Case School of Medicine





The Center for Science, Health & Society is coordinating the CWRU SOM role in partnership with the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD) , and Hathaway Brown (HB) School , a private, suburban preparatory school for girls to establish the Scientific Enrichment and Opportunity (SEO) Program. This initiative brings the considerable faculty talent and resources of the SOM to bear on the CMSD through 1) the transfer of HB's Student Research Program (SRP) to students of both genders in the CMSD who demonstrate promise and interest in science, and 2) the implementation of teacher workshops run by SOM faculty designed to enhance teacher practices, generate student enthusiasm for science, and serve as a reinforcement and recruiting mechanism for the student research portion of the SEO Program.

The student research component of the SEO Program is specifically designed to bring students from the CMSD – the largest and one of the most economically challenged school districts in Ohio – in contact with faculty at the SOM to engage in longitudinal research projects under faculty tutelage during the summer after students' 10th and 11th grade years, as well as during the 11th grade school year. This research experience is intended to enhance student interests in the biomedical sciences, provide them with unparalleled professional experience in the sciences, and bring them into contact with the SOM's faculty for both academic and career mentoring. In addition, since the CMSD contains a large percentage of minority students, with nearly 80% being either African-American or Hispanic, the SEO program affords underrepresented minorities an opportunity that they might not otherwise get to experience hands-on science. Through the program, these students also receive the stimulus and reinforcement from a unique supportive network comprised of CMSD science teachers and guidance counselors, SOM faculty, and parents to continue on to post-secondary education - and subsequently careers - in science.

For the teacher workshop segment of the SEO Program, the SOM, along with the CMSD, intends to design an annual series of two graduate level summer courses through which teachers can receive training in how to best incorporate biomedical sciences information into their class curricula, as well as earn graduate credit toward their certification. Workshops include hands-on demonstrations, and also involve a significant amount of one-on-one teacher-scientist interaction that continues after the workshops have concluded, as CMSD teachers are encouraged to contact SOM faculty for advice, ideas, and mentoring support. Furthermore, the workshops present materials and information that will enhance CMSD high school science curricula with the goal of contributing to overall improvement of student performance on the Ohio Proficiency Tests, and more importantly, spark student enthusiasm about science.

The SEO Program is evaluated through both quantitative and qualitative mechanisms. Student progress in the research component of the SEO Program is monitored by CMSD science teachers and by SOM faculty mentors during the program period (10th – 11th grades), and student academic and career progress are tracked during the post-program period. In addition, we utilize questionnaires to determine teacher, student, and faculty mentor satisfaction with the student portion of the SEO Program.

Evaluation of the teacher workshop portion of the SEO Program is based on CMSD teacher self –efficacy surveys, as well as on the academic/Proficiency Test performance of students in classes of workshop participants, vs. the performance of students in classes of non-participants. This latter measure is used to determine the success of the program to present useful and engaging teaching methods to enhance the CMSD science curricula. In addition, SOM faculty leaders evaluate teacher performance during workshops, and the number of students applying to the student research portion of the SEO program is a benchmark for success since the teacher component is also designed to reinforce and attract student interest in science.


Despite years of research, improved understanding and environmental control efforts, lead poisoning remains an important regional health problem for individuals and society. Over 20% of all children in Cleveland have elevated blood lead levels with some neighborhoods higher than 40%. While acute lead intoxication can result in coma and death, chronic lead exposure is associated with impaired neurobehavioral development and chronic renal disease. In addition to the tragic individual consequences of chronic lead toxicity, the associated public health and economic issues are enormous with critical consequences for educational, behavioral and mental health programs in school age children and important implications for workforce development and provisions for patients with chronic disabilities. CWRU-CSHS, City of Cleveland , and County of Cuyahoga have established a partnership to develop a concerted community wide plan to greatly reduce lead poisoning in our community 2010.

The initial components of the plan call for:

  1. Announcement of lead poisoning prevention project as Cleveland/CWRU/Cuyahoga Partnership.
  2. Conduct a community-wide forum on lead poisoning to raise awareness, develop advocacy and review national best practices for control of lead toxicity.
  3. Stimulate interdisciplinary faculty interests and initiatives to focus on understanding and control, on a regional basis, of chronic lead exposure, prevention and more effective interventions targeting the health consequences of chronic lead intoxication.
  4. Develop 2-4 pilot projects that can be instituted, measured and replicated in the larger community.
  5. Leverage HUD funding and other local support to make a major impact on the problem within a limited time frame.

Sponsored by United Way Services, the Cleveland Community Vision Council , Strong Families=Successful Children, serves in a planning and advisory role to the County Commissioners to evaluate needs and develop initiatives to improve the lives of children and families in the Greater Cleveland area. In a white paper titled, “A Vision for the Future of Children in Greater Cleveland,” the Vision Council identified six indicators of children's health and six goals to improve their health status. Working with the Vision Council, CSHS will help achieve improvement in the key indicators with initial focus on increasing the percent of children who have completed their 4:3:1 immunization series at age 2 from 53 percent to 90 percent in the City of Cleveland and from 81 percent to 95 percent in the Cuyahoga County suburbs.


CSHS participated along with a series of community organizations and representatives in the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD) , Health Leadership Council to develop a Comprehensive Health Plan for the CMSD. A series of goals and objectives have been developed related to the leading health indicators identified in the Surgeon General Report, School Health Index (2000). “Promoting health behaviors among students is an important part of the fundamental mission of schools: to provide young people with the knowledge and the skills they need to become healthy and productive adults.” CSHS and CMSD are collaborating to improve health education and health services by first insuring that all CMSD students have access to a complete health status evaluation and physical examination as part of an experiential education process for health professional students working under University Faculty supervision.


Working with HealthSpace Cleveland (formerly the Health Museum of Cleveland), CSHS is engaged in two educational initiatives. The Mini-Med School, modeled after the successful program developed at he School of Medicine, consist of a series of evening lectures and workshops offered at the new HealthSpace Cleveland site and targeted to the health needs of the surrounding community.

The Health Museum has developed a Junior Medical Camp, a series of one week programs offered during the summer to middle school students ages 11-14 interested in medical sciences. Students are immersed in a variety of biomedical experiences including a journey through the internal structure of the human body, dissection of a cow's heart, brain, and eye for exposure to anatomy; exploring genetics and solving a crime using DNA analysis and fingerprinting and an opportunity to meet with medical professionals. CSHS and HealthSpace Cleveland are now collaborating to offer an Alumni Program for Junior Medical Camp graduates to sustain their interest and involvement in biomedical education and career development. Students will be offered opportunities to participate in laboratory investigations, hands-on experiments and creative problem solving. Personalized observership experiences will be offered in which students will meet and shadow a health professional in their area of special interest. In subsequent alumni years, students will be provided with an opportunity to join a research team and participate in depth and engage directly in biomedical research.