Adolescents may be uniquely prone to errors in self-administering medicines, and many adolescents have serious misunderstandings about potential risks or adverse effects of over-the-counter medicines. In order to successfully transition to adult health care, it is critical that adolescents understand how to appropriately us both prescription and over-the-counter medicines. In addition to promoting safe use of existing medicines it is also important to educate young people about the drug development and the clinical trials processes. The goal of our "Medicines and Me" project is to increase adolescents'understanding of concepts essential for the safe use of medicines as well as to increase their awareness of the drug development and clinical trials processes. We also aim to increase the teaching and engagement skills of early career scientists participating in our outreach programs. We will accomplish this through the development of engaging case-based lessons to be used by teachers in classrooms throughout the US and by scientists leading outreach programs through the University of Rochester's Life Sciences Learning Center (LSLC). We will also create a community-based course for parents and children which will be offered at YMCAs in the Rochester, NY area. During this five-year project we will: * Develop six case-based lessons that will be used by secondary school biology teachers. * Implement a dissemination plan in which we will recruit, train and support a national network of "teacher-presenters" to lead professional development workshops for their peers throughout the US. * Develop two case-based lessons that will be used for scientist-led outreach programs. * Recruit, train and support scientists to lead the outreach lessons for on-site field trips to the LSLC and for in-class visits to secondary schools throughout the Rochester, NY area. * Use community input to create a course for parents and children that will taught at eight local YMCAs. * Evaluate knowledge gains in program participants. This proposed project is significant because the "Medicines and Me" lessons will engage students in exploring concepts that the general public should understand about appropriate use of medicines, translational research, and clinical trials. Further, it will provide a model for disseminating these lessons to teachers nationwide using peer-to-peer professional development. This proposed project is innovative because our curriculum materials will focus on positive messages- knowledge needed to use medicines safely and to understand the importance of the drug development and clinical trials processes in producing medicines that are safe and effective. We will use known best practices to develop curricula across diverse settings, including creating an innovative model for educating adolescents and their parents about these important concepts through a community-based course.
(prepared by applicant): The relevance of this project to public health is that the lessons and programs to be created and disseminated through this project will provide students, teachers and parents with information about the safe use of medicines as well as the drug development and clinical trials process. These lessons will also help students to master scientific subject matter, develop their scientific reasoning skills, and increase their awareness of science and health care careers. This project will thus help participants become better informed for decisions involving their health.