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The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) selected the Charles Drew University as one of a handful of institutions from across the United States to receive funding aimed at fostering science literacy and encouraging students to consider careers in the Biomedical Sciences (http://www.ncrrsepa.org).
"These [Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA)] programs reach out to students and their families, and target some of the most important issues in medicine today such as ethics, evidence-based medicine, and bioinformatics," said Barbara M. Alving, M.D., Director of NCRR.

"This past year, Congress heard testimony that the United States is facing a physician shortage by the year 2020 and
that the number of medical students needs to grow by at least 10,000. This is especially problematic for underserved population," explained Dr. Sonsoles de Lacalle, Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and director of the Charles Drew Science Education Partnership. "So naturally we were pleased to receive the good news from NIH and
are excited about the collaboration we have begun with elementary schools, where our faculty and students will assist
4th and 5th grade teachers in sparking the scientific curiosity of children and informing the next generation of medical care providers. Click here for a short documentary that highlights this program.

In addition to their work with local schools, Dr. de Lacalle and her faculty are sponsoring innovative approaches to health care education. Their "Medicine in the Movies" film series, for example, screens feature movies that have a medical theme, and invite film makers and medical experts to team up and use the movie as a vehicle to educate the audience
on pressing health issues. "Our initial experience with the series has been very positive," said Dr. de Lacalle, "It's a fun way for families to become informed while they are being entertained."

The Science Education Partnership Award will also sponsor another installment of the Kids Judge! Science Fair-an event undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Deborah Colbern, founder and director of the National Kids Judge! Partnership. As its name implies, the fair represents a twist on the traditional science fair for children in that actual working scientists are the ones to present their work while kids do the judging-and secretly learn a few things as well. Click here for a short (60 sec.) presentation of the 2008 event.

This project ended on June 30, 2012. However, further information about the initiatives offered by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program can be obtained from Dr. de Lacalle via email: sdelacalle@mac.com.

The project described here is supported by
Grant Number1 R25 RR023296 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR),
a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Its contents are solely the responsibility
of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NCRR or NIH.