DukeMed Activated (DukeMed A+) is an integrated science enrichment program for disadvantaged (DIS) and under-represented minority (URM) students in Durham Public Schools. A seamless continuum of staged components, the program spans grades 3-12 and is designed to: generate and sustain interest in the sciences; build academic skills including verbal, written, critical thinking, and analytic; instill a sense of responsibility to self, peers, community, and society; cultivate capacities for leadership and teamwork; and encourage pursuit of further science education and science-related careers, with a focus on healthcare and biomedical research. Using proven, age-appropriate methods, it engages students in progressively more intensive and challenging activities; methods include inquiry-based learning, hands-on/experiential exercises, mentoring, near-peer mentoring, team-based research projects, direct exposures through immersions and field trips, and cultivation of leadership skills. Creating a pipeline that prepares DIS/URM students for advanced science education and/or training, DukeMed A+ comprises 4 components, all of which have been tested. DukeMed Elementary provides experiential learning sessions for all 3rd graders in 6 schools, a weekend program for 4th graders, and a hands-on activity in a Duke lab for 5th graders. BOOST offers school-based activities to full science classes in 6th grade, plus one-on-one mentoring, exposures/field trips, and research activities to a subset of motivated DIS/URM students. BOOST XL engages 7th-9th graders in increasingly complex problem-solving and team- based research, with continued mentoring. Scientifica involves 8th-12th graders in research. An overarching theme, Mind and Body, unifies these program components. Subthemes addressed at each stage (e.g., neurobiology, motion, nutrition/metabolism) are aligned with North Carolina grade-specific science curricula. Teacher professional development and family/community involvement, both major elements of DukeMed A+, create a backdrop of student support and also enhance science teachers' knowledge base and skills, and educate the community about health, cutting-edge science, and research.
(prepared by applicant): Currently, people from minority (URM) and disadvantaged (DIS) backgrounds are under-represented in the biomedical science and healthcare professions. To advance qualified URM/DIS individuals into the sciences, students must be engaged early and supported throughout their education. This application proposes an integrated, grade 3-12, program designed to cultivate the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will allow DIS/URM students to succeed in sciences, and potentially to pursue healthcare or research careers.