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July 18, 2001

School Teachers Become Students to Learn about Cancer Rate in Maryland and Problems of Teen Smoking

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Maryland Public Television Team Up for "BioHealth Link: Questions of Cancer" Summer Institute

Seventy middle- and high-school educators will examine some of the environmental factors that contribute to Maryland's high cancer rate, as well as current social issues such as teen smoking during "BioHealth Link: Questions of Cancer Summer Institute." Teachers will apply the lessons they learn when they return to the classroom and help students investigate and understand these issues. The Summer Institute will be held July 23-26, 2001 at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Campus in East Baltimore and is presented in a partnership with Maryland Public Television (MPT).

According to the American Cancer Society, Maryland is ranked seventh highest in the nation in the number of cancer deaths. During the BioHealth Link Summer Institute, school teachers will explore the complex role the environment plays in the development of cancer through a series of workshops, labs, and seminars presented by research scientists and doctors from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine. All of the lessons will feature cutting-edge cancer research and prevention information. Topics will include cancer-fighting substances in foods, vaccine research, and a complete breakdown of cancer incidence rates in Maryland communities. Mentor-teachers, who are experienced educators that assist developing teachers, will present additional educational material featuring discussions on the costs of teen smoking and smoking prevention.

"I think this is a wonderful opportunity for teachers to learn more about the environment's impact on our health and to increase the awareness of their students. Hopefully, they can take what they learn here and make a difference in the classroom," says Michael Trush, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center in Urban Environmental Health. The teacher participants represent schools in Baltimore City and Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, Saint Mary's, and Wicomico counties, as well as the states of Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia.

The partnership between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and MPT is an ongoing effort to provide educational resources on cancer and environmental health issues to middle and secondary school educators. All materials developed for the Summer Institute will be shared in the classroom and community centers and are available on MPT’s LearningWorks web site at www.mpt.org.

Funding for the BioHealth Link Summer Institute was provided by The Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation Incorporated and The Seraph Foundation Incorporated. Additional resources were provided by the Johns Hopkins Center in Urban Environmental Health and the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center.

Public Affairs Media Contacts: Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.