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  Children's National and Partners Awarded Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from National Institutes of Health
August 24, 2009

The nation's children's hospital partners with The George Washington University and National Children’s Museum to create "Being Me" program that brings science to local schools.


For immediate release: August 24, 2009

Children's National and Partners Awarded Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from National Institutes of Health 

WASHINGTON -- Children's National Medical Center, in partnership with the National Children's Museum (NCM) and The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), was recently awarded a five-year Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to promote science literacy among children in the Washington, DC, region. SEPA is an NIH award established to advance knowledge of medical science and clinical research among the general public, including children.

The program, entitled "Being Me," will comprise an innovative and self-sustaining education program to improve science literacy among children in elementary school. The program's curriculum will include hands-on learning for children, their teachers, and their parents. Participating students will come from District of Columbia Public Schools and the Prince George's County Public Schools.

"For years, medical and science fields have worried about how best to engage the next generation in math and science careers," said Naomi Luban, MD, Chief of Laboratory Medicine at Children's National Medical Center and principal investigator for the program. "This program brings science and medicine to students as young as age 9 from the Washington metropolitan region. We hope this will get them excited about studying medicine and science throughout their lives."

“Being Me" supports collaborative learning and participation in program development. The program brings the educational process to life through hands-on learning for elementary school students which will teach them the importance of health related issues, while at the same time fostering an active understanding of scientific inquiry and the creation of scientific investigations. The curriculum will support National Science Content Standards. Additionally, Children's National, The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development, and the National Children's Museum will collaborate to develop an art-based science curriculum in five focus areas:
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Sleep
  • Injury prevention
  • Sickle cell disease
These focus areas will be used to introduce children to the scientific process, including identifying a scientific problem to solve, developing a hypothesis, and designing the study to find the answer. "Being Me" will include curricula for students in the classroom, as well as through field trips to see science in action at Children's National Medical Center. The National Children's Museum will include a static display focused on creating integrated art lessons. Children's National will also serve as the clinical and research location for hands-on training for teachers, parents, and health aids as the program progresses.

Key program faculty include: 
  • Naomi L.C. Luban, MD, Chief of Laboratory Medicine (Principal Investigator)
  • Maxine Freund, EdD, professor of Special Education in the GSEHD and the director of GSEHD'S special projects at The George Washington University (co-investigator)
  • Mark Thorne, Director of Museum Without Walls at NCM (co-investigator). 

The program also involves several key scientific and artistic advisors from Children's National who will assist with content development in their respective areas of expertise.

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About Children’s National Medical Center
Children's National Medical Center, located in Washington, DC, is a proven leader in the development of innovative new treatments for childhood illness and injury. Children’s has been serving the nation's children for more than 135 years. Children’s National is proudly ranked among the best pediatric hospitals in America by US News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. For more information, visit http://www.childrensnational.org/. Children’s Research Institute, the academic arm of Children’s National Medical Center, encompasses the translational, clinical, and community research efforts of the institution. Learn more about our research programs at www.childrensnational.org/research.

About the National Children’s Museum
Scheduled to open in 2013, the National Children’s Museum (NCM) will be a world-class cultural and educational center dedicated to engaging children and empowering them to make a difference. The mission of NCM is to inspire children to care about and improve the world. Through its interactive exhibits, online community (http://www.ncm.museum/
), and unique national programs and partnerships, NCM is transforming the concept of a traditional museum by becoming a catalyst and forum for a national movement to inspire and empower kids to speak up, take action, and get engaged in their communities. Through 2013, NCM is operating as a Museum Without Walls, participating in a variety of community events and working with other arts and cultural organizations to develop creative partnerships that benefit kids and families. This spring, NCM opened the Launch Zone, a 2,700 square-foot space at National Harbor where kids and families can prototype and test exhibit and program concepts. For more information, visit http://www.ncm.museum/.

About GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development
GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), ranked among the top 35 graduate schools of education nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, offers graduate certificate, master's, education specialist, and doctoral degree programs that prepare students for a variety of leadership roles in diverse education and human services settings in public and private sectors. A majority of GSEHD’s programs involve community partnerships whereby our students and GW faculty and staff work alongside experts in the field to support student learning, advocate for students and their families, and prepare to work collaboratively in the profession. Partnerships demonstrate GW’s commitment to the community, respect for practitioners in the field, and help students realize the power that comes from diverse perspectives joined in problem solving. Visit our website, http://www.gsehd.gwu.edu/,
to learn more about our many programs.