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Current Impact

How We Began | Great Diseases Project | Current Impact | Where We’re Headed


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Both the Infectious Disease, Neurological Disorders and Metabolic Disease modules have now been extensively piloted and evaluated over 3 years in high schools in the Boston area and nationwide. Successful workshops at the National Science Teachers Association conference in 2012 and 2013 continue to extend interest in the curriculum. This summer the Center will offer its third annual professional development workshops in Boston. In previous summers Teaching of Infectious Disease has been oversubscribed has included participants from as far away as Virginia and Pennsylvania. We have also presented (and will present this year) invited workshops for teachers in Texas. All in all the Infectious Disease module have been used in 20 high schools in Boston and elsewhere, Neurological disorders has been in 5 further schools and Metabolic Disease is coming along nicely with 4. By summer more than 1000 students will have experienced aspects of the Great Diseases Curriculum.

We chiefly measure our success by increased content knowledge and improved problem solving and critical thinking abilities, gains in student engagement with the subject matter, and self-efficacy in study of the topics – a critical element of fostering the independent learning they will need to keep abreast of their health management even if they do not pursue a STEM career. Outcomes assessments are carried out by an independent firm of evaluators and submitted for peer review. Currently our manuscript describing Infectious Disease outcomes has been published in Academic Medicine, the premier medical education journal [link], while a study on the impacts of the curriculum on health literacy has been submitted to a major health communication journal. This study describes students with a broad range of abilities demonstrating robust and reproducible gains in each of the measures. The Neuroscience Disorders module shows similar effects and the data is currently being prepared for publication. The Metabolic Disease module has completed one round of piloting and revision, and is being piloted for the second time in 2013-2014. The Cancer module is being piloted for the first time in spring 2014.

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