October 2013 - Dr. Jawed Alam, AVP for Research, has been awarded a grant-in-aid of $71,000 from the National Institutes of Health to supplement the $1.25 million, 5-year Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) he received last year for the BEST Science! project.
BEST (Bioscience Enrichment for Students and Teachers) Science! is a partnership between Ochsner Medical Center, the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC), and local school districts. Dr. Jawed Alam and Dr. Paula Gregory, Professor of Genetics at LSUHSC, serve as co-principal investigators of the project. The overall objective of BEST Science! is to advance an interest in biomedical research and health sciences by New Orleans area high school students and to ultimately stimulate further education and vocation in these areas.
The program offers paid summer professional development workshops for teachers, curriculum supplements including hands-on laboratory modules directly aligned with Louisiana grade-level expectations and laboratory supply kits available on loan during the academic school year. Scientists, physicians and other faculty from Ochsner, LSUHSC, and other local institutions of higher learning have committed to participate in the teacher workshops and assist teachers and students throughout the school year. BEST Science! is projected to impact more than 11,000 students and at least 130 teachers in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area through 2017.
The first BEST Science! teacher workshop, focusing on cell biology and cancer, was held this past summer on the Jefferson Highway campus and had an enrollment of 19 high school teachers representing 14 schools from 6 parishes in Southeast Louisiana.
“The first workshop was a huge success,” said Dr. Alam. “Our only disappointment was that we could not accept all the teachers that applied to the program. Fortunately, with this supplemental award, we will be able to accept 40 teachers to next year’s workshop.”
The 2nd BEST Science! workshop will be held in the summer of 2014 and will focus on human genetic variation, the phenomenon that forms the underlying basis for personalized medicine.
For more information about BEST Science! and Academic Outreach at Ochsner or to get involved, contact Allison Sharai at EducationOutreach@ochsner.org or visit the Academic Outreach website http://ochsner.org/community/science_education_health_careers.
For more information about the NIH SEPA program, visit www.nihsepa.org.