In August, the Yale Center for Healthcare Simulation (YCHS) was notified that it will receive a $1.25 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Science. This R25 Science Education Partnership Award for Simulation Academy at Yale – Youth Entering Science (SAY-YES!) builds upon the experience of the YCHS faculty and staff in simulation training to promote informal STEM learning for underrepresented high school students in New Haven. (YCHS Executive Director and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Leigh Evans, MD, is the PI on the grant.) Exposing students to new opportunities, creating a sense of accomplishment, social learning through informal mentorship, and making learning fun are benefits of informal STEM education.
In collaboration with Yale’s Pathways To Science initiative, the project expands on the Yale Simulation Academy research team's prior innovative work developing an after-school simulation program engaging local public high school students in hands-on experiential learning. That work has incorporated using multiple technologies including high fidelity mannequin simulators to explore anatomy and physiology. This five-year grant seeks to create a longitudinal mentoring program designed to foster mentoring communities such as Yale undergraduates and medical students, along with Yale New Haven Health System residents. The mentors would promote STEM engagement, performance, and representation through modeling behavior and encouraging of growth mindsets in the SAY-YES! students.
The goal is to motivate future STEM engagement and career trajectories. Since most U.S. cities have at least one academic medical simulation center with a rich, high-technology environment for hands-on informal learning, it is anticipated that SAY-YES! will provide evidence to recommend broad dissemination of the program as a framework for STEM engagement for underrepresented students across different urban environments.