After-School Program for urban youth: Evaluation of a health careers course in New York City high schools

Lynne M. Holden, Wallace Berger, Rebecca Zingarelli, Elliot Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mentoring in Medicine (MIM) addresses an urgent national need for minority health professionals and promotes careers in health care for urban youth. The MIM After-School Program (ASP or The Course) has as its primary objectives to provide academic enrichment in human biology and motivate disadvantaged youth to pursue a career in the health professions. Secondary objectives of The Course, although not evaluated here, are to improve students' health literacy and knowledge of healthy living behaviors. Since 2009, over 1500 middle and high school students have completed the New York City based Course, which is offered once a week over a 10 week semester in an out-of-school venue. This study assesses the success of The Course in achieving its primary objectives with 84 students at five New York City high schools during the fall 2014 semester. The Course curriculum was created especially for MIM, comprises the body's 11 organ systems, and is presented in discrete modules (one each semester), along with complementary educational activities, including field trips and class projects. This study reports on a formal evaluation using quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative evaluation found that the students significantly increased their knowledge of the Gastrointestinal System. Students across the academic spectrum appeared to have learned the MIM ASP Course content - high school GPA was not a predictor of knowledge acquisition. The students also reported that The Course significantly increased their self-confidence in their ability to succeed (self-efficacy). The students expressed a significant increase in five health care related attitudes and an additional increase in their ability to overcome personal issues to succeed in their career and significantly improving their feeling toward, and likely pursuit of, a health career. The students stated that The Course significantly increased their interest and intent to seek out more information about health care, participate in health care activities, and take more health care courses in high school. The qualitative evaluation found that the students and their parents were pleased with the MIM ASP Course's composition, presentation and effectiveness. With a large majority of the parents stating that their child got out of The Course what they had hoped for and that The Course made it more likely that they would recommend a health career for their child. The students and instructional staff also identified The Course elements that they felt were most and least effective. Best practices that were used in designing and conducting The Course were identified. The MIM ASP Course appears to have achieved its principal educational objectives of providing academic enrichment in human biology and improving attitudes towards a health career for a self-selected population of disadvantaged, underrepresented minority high school students in an urban setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-160
Number of pages20
JournalInformation Services and Use
Volume35
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 20 2015

Keywords

  • After-School Program
  • Course Evaluation
  • Health careers
  • Health workforce pipeline
  • Information and computer technology
  • Mentoring in Medicine (MIM)
  • Parental influence
  • STEM
  • Underrepresented minority students
  • Urban youth
  • Youth development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

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