174379 Bringing Community-Based Research into the Classroom; Empowering Low-Income Students to Identify Health Risks in Their Communities and Promote Change

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nell Curran, MPH (c) , Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Judith Ned, EdD , Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Marilyn A. Winkleby, MPH, PhD , Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
In response to sobering statistics on the increasing risk of obesity and diabetes among low-income and ethnic minority high school students, the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP) developed an innovative curriculum to engage such students in community-based research and empower them to promote change in their schools and neighborhoods. This is done in partnership with teachers at four under-resourced high schools in rural and urban areas of Northern California. Through hands-on activities, such as assessing the quality of public recreational facilities and calculating calorie and fat content in fast food restaurants, students learn how environmental factors in their schools and communities influence cardiovascular risk and contribute to health disparities. Students develop and distribute surveys to evaluate smoking, physical activity, and diet habits of their classmates, map resources in their neighborhoods, analyze results, and present findings to classmates, families, school administrators, and community members. As a result of these presentations, school and community groups partner with students to implement students' suggestions. To date, 280 students have participated (34% Latino, 23% African American, 23% Asian-American or Pacific Islander, 7% Native American and 13 % from other ethnic groups). Results show significant improvements over the course of the academic year in students' ability to collect and interpret health data related to cardiovascular disease risk factors in their schools and communities. The curriculum is now being disseminated to six other schools and adapted to additional health problems that are prevalent in low-income and ethnic minority communities.

Learning Objectives:
1) Participants will learn how to engage students in community health research and excite them about becoming vested in their schools and communities. 2) Participants will learn how to develop/enhance studentsí research, writing, computer, and oral presentation skills (skills that are transferable across disciplines as well as post-secondary education). 3) Participants will receive curriculum resources to be used in K-12 classrooms, tailored to low-income and ethnic minority students at high risk for chronic diseases.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Program Coordinator of the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program I co-authored and teach the curriculum which will be discussed.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.