The infectious disease (ID) burden has doubled in the US since its all-time low in 1980, in large part because of changes in human behavior. As a consequence, how ID will impact us in the future critically depends on how successful we will be in educating a literate citizenry able to make lifestyle choices that limit the impact of infection Despite this, ID rarely focuses in the high school classroom, in part because few teachers have been exposed to the topic, but also because the structure of teacher professional development conspires to segregate teachers from ID content experts, most of whom are in medical schools. To address this need we partnered with teachers to produce a comprehensive curriculum designed to engage high school students in the impact of ID on global society. Successful implementation of novel curricula requires intensive teacher support. In response we developed a professional development model in which near-peer content expert mentors and master teachers collaborate to model how to effectively teach complex concepts. In this way teachers learn strategies to confidently implement new material. We call this approach "Modeling for fidelity". Here we propose to leverage this model and our ID curriculum as graduate-level courses that will disseminate the materials nationally, both face-to-face and online. The curriculum addresses the most recent national science education standards in biology and in literacy using an innovative framework focused on five core questions about ID - Why should I care about ID?;What does it mean to have an ID?;How does a microbe become a pathogen?;How do pathogens make us sick? How do I get better? It uses Socratic and Case- based approaches that foster active learning together with interactive activities and extended literacy components. It is specifically designed to bring inquiry based learning to schools with few resources or scheduling that precludes extensive hands-on experience. It is also flexible enough to incorporate any existing activities that further our learning objectives. Critically our graduat courses will also teach teachers skills to identify, locate and evaluate the reliable resources the need to remain current and keep the curriculum dynamic, as well as strategies to effectively adapt the curriculum for their specific classroom needs. Teacher participants in the courses will receive intensive support to pilot the curriculum in the classroom with diverse students. Gains in content knowledge and fidelity of implementation will be rigorously evaluated and best practices for dissemination established. The face-to-face graduate courses will prepare approximately 120 teachers from across the US, while the virtual learning platform will capture material from these courses and disseminate it freely on line. Crucially the virtual learning platform will also involve a direct mentoring component. Together they have the potential to reach significant numbers of teachers and students each year. Our approach meets the need for high-quality, integrated curricula designed for 21st Century learners while helping students build the deep understanding needed to make informed choices about their health.

Public Health Relevance

The 'Modeling for Fidelity: Infectious disease in the classroom'project will bring current issues about Infectious disease into the high school classroom. The ultimate goal of this comprehensive curriculum and intensive teacher support program is to teach teachers how to educate a literate citizenry able to make lifestyle choices that limit the impact of infection.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
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Adger-Johnson, Diane S
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Tufts University
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Schools of Medicine
United States
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