The National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) at the Space Science Institute (SSI), in collaboration with the Colorado Clinical and Translational Studies Institute (CTSCI), and Colorado Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), requests support for Discover Health/Descubre la Salud (DH/DS). The bilingual (English/Spanish) project will include an interactive library exhibit supported by media and community education resources to engage underserved communities in learning about their cardiovascular and digestive systems, and how to keep them healthy. The project will target underserved communities, including rural and Latino communities, working through libraries and community institutions. The project will use a strategic combination of bilingual, interactive exhibits presented at libraries and community health fairs and festivals, career events, family nights, science camps, and mini-med schools, to engage students, families, and adults in these important health issues. Project PI Robert Russell, Senior Education Associate at NCIL, and NCIL Founder Co-PI Dusenbery, Founder of NCIL, will direct the project. Dr. Jack Westfall, who will direct the Community Engagement Core of CCTSI and also directs Colorado AHECS;he will direct their subaward. An outstanding advisory committee includes biomedical researchers, community health educators, librarians, and informal science educators. They will provide expertise on biomedical science content and help guide the project's implementation. Knight Williams, Inc., a highly experienced media and community evaluation firm, will conduct the full required project evaluation.
The project will introduce target audiences to basic biomedical science concepts introducing the cardiovascular and digestive systems in relation to the growing epidemics concerning diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. The obesity epidemic has been matched by an increase in diabetes, a deadly combination that multiplies the risk of cardiovascular disease by several times. Lack of health literacy has also been shown in numerous research studies to negatively affect personal health status. Latinos, one of the key target audiences for the project, show lower levels of health literacy than the general population. The project will be presented in a bilingual, culturally appropriate format to serve Latinos effectively.