American Indians are greatly underrepresented in medicine and health career fields, corresponding to a disproportionately low health status. Extensive research in K-12 STEM education confirms that student interest in science starts at an early age, but needs to be continually fostered throughout the middle and secondary school to attract students to science majors. An authentic research experience in a neuroscience laboratory has the capability to increase a teacher's capacity to create engaging, and meaningful learning environments that excite, support, and instill confidence in American Indian high school students, in an effort to help them overcome some of the obstacles they face on the path to entering science fields and becoming healthcare professionals. The Indians Into Medicine: Native Educator University Research Opportunity in Neuroscience (INMED: NERUOscience) is a comprehensive professional development program that is a collaborative effort drawing on the strengths of neuroscience researchers, education faculty, and American Indian support professionals, to provide a holistic approach that is both science-driven and culturally sensitive. INMED: NEUROscience aims to bring teachers in American Indian tribal middle and high schools together to: (1) conduct research in neuroscience laboratories to gain a deeper understanding of the process of science; (2) connect with each other for peer support, and with biomedical education faculty for pedagogical support; and (3) draw on the experience and resources of American Indian support professionals for social and cultural support. Together, these components will help teachers identify ways to effectively translate laboratory research into inquiry-based, engaging learning opportunities for students. The INMED: NEUROscience Research Education Plan revolves around a general theme of integrating the process of science knowledge and STEM learning concepts through an eight-week summer research experience in neuroscience. The research projects will expose teachers to the authentic use of the ?scientific method? and research techniques, which will be followed-up by targeted science pedagogy training to create transformative learning activities. Teachers are provided with science content in an explicit manner in the lab, while growing their pedagogical knowledge and skills as they create, implement, and reflect on their lesson plans in the classroom. The evaluation plan incorporates many aspects that examine both explicit and embedded content delivery methods. Data collection includes questionnaires, teaching demonstrations, direct observations, lesson plan evaluation, and informal discussions. Overall, the program will promote teachers' effective implementation of the process of science into their classrooms, leading to inquiry-based science courses, which foster academic achievement and afford students a greater opportunity to seek out careers in science and health care. Results of this program will add to the understanding of effective science professional development experiences for teachers of diverse learners.
INMED: NERUOscience is a summer research experience for high school teachers in American Indian tribal schools. This professional development program is focused on understanding the process of science and translating it into relevant science pedagogy. The program aims to build teachers' capacity to create engaging, and meaningful learning environments that excite, support, and instill confidence in American Indian students, in an effort to help them overcome some of the obstacles they face on the path to becoming healthcare professionals.