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UTMB-CET: Community Outreach and Engagement Core

Division I: Educational Outreach

Lauren Scott, MSW
Director, Educational Outreach

The Educational Outreach Division aims to offer programs in both high quality bench science and fully integrated environmental education and to support programs that provide "hands on" experience in environmental science research. In addition, Division I provides educational materials and support to community members regarding environmental health issues.

Current Programs & Projects

The Bench Tutorials: Scientific Research and Design Program is an advanced molecular biology and biomedical research training program for qualified high school students who spend one year in the laboratories of Center and UTMB scientists for full Texas Education Agency credit. The purpose of the program is to afford dedicated and academically talented high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge scientific research. Each high school student is paired with a UTMB graduate student or postdoctoral fellow mentor, with guidance from a faculty advisor. Each mentor designs a research project relating to the larger research framework within the laboratory, forecasting completion by the year's end. Funded in its early years by the NIEHS pilot program and the Sealy Center for Environmental Health & Medicine, "Bench" is now also supported by a continuing trust fund from the Dr. Leon Bromberg Charitable Trust Fund.

Bench Class of 2007-2008

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CBPR Training. In conjunction with the CTSA Community Engagement Key Resource, the COEC conducted a 2½ day Community-Based Participatory Research workshop in 2010 for 73 attendees representing twelve community groups, faculty/students from seventeen departments and all four UTMB schools to provide faculty, trainees, and community groups the foundation upon which to build successful research collaborations and to increase likelihood of successful competition for research funding. The 2011 CBPR workshop is tentatively scheduled for July 26-27.

Get an overview (PDF) of Community-Based Participatory Research

Get an overview (PDF) of Community-Based Participatory Research

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) is sponsored by the UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and administered by the Graduate and Minority Recruitment Committees. The primary goal of this program is to provide college students with demonstrated outstanding scientific aptitude and an interest in biomedical sciences the opportunity to experience "hands on" research and to increase their motivation to pursue a graduate degree leading to careers in biomedical research. Center scientists have a long history of participation in this program, with ten to fifteen Center scientists participating annually.

Graduate Program in Environmental Toxicology: Toxicology training at UTMB is provided through the collaboration of several graduate programs from many disciplines, including basic and clinical sciences as well as public health. COEC Director, Sharon Croisant, is both a mentor for the Toxicology Training Grant and a member of its Curriculum Committee. She also serves as Course Director for Environmental Health and Toxicology, which is embedded in the MPH curriculum and populated primarily by MD's seeking a public health degree.

EHS training for health professionals (GSBS, SOM): Our overarching goal is to increase health professions students' knowledge and awareness of their patients' exposure to environmental health risks. While both the UTMB-CET and COEC have a strong and longstanding history of contributing to environmental health content in secondary, undergraduate, and graduate education, we have in the past two years increased our formal and informal training of health professions students (medical and nursing) and practicing health professionals in community engagement principles.

New Developments

Scientific Field Learning Experience. In collaboration with Center scientists, COEC is currently developing a scientific field learning experience for qualified high school students through a research grant.

Informational Resource for Port Development & Container Terminal. In collaboration with Center scientists, COEC is developing relevant environmental health materials related to ports/goods movement in response to community requests. In addition COEC also serves to connect community members and Center scientists regarding container terminal development and port development.

Past Initiatives

Youth Environmental Studies (YES!) Laboratory School. This intensive summer school educated middle school students in environmentally themed reading, writing, and science, using academic faculty as well as local Galveston Independent School District (GISD) teachers. YES! was featured in the UT System's series for Public Television, State of Tomorrow. After eight successful years, the school was discontinued due to budget constraints and changing community needs.

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