The MIT CEHS COE2C offers annual two-day workshops for health professionals started in 2008 when MIT’s Clinical Research Center Nurse Director, Catherine Ricciardi, assisted the COE2C in organizing nurse focus groups. From these sessions, the COE2C became aware of the lack of molecular biology preparation a typical nurse has, even while medical diagnoses and treatments are becoming increasingly dependent on molecular understandings (such as, gene/environment interactions).
We learned that disseminating MIT’s highly engaging molecular biology models and instructional methodology could have a broad translational impact on environmental public health. Thus in July 2013, the COE2C was invited by Jean Jenkins, Clinical Advisor at NHGRI, to present an MIT hands-on genetics workshop at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Branch in Bethesda, MD. Unfortunately this NHGRI program was cancelled. However later in the year, the COE2C led a hands-on faculty workshop for the Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing. This program is affiliated with the Harvard Catalyst, a program supported by the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).
As a result of very positive feedback from this event, the COE2C will expand the audience from continuing education workshops (CEUs) to include other nursing school organizations providing the faculty with some exciting molecular biology teaching tools. This decision to open this workshop to tother organizations is well timed as, nursing schools in the USA are now required to teach genetics for reaccreditation. Given this update on health professionals and the COE2C newly developed tools, the community advisory board members enthusiastically encouraged the COE2C to share our tools nationally. In addition, the COE2C has been invited to present at the American Public Health Association (APHA) conference in New Orleans, LA in 2014. This APHA conference presentation in 2014 will provide new and measureable outcome for our expanding healthcare professionals audience.