Case School of Medicine




Recognizing that the successful futures of Case Western Reserve University, the City of Cleveland, and the County of Cuyahoga are integrally related, the Center for Science, Health and Society (CSHS) was created in 2002 to focus the efforts of the University and the city in a significant new collaboration to impact the areas of health and healthcare delivery systems through community outreach, education, and health policy. The Center, based in the School of Medicine, with university wide associations is engaging the many strengths of the University and the community to:

  1. Improve the health of the community
  2. Educate and empower the community to become better consumers of healthcare and more informed and stronger advocates for healthcare policy and legislation in their own interests
  3. Encourage members of the community to enter careers in the biomedical workforce and healthcare professions

The Center has engaged the community at the level of the individual and the neighborhood, in public and private schools, at civic and faith-based organizations, and at the level of governmental agencies and community leadership to identify community problems, perceptions, assets and resources; advise the community of faculty skills, assets and expertise; and community service based scholarship that benefits community interests and promotes mutual enhancement.

CSHS Programs & Initiatives

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.


Every fall and spring, nationally recognized faculty from the Case School of Medicine and University Hospitals present the latest findings on a variety of important health issues that combines information in basic science and clinical science to a wide range of topics of interest to the general public. Easy-to-understand information about genetics, cancer, neuroscience, infectious diseases, and respiration is taught to adults who want to learn more about medicine and medical research. Case School of Medicine faculty who are recognized leaders in their fields teach all classes. Participants do not need to have a math or science background to enroll in the Mini Med School. Sessions will be in everyday language, and there are no exams.


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.

Recognizing that advancing age is a high risk factor for cancer with persons over 65 years of age accounting for 60% of newly diagnosed malignancies and 70% of all cancer deaths and that the aging of the Baby Boom generation, born between 1946-1964, will result in doubling of the over 65 years of age population during the next 30 years, the Center for Science, Health & Society is partnering with the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Memory & Aging to expand capacity at the interface of Aging and Cancer Research at CWRU, to develop a Geriatric Oncology Training Program and to establish Aging - Cancer Research as a funded program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center. Also collaborating in this initiative are the CWRU Elder Care Research Center , the Western Reserve Geriatric Education Center , the VA Medical Center – Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center , and the CWRU Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Applied Social Sciences, and Arts & Sciences. Research activities focus on (1) Efficacy & Tolerance of Cancer Treatment in Patients over 65, (2) Effects of Age-Associated Comorbidities on Prevention, Screening, Diagnosis and Therapy of Cancers and (3) Biology of Aging and Cancer.

An important focus of this initiative is the development, with community organizations, of programs to enhance cancer prevention and screening efforts in order to reduce disparities in cancer incidence and mortality among minority population and the economic underserved


One of the most powerful defenses we have against terrorism and bioterrorism is education. Education guides coherent emergency response and reduces fear caused by terrorism events.

Case Western Reserve University is currently collaborating with the City of Cleveland , Cuyahoga County , and State of Ohio agencies by providing a series of educational forums directed toward orientation and training of healthcare workers and emergency and first responders. Nine major educational programs coordinated through the University's Center for Science, Health, & Society and Continuing Medical Education program have already received enthusiastic response and have been widely attended by a variety of community and regional emergency responders and health workers.

Listed below are past and future educational events and partners in these educational efforts in Cleveland and its surrounding communities.

