018084-01 - SICKER, THEODORE - WGBH EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION - BOSTON - MA
  3. Reported in the PEPH 2012 Project Description Book. Accessible online at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/events/pastmtg/2012/annual-meeting-2012/materials/index.cfm
    1RC1ES018406-01 - DERESKI, MARY O - WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY - DETROIT - MI
  4. Reported in the PEPH 2012 Project Description Book. Accessible online at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/events/pastmtg/2012/annual-meeting-2012/materials/index.cfm
    1RC1ES018400-01 - WARD, ANTHONY JOHN - UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA - MISSOULA - MT