The Integrated Environmental Health Middle School (IEHMS) Project is a collaboration between K-12 outreach experts and research faculty at the University of Washington's NIEHS Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health and the University of New Mexico's NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Developmental Research Center. This project builds upon the applicants' previous seven years of NIEHS-supported curriculum development and teacher training experiences. The central hypothesis is that implementation of the proposed IEHMS Project will result in increased student understanding of the environmental health sciences as well as improved performance in overall academic achievement, higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills, behavior, and attitudes. The seven-year goal of this project is to train educators in grades 6 through 8 to use the investigators' existing, as well as newly developed, materials to plan, implement, and assess projects that use Environmental Health Sciences as an Integrating Context (EHSIC) for learning. A major specific aim will be to assemble a working group of scientists, teachers, and community leaders to modify and assess the efficacy of Project Greenskate as a multi-disciplinary, integrative learning tool. Project Greenskate is the applicants' prototype, web-based, interdisciplinary Student- Centered, Problem-Based Learning exercise that was developed with previous NIEHS support. A second major specific aim will be to create the Health and Environment Activities Research Tool (HEART). This instructional development tool will guide teachers to identify, plan, implement, and assess their own EHSIC projects by providing them with outlines, checklists, concepts, and curriculum resources. A third major specific aim will be to develop, evaluate, and revise six model EHSIC modules using the HEART tools. All IEHMS materials will be distributed to teachers during an annual workshop. This workshop will be based on the NIEHS-supported Environmental Health for Educators workshop offered every year at the University of Washington since 1996. The workshop will include lectures on environmental health sciences topics by NIEHS Center faculty researchers, presentations by scientists and regulators, and hands-on training on the use of all project materials. Workshops will take place both in Washington State and New Mexico. Partner school districts in Washington include two school districts from northwestern Washington: Mukilteo (13,585 students, of which 3,019 are in Middle School) and Ferndale (5,209 students, of which 1,196 are in Middle School). Partner districts and schools in New Mexico include the Pojaoque School District (150 teachers; 1,980 K-12 students: 70% Hispanic, 15% Native American, 15% Anglo), the Espanola School District (5,000 students), and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (80 students/yr; 100% Native American). They will provide the unique opportunity to work with predominantly Native American and Hispanic student populations. With this consideration, all materials will be adapted for cultural appropriateness and assessed accordingly. Multiple assessment tools will be employed to determine the project's impact, including norm-referenced standardized test results, specially developed surveys, and qualitative data. Project impact on teachers' professional skills, self- efficacy perceptions, and job satisfaction will also be evaluated. All the project results and materials will be published and/or disseminated nationally and a Train-the-Trainer seminar will be conducted in the final year to further facilitate distribution of the developed model to other sites around the nation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-JPM-B (RL))
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O'Fallon, Liam
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University of Washington
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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