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UAMS secures $1.3 million NIH grant to boost technology and data science education in Arkansas

UAMS secures $1.3 million NIH grant to boost technology and data science education in Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has granted the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) a $1.3 million grant to fund the AR Tech-DaSH (Arkansa Technology and Data Science in Health and Medicine) initiative. Over the next five years, an outreach program aimed at promoting technology and data science education in health and medicine for high school students, teachers, and the larger community in Northwest Arkansas will be funded by this grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Fostering Interest in STEM Careers

The AR Tech-DaSH program, spearheaded by Kevin D. Phelan, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus, is designed to spark interest in STEM and data science careers. “The goal is to get students excited about STEM and data science careers so that the future workforce in these fields better reflects the diverse population in the U.S.,” said Phelan.

The program will target underserved and underrepresented students, focusing on three significant health concerns prevalent in Northwest Arkansas: cardiovascular diseases, obesity/diabetes, and immunology/cancer. By integrating imaging technologies and a data science curriculum into classroom activities, a 10-day summer camp, and community outreach events, the program aims to provide students with hands-on experience and practical knowledge.

Engaging Students and Teachers

Visits to ninth-grade classes in both rural and urban districts in Northwest Arkansas will introduce students to various medical-related technologies, such as stethoscopes, ultrasound, infrared and CT imaging. These visits will also incorporate data science-focused activities, giving students valuable experience in this critical field.

The 10-day AR Tech-DaSH camp will be held annually for 25 students, offering a comprehensive exposure to medical-related skills, clinician-patient simulations, research, and discussions on the three primary health concerns. A significant focus of the camp will be on teaching data science skills, including exploratory data analysis, data transformation, data mining, and machine learning, using health or medicine-related datasets.

Students who participate in the summer camp will be designated as STEM ambassadors. These ambassadors will design and implement outreach events in their local communities, emphasizing the importance of health, medicine, and data science in making informed life decisions.

Community and Virtual Outreach

The program will also extend its reach through virtual outreach sessions to rural classrooms across Arkansas. Virtual teacher training workshops will be conducted to help educators incorporate imaging and data science into their classroom curriculum, ensuring that the impact of the AR Tech-DaSH program is felt statewide.

UAMS: A Leader in Health Sciences Education

The UAMS Northwest Regional Campus is home to 356 medical, pharmacy, nursing, and health professions students, 76 medical and pharmacy residents, and two sports medicine fellows. The campus includes 13 clinics and a range of research activities aimed at reducing health disparities. UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, encompassing colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions, and Public Health, as well as a graduate school, a hospital, and a statewide network of regional campuses.

UAMS is recognized as the only adult Level 1 trauma center in Arkansas and is the state’s largest public employer, with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians. These professionals provide care across various institutions, including UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center, and Baptist Health.

For more information about UAMS and its programs, visit UAMS or UAMS Health. Follow UAMS on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, or Instagram.

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