David Wong loads his truck

Ewa Makai Middle School Science teacher David Wong loads his truck with equipment.

The John A. Burns School of Medicine, through a creative initiative led by the medical school’s Center for Cardiovascular Research, has donated thousands of dollars worth of science equipment to 13 public schools on Hawaiʻi Island, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu and Maui.

For the past three years, the Center for Cardiovascular Research has offered a professional development program for public school science teachers, showing them the latest techniques in sessions within JABSOM’s advanced medical research laboratories. The teachers took the knowledge they acquired back to their classrooms, but while she was teaching the teachers, JABSOM Assistant Professor Rachel Boulay learned something, too.

“We found that many of the schools didn’t have basic supplies and equipment,” said Boulay. She began to work with the facilities staff at JABSOM to coordinate donations from retired or displaced researchers who were willing to donate unnecessary supplies or equipment. She also tapped colleagues at Kapiʻolani Community College to get involved.

“This partnership between high schools and the University of Hawaiʻi made it possible for 13 public high schools to benefit from the science equipment this last year alone,” said Boulay. “As the demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professions increases, so does the need for equipment in high school science labs.”

“Thank you, JABSOM, for donating equipment and supplies,” said Baldwin High’s Amy Ancheta. “We already used mortar and pestle in DNA extraction lab last week and are planning to use dissecting microscope for our plants and animal unit next month.”

Although it is a graduate school, JABSOM recognizes the need for Hawaiʻi’s students to have opportunities to learn and become excited about science and health from their earliest years in the classroom.

“It’s never too early to implant the ideals of altruism and the willingness to lend a helping hand to someone in need,” said JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges. “We know our future health professionals can be found in classrooms at any grade level. Through a number of programs, our faculty and MD students reach out to young people to encourage them to consider health careers, and to empower them with the knowledge that they could succeed in any number of careers, using their unique talents.”

Schools that have benefited from the donated science equipment:

  • Maui’s Baldwin High and Lahainaluna
  • Kauaʻi’s Kapaʻa High
  • Hawaiʻi’s Kealakehe High
  • Oʻahu’s Ewa Makai Middle School, Farrington High, ʻIlima Intermediate, Kalaheo High, Kapolei High, Leilehua High, McKinley High, Nānākuli High and Intermediate and Roosevelt High

Visit John A. Burns School of Medicine website or check out the UH Mānoa press release for more information.

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