Terrorism Preparedness Education Programs

Title : Biological and Chemical Terrorism: What Every Health Care Provider Needs to Know
Date : November 17, 2001
Attend No : 196

Title : Biological and Chemical Terrorism: What Every Health Care Provider Needs to Know
Date : December 1, 2001
Attend No : 180

Title : West Nile Virus: Protecting and Educating Our Community
Date : May 18, 2002
Attend No: 90

Title : Disaster Preparedness for Cleveland 's Workforce: Downtown Evacuation and Bioterrorism
Date : November 12, 2002
Attend No : 139

Title : Disaster Preparedness for Cleveland 's Workforce: Business Contingency Plan
Date : November 19, 2002
Attend No : 132

Title : Disaster Preparedness for Cleveland 's Workforce: Downtown Evacuation and Bioterrorism
Date : October 15, 2002
Attend No : 142

Title : Disaster Preparedness for Cleveland 's Workforce: Business Contingency Plan
Date : October 22, 2002
Attend No : 152

Title : Smallpox: Planning for Exposure and Assessment of Preparedness
Date : December 17, 2002
Attend No : 241

Title : Smallpox: What Public Safety Forces Need to Know
Date : February 21, 2003
Attend No : 139

Terrorism Preparedness Education Programs in Planning
  • Smallpox: Post Event Planning and Strategies
  • Bioterrorism (Smallpox) Recognition and Response Strategies
  • Chemical Terrorism and Response Strategies
  • Radiation Terrorism and Response Strategies
  • Hospital Preparedness for Bio & Chemical Terrorism
  • Medical Reserve Corps Training for Bio & Chemical Terrorism
  • Public Health Preparedness for Disaster Response
  • Disaster Preparedness: What the Public Needs to Know
  • Pediatric Aspects of Bio & Chemical Terrorism
  • Humanitarian Relief for Children
  • Mental Health Management Strategies for Dealing with Bio & Chemical Terrorism
Terrorism Preparedness Education Programs Collaborative Partners

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.


CSHS is serving as a community partner with CVS/Pharmacy to launch the CVS Get Fit Challenge in Cleveland where a total of $100,000 will be awarded in grants ranging from $1,000 – 5,000 to non-profit organizations and public schools to support health, nutrition, and fitness programs. The CVS Get Fit Challenge will make it easier for community organizations and schools to develop programs that encourage exercise, healthy diet, and other positive health choices. Other partners include City of Cleveland Department of Public Health; the Health Museum of Cleveland ; Park Works; The Plain Dealer; FOX 8, and Neutrogena.


The purchase of the 14-acre West Quad site in 2000 has provided CWRU with the opportunity to explore ways of developing or expanding activities that both serve the institution's academic aims as well as strengthen its links with the community. In initial overview, the University proposed development of four clusters on the West Quad site, (1) a Community Life Center , (2) Biomedical Research and Innovation Center , (3) an Advanced Technology Commons, and (4) an Entrepreneurial Development Program.

Following extensive discussions with residents, community leaders, and other organizations in the community, Case Western Reserve University envisions a Community Life Center designed to be multi-disciplinary – “inter-professional”- and to have features that respond primarily to client and community needs as well as to academic needs. At the heart of the concept is the presumption that addressing these diverse needs in a coordinated way will benefit all participants.

The programmatic elements of the Community Life Center would include the following activities:

  • Health Services. The concept concentrates on primary care and prevention, screenings, and referrals (the disciplines of medicine, nursing, and dentistry will be involved). The concept does not include emergency or in-patient care.  
  • Clinical Skills and Simulation Center . This would be a teaching and assessment resource for faculty and students in medicine, nursing, dentistry, and social work, as well as other disciplines requiring structured interaction between practitioners and clients/patients.  
  • Social Services. The concept calls for on-site participation by faculty and students in social work and law (particularly the Legal Clinic). Specific examples could include a family advocacy program and a community-building initiative. Students and faculty from other disciplines may also be involved as appropriate.  
  • Community Recreation and Services Center . Elements could include recreation and fitness programs for seniors, intergenerational programs, child care, job training, after-school programs, and a general reading library.  
  • City Health Department. The City of Cleveland is considering relocating the headquarters of its Health Department to the West Quad site. This is an extension of the relationship between the University in the City in which the new Director of Health would also hold a faculty appointment at CWRU and would have access to University programs and services.

Planning for the Community Life Center is being coordinated by the Center for Science, Health, and Society.