Health in Our Hands: diabetes and substance use education through a new genomic framework for schools and communities

Stephen M. Modell, Irene S. Bayer, Sharon L.R. Kardia, Consuelo J. Morales, Idit Adler, Ella Greene-Moton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From May 2014 through June 2019, educational, health, and academic partners under an NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) engaged 1271 6th through 8th grade students and their families in the “A New Genomic Framework for Schools and Communities” program. Evaluation addressed the effectiveness of the Health in Our Hands genomics curriculum, which employed Next Generation Science Standards and community action research projects to target two common, complex conditions—type 2 diabetes and substance use disorder (SUD)—in the underserved cities of Flint and Detroit, MI, USA. Curriculum outcomes were measured with classroom surveys, presentation event questionnaires, and adult interviews using mixed qualitative/quantitative (SPSS V. 25.0) methods involving generalized linear mixed modeling-based ANOVA. The diabetes unit enactment registered a 12% pre- /post-gain among students in perceived learning about genes and the environment. Both diabetes and SUD units showed statistically significant gains in perceived learning about health and health conditions and the importance of what students were learning to everyday life. A total of 73.4% of fall 2018 SUD event participants indicated increased awareness of educational and career choices in science. Moderate gains were noted during the diabetes curriculum in students sharing what they learned with friends and family. 9/11 parents and 5/9 community members attending the student presentation event had discussed diabetes with a student. Linked formal classroom and informal community-connected approaches can successfully be used to teach genomics and promote project-based learning in students, family, and community members. Further efforts are needed to effectively engage families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-225
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Community Genetics
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jan 2023
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Diabetes
  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Health education
  • Mixed methods research
  • Problem-based learning
  • Program evaluation
  • Schools
  • Science education
  • Substance use disorder


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