Community Outreach

Physiology faculty, fellows, and students engage in community education and service in the greater New Orleans metropolitan area.

Physiologists serve as judges for the APS Elementary and High Science Fair Awards, The Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering and Benjamin Franklin High School Science Fairs.

Physiologists educate the community through the Alcohol Awareness and Public Health HIV/AIDS Awareness programs and serve the community through the St. Joseph’s Rebuild Center.  

The annual Physiology Understanding (PhUn) Week program is the American Physiological Society’s (APS) major outreach event to pre-college classrooms in a concerted effort. Dr. Patricia Molina, Professor and Head of the Physiology Department and APS president, together with LSUHSC APS members (faculty, staff, trainees, and students) have established and fostered relationships with teachers in the local communities where the Phun Week events take place. In these events teachers and physiologists work together and the students participate in hands-on learning activities, such as a group exercises on heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, muscle contractions, and the cardiovascular system. This year the Physiology Department Phun Week events were a huge success with more than 500 students reached at 8 event sites across New Orleans, Metairie, and the North Shore, being coordinated by 8 APS members (total of 45 hours invested) including Drs. Lauri Byerley,  Jason Gardner,  Lisa Harrison-Bernard, Flavia Souza-Smith, Liz Simon, Karina Villalba, and Annie Whitaker. They served as lead coordinators for a total of 11 scientists (100% of student participation), presenting and partnering with 17 classroom teachers and educators. The grade levels targeted at these events varied from K-12. The schools involved were Fontainebleau High School (grades 10-12th), Holy Name of Jesus School (K), Mandeville High School (grades 10-12th), John Quincy Adams School (6-7th), Ben Franklin High School (11th), St Angela Merici School (3rd), Florida Avenue Elementary School (4th), and Crocker College Prep (1st).

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Most visits include a PPT presentation, hands-on experimental activity with data sheets, and group discussions.  PPT presentations are given by all physiology participants including some or all of the following topics:  What is physiology? What is a physiologist? How do you become a physiologist? What are career opportunities of a physiologist?  The scientific method, specific physiological concept, and hands-on activity are discussed.

Hands-on Activities

  • Dress-A-Scientist:  students provided lab coats, gloves, goggles, masks, hair bonnets, shoe covers
  • Draw and Color a Scientist:  students present and discuss traits of scientists
  • Blