The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago seeks SEPA funds over five years for SIMLAB: Using Patient Simulation for Student Exploration of Community Health Issues, (the Project), an innovative collaboration between the Museum and Chicago Public Schools that converges with NCRR's goal of supporting the development of future scientists. This is a resubmission application. The Museum of Science and Industry is a premiere science learning center, presenting innovation in science and technology on a grand scale. The Museum has more than 35,000 artifacts, over 14 acres of hands-on exhibits, and hosts nearly 285,000 student visits annually. The project focus is iStan (iStandard manTM), a Human Patient Simulator, TM manufactured by Medical Education Technologies, Inc., a private Florida company. The company has donated an iStan patient simulator to the project, with a value of $65,000. The simulator is currently in use in the Museum as part of the You! The Experience exhibit. iStan is a computer-driven, full-sized mannequin that delivers true-to-life biomedical scenarios that swiftly change to meet the user's goals. The ultra sophisticated and highly versatile iStan blinks, speaks and breathes, has a heartbeat and a pulse, and accurately mirrors human responses to such procedures as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, intravenous medication, intubation, ventilation, and catheterization. Although this technology is widespread in medical education, this is the first time it is being used in a museum setting to target primary and secondary education. Science teachers and health educators, many from schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods, will work with the Museum of Science and Industry's education personnel to develop customized iStan applications. These will build interest in, and knowledge of, health sciences. The Project will also address specific local health concerns, and will include both real time and online museum-based educational experiences. The online component will expand access to the Project to the entire Chicago Public School system. Although SIMLAB will be a standalone project, it is contextualized within a larger, related Museum exhibit: You! The Experience. This is a permanent, $20.5M, 15,000 square foot exhibit in the Museum's medical science and technology area, which opened in October, 2009. You! The Experience will increase targeted primary and secondary students', and the general public's awareness, understanding and appreciation of the human body, mind and health. Science teachers and health educators participating in the Project will first get an overview of basic iStan capabilities. Subsequently, the teachers and health educators will work with students to choose a health issue important to their community (such as violence, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, infectious disease, asthma, and drug use). Museum educators will then work with teachers and health educators to develop and implement iStan storylines that will engage students and make health science more relevant to their everyday lives. The result of this process will be a menu of Museum-based Learning Lab programs that will be made available to the broader student and teacher audience as a means of supporting the science and health curricula in the schools. An Advisory Committee, consisting of experts from public health, academic medicine, education, technology, and industry, will guide the development and implementation of the Project.
The SIMLAB Project is relevant to public health because it will be designed to educate students about specific health issues in their communities and encourage them to consider future careers in science, health, and medicine, including public health. The Project directly addresses one of the American Public Health Association's Ten Essential Public Health Services;to inform, educate and empower people about health issues.