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Hughes Institute Gives $10.3 Million To Improve Science Education

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The Howard Hughes Medical Institute last week awarded $10.3 million to 42 biomedical-research institutions to help improve the quality of K-12 science education in their communities.

The grant recipients--among them many top medical schools-- will receive five-year grants totaling from $175,000 to $450,000 to support science education in their local public and private schools. The money will be used to support such efforts as professional-development activities, mentoring programs linking scientists with students, and summer science camps.

David Jarmul, a spokesman for the institute, emphasized the need for biomedical institutions to share their human resources and high-tech facilities with elementary and secondary schools, especially those that lack even the most basic technology.

The University of North Dakota medical school and five tribal community colleges, for example, will expand hands-on science activities at nine elementary schools on or near American Indian reservations. In Seattle, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will welcome high school science teachers to its molecular-biology laboratories to show them how to use new research techniques in their classrooms.

In Boston, 100 middle school students will be paired with Massachusetts General Hospital scientists and spend five hours a month with them. The hospital will also offer four-week summer fellowships and develop curricular resources for middle school teachers.

"We are awarding more than twice as much to these institutions as we originally planned,'' Dr. Purnell W. Choppin, the institute's president, said in a statement. "Their commitment to working with local teachers and getting students more excited about science was so impressive that we decided to expand the program.''

Regional Initiatives Backed

In a separate announcement last week, the philanthropy said it will award a $600,000 grant to the National Academy of Sciences to support its Regional Initiatives in Science Education, a new effort to involve scientists more directly in improving K-12 science education. The initiative will form local networks of scientists and educators, conduct training workshops for scientists interested in precollegiate science education, and create a national alliance of scientists through a newsletter or electronic network. (See Education Week, Nov. 24, 1993.)

"We think the activities that the academy is undertaking are very important,'' Mr. Jarmul said.

With a $7.8 billion endowment, the Hughes Institute is the wealthiest private philanthropic organization in the United States. In 1993, it contributed $268 million to biomedical research and awarded $52 million in grants.

The institute was founded in 1953 by Howard Hughes, the founder of the Hughes Aircraft Company. Its endowment was expanded significantly when the company was sold to the General Motors Corporation in 1986.

Grant Recipients Listed

The 42 grant recipients are:

Boston University School of Medicine; Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Brigham and Women's Hospital Inc., Brookline, Mass.; Carnegie Institution of Washington; Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City; DNA Learning Center at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.; East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, N.C.; Foundation for Blood Research, Scarborough, Me.; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle; Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington; Harvard Medical School, Boston; Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta; Mount Sinai School of Medicine at the City University of New York.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City; Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, Pa.; Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center of West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va.; Rockefeller University, New York City; Southern Illinois University at Carbondale School of Medicine; Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia; New Jersey Medical School-University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, N.J.; Robert Wood Johnson Medical School-University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, N.J.; University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of California at San Francisco; University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; University of Illinois at Chicago.

University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita Campus; University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, Mass.; University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Miss.; University of Nevada at Reno School of Medicine; University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Grand Forks, N.D.; University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, N.Y.; University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Sioux Falls, S.D.; University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles; University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City; University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

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