A Public Health Organization at Morse High School

Grant #: RR12389-02

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gerry Boss
Project Site: Department of Medicine
Univ. of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0652

Phone: 858-534-8805
E-mail: gboss@ucsd.edu

Summary of Project

A science education partnership has been established between the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine (UCSD), Samuel F. Morse High School in San Diego (Morse) and San Diego Science Alliance (SDSA which is a consortium of >150 science-related industries and institutions in San Diego). UCSD is well-known for its excellence in biomedical research and Morse is a large urban school with >90% minority students and is the center of a school cluster that includes more than 17,000 students. Selected UCSD and SDSA faculty dedicated to excellence in teaching and increasing minority student interest in biomedical science will assist in establishing a student-run Public Health Organization at Morse. The UCSD faculty will be grouped into four major educational units: Biopsychology, Cancer/Genetics, Infectious Diseases and Reproductive Health. Similarly, SDSA faculty will be grouped into four units: For-profit health care, Not-for-profit health care, HMO's and Biotechnology Corporations. Approximately 130 students at Morse will enter the Public Health Organization in tenth grade and receive didactic training by either the UCSD faculty or SDSA faculty. The students will then chose an area of interest in the eleventh grade, e.g., substance abuse, and receive in-depth training in the educational unit corresponding to their interest area, e.g., Biopsychology. In the twelfth grade students will be expected to disseminate the knowledge accrued in the two previous years to elementary and middle grade students in the Morse Cluster. A comprehensive pre-, intra- and post-evaluation process will be incorporated into the project comparing the students tutored by the UCSD or SDSA faculty to those receiving the traditional curriculum. It is the basic tenet of this application that students learn best when they must teach and that peer-based teaching is highly successful. It is anticipated that participation in the Public Health Organization will greatly increase student interest in biomedical/biopsychological sciences and, thereby, increase the number of students selecting a health-related career.

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