Recent NIH initiatives target reengineering clinical research, fueling a diverse workforce, and improving health/ science literacy, to accelerate "translation" of discoveries from "bench to bedside to community." Key to "translating translation" is introducing the "language of medicine" to the K-12 community and public;and raising awareness of the transiency of biomedical "knowledge", social aspects of the scientific enterprise;and uncertainty in decision-making, i.e., preparing students for an unpredictable future. With broadband Internet connectivity widely available, this NIH-SEPA proposal, from an experienced team of translational scientists devoted to outcomes-oriented educational interventions for disadvantaged students, leverages a broad infrastructure of programs, people, and partnerships. The unique centerpiece is the Virtual Clinical Research Center/Questionarium (VCRC/Q) web-based platform, 5 years in development, designed to expand real-life "place-based seat-timed" K-12 school experiences. To exploit VCRC/Q's potential as a customizable bi- directional "learning grid" linking scientists with K-12 students/ teachers in a global "learnig community", our specific aims (SA) are;1) implement, scale and network the VCRC/Q Platform to facilitate communication among Clinical Translational Science Awards/Clinical Research Centers, SEPA projects, K-12 schools, and the public;2) assemble, integrate and test a customizable inquiry-based "Translating Translation" core curriculum targeting high school students on VCRC/Q or face-to-face in classrooms/labs by trained teachers to excite, motivate, and educate young minds about the adventure and opportunities in biomedical research. "Translating Translation" will introduce medical language and showcase NIH research and diverse experts/ peer-near peer role models in a paradigm shift emphasizing the dynamic imbalance between medical "knowledge" - the "known" (unquestioned answers) and medical "ignorance" (unanswered questions: what we know we don't know, don't know we don't know, and think we know but don't) - the "unknown";and 3) incorporate platform and curriculum into a robust self-renewing career pipeline with multiple entry points to nurture a growing cadre of diverse young scientist-leaders by bridging progressive summer and year-round "hands on-brain on" research experiences modeled after our long-standing introductory Summer Institute on Medical Ignorance (~500 disadvantaged high school student alumni). SA3 will feature a "high octane" pathway for entry-level student scientists closely mentored in team-oriented laboratory/ clinical research and leadership and "low octane" and "self-serve" options in smaller doses for home use and the public. A comprehensive formative and summative evaluation includes a 3-phase model (design>test>refine;implement>test>refine;disseminate>test>refine) focusing on changes in attitudes, skills, and knowledge and long-term outcomes/ impact including capacity building, career tracks, transportability, and network expansion. Dissemination centers in VCRC/Q with multimedia, multi-institutional partnerships to enhance outreach, and impact.
Showcasing clinical/translational research and researchers (both experts and K-12 students) and expanded communication (translating translation) in the accessible, customizable inquiry-driven collaborative internet environment of our novel Virtual Clinical Research Center/Questionarium will advance NIH top priorities by making it easier, more effective and engaging to understand the scientific enterprise, fuel the future pipeline of diverse medical researchers, forge the complex global infrastructure for new discovery, and educate the K-12 community and public about bidirectional research advances from bench to bedside to community and back again.