The primary goal of the SCCPIR Outreach Core is to increase public understanding of and support for basic and clinical research in the reproductive sciences. Ongoing ONPRC outreach programs primarily target students (10 years of age through graduate school). This Core will expand our reach into the adult population (while also providing enhanced opportunities for high school students) to promote better understanding of issues concerning reproductive health and infertility in these two groups. Implementation of the following objectives will allow us to achieve this goal: 1) a "Science Cafe" series, marketed to adults and high school students, featuring evening lectures given by reproductive scientists from ONPRC and OHSU on topics of basic science concepts and reproductive health issues;2) a series of "Science Saturdays" for adults, consisting of 3-hour classes to provide opportunities for adults to be exposed to cutting-edge reproductive science topics taught by research scientists and supported by hands-on laboratory activities;3) a series of "Mother-Daughter Science Saturday" events, similar in content to the "Science Saturdays," but marketed exclusively to women and their daughters/mothers;4) a "Science Camp" for adults, consisting of one evening each week for four weeks including hands-on activities, focusing on reproductive health and infertility issues;5) an "Infertility Saturday Academy" for high school students consisting of six Saturdays of lecture and hands-on activities covering the topics of infertility and fertility control;and 6) a strong on-line presence to provide curricular materials for educators, information for website visitors, and promote our programs to the general public. An Advisory Group will be formed to review and refine our outreach efforts, consisting of members from the existing ONPRC "Education Outreach Task Force," that includes scientists, animal technicians, and members of the lay community. The impact of our programs on attendees will be evaluated using pre- and post-tests. These data will be analyzed by a professional evaluator who will report to the Advisory Group and the SCCPIR P.l. (Dr. R. Stouffer), to assess the effectiveness of the SCCPIR outreach programs.
Outreach activities that increase science literacy in the U.S. are needed. Improving public understanding of reproductive science research also provides knowledge of the links between funding, scientific discovery through basic biomedical research, medical progress from clinical trials, and the critical need for animal models to study treatments and cures for disease. Providing experiences for adults that focus on reproductive health research will have far-reaching benefits.
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