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Grant project talks to teens about environmental health risks

11/29/2007

Arlyne (Mickey) Sarquis, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Miami University Middletown, received a $535,512 Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to educate teens and their families about environmental health risks. Nov. 13 NIH awarded more than $9 million dollars of grant monies for the purpose of engaging students and the public in health sciences.

Sarquis is one of 10 national recipients whose projects encourage scientific investigation through hands-on activities. Sarquis' SEPA grant provides funding for the second phase of HealthRICH: Health Risk, Information, and Choices, a project she developed in collaboration with Mary Beth Genter at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center Division of Toxicology.

In phase one of the project, Sarquis and her team at the Center for Chemistry Education developed print materials and web resources for young teen and family programming. She also held training programs, developed supporting materials, and held informal education events for young teens and their families. A Web site also was created: www.terrificscience.org/healthrich/.

The second phase will result in the national distribution of HealthRICH materials to teachers for classroom use and to establish after-school science and health clubs across the country. The materials include health information on topics such as hand washing, indoor air pollution, skin tanning and bleaching, reading labels on household products and drinking water. The materials are available through the project Web site.

According to Sarquis, academies for teachers are already scheduled for this fall and spring: "Teachers will gain exciting new ideas for engaging their students in thought-provoking, hands-on science activities, leading teens to make more informed, healthy choices in their daily lives." See www.terrificscience.org/courses/ for details.

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