The Rice University Department of Bioengineering and Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies have established model community-outreach programs, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), that seek to expand the pool of talented students in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.
Beyond Traditional Borders
In 2006, Rice University and the Texas Medical Center launched a multi-disciplinary, biomedical training initiative to educate and train students to understand, address and solve global health disparities. The program, called Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB), engages students and enhances learning by a guided process that culminates in a real opportunity to design meaningful solutions that effectively help people in least developed countries.
The BTB outreach portion of its program is designed to prepare middle, high school, and university educators to teach the course Bioengineering & World Health at their respective institutions. The course provides an overview of contemporary technological advances to improve human health, and its innovative curriculum is based on real issues that involve global health perspectives from psychology, sociology, philosophy, public policy, religious studies, as well as science and engineering. The course received approval from the Texas State Board of Education as a new course for state elective credit in 2006, and has been taught in several schools in Texas, Mexico and Malawi.
In 2010, a renewal grant from HHMI has allowed Rice and the university’s Institute for Global Health Technologies, Rice 360°, to expand the K-12 outreach program. The annual four-week Professional Development Workshop to teach the course is now open to qualified high school science and engineering teachers from across the country. Rice also invites students from other universities and from high schools whose teachers were trained in the K-12 workshop to participate in an international health technologies design conference and competition.