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We are not permitted to choose the frame of our
destiny, but what we put into it is ours.
—Nobel Laureate Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961)
Bringing science to teens
By Kate Villars
A recent grant to Dartmouth Medical School from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) will allow DMS faculty and graduate students to team up with high school science teachers and their students in a number of new science education initiatives.The fiveyear, $750,000 grant will fund a pilot project designed to enhance high-school health and science education in New Hampshire. Six school districts across the state will participate in the project, starting with Mascoma Valley, Newmarket, and Northumberland.
The grant is part of HHMI's nationwide Precollege Science Education Initiative,which seeks to stimulate interest in science by connecting the unique resources of biomedical research institutions with local schools. In a highly competitive process,DMS was one of only 31 institutions to receive the prestigious grant, out of 127 eligible research schools and hospitals that applied.
According to Dr. Stephen Spielberg, dean of DMS,"Our mission is to train outstanding leaders in medicine and science, and we recognize that such excellence often begins with inquisitiveness in high school science classes. I firmly believe that we have the responsibility, as New Hampshire's only academic medical center, to make an impact on the quality of science education in our region and state."
Dr. Rosemary Orgren, a research assistant professor of community and family medicine at DMS and director of the New Hampshire Area Health Education Center (AHEC), will lead the DMS HHMI program, Promoting Science Literacy among High School Students in New Hampshire. Other collaborators include the New Hampshire Department of Education and the New Hampshire Science Teachers' Association.
"Our mission is to train outstanding leaders in medicine. . . Such excellence often begins with inquisitiveness in high school science classes."
"We are honored and delighted to be one of the recipients of the HHMI award," says Orgren. "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."
Program activities will include a summer institute to bring science and health teachers together with Dartmouth faculty and the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt., helping educators develop hands-on, inquiry-based teaching methods and curriculum. Other projects will target students, both in classroom
settings and individually, teaching them how to think like scientists. DMS graduate students in the M.P.H. program will provide one-on-one mentoring and lead a Health Detectives Club, in which teens will be challenged with simulations and case studies based on real events.And each year, 20 Howard Hughes Research Scholars will participate in a summer academy, follow-up summer seminars, a year-long community-based research project, and written and oral presentation of their work.
"We think we've got a great chance with this program to serve educators and students," observes Orgren, "while offering our graduate students a valuable teaching and mentoring opportunity."
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Kate Villars is assistant director of development communications for DMS-DHMC