The University of Miami's Department of Psychology, in collaboration with the Miami Museum of Science &Planetarium, is requesting a five-year combined development and dissemination grant under NCRR's SEPA program. The purpose is to create a hands-on traveling exhibit and complementary classroom and web-based resources aimed at raising awareness among students, teachers, and the general public about cardiovascular disease risk factors and strategies for reducing these risks and improving personal health. The exhibit and educational resources will 1) serve to highlight the distribution of cardiovascular risk factors across Miami-Dade County's diverse population, 2) communicate the range of disorders associated with the risk factors, including obesity, diabetes, and coronary disease, and 3) communicate the critical importance of controlling cardiovascular risk through nutrition, activity and stress management. Besides raising public awareness about this public health challenge, the project will break new ground by demonstrating how an urban science museum, in collaboration with a research university, can serve as an environment for not only communicating but conducting scientific research. University of Miami graduate students and researchers will be involved in the development, training, implementation, data collection, and data analysis aspects of the exhibit, and through this participation will have access to the emerging data sets generated by the exhibit, informing theses, dissertations and scientific publications related to ongoing areas of cardiovascular research. The University and the Museum will also conduct a health education evaluation project to assess the effectiveness of a museum-based informal learning curriculum and its impact on student knowledge and behavior. The study will build on previous University of Miami research that has involved county wide blood pressure screening of 10th grade public school students, indicating substantial numbers with elevated blood pressure and attendant risk factors. The evaluation project will explore the extent to which 10th graders engaging in an enhanced museum experience and playing a """"""""cardiovascular debate game"""""""" display greater gains in cardiovascular health knowledge and improvements in behavior than their peers. Following the development, pilot testing, and implementation of the exhibit, the Museum will disseminate the exhibit to a variety of alternative venues including libraries, local hospitals, high schools, and university settings. The project website will include continuously updated displays of the data collected at each venue, a downloadable version of the debate game, and links to related online public health resources. The Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) will serve as the external evaluator for the project, responsible for front-end, formative and summative evaluation of the exhibit. ILI will also assess the extent to which the University- Museum collaboration provided an effective context for implementing health-related research.
|McCalla, Judith R; Juarez, Cheryl L; Williams, Lucia E et al. (2012) Promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors: the Heart Smart Discussion Activity. J Sch Health 82:572-6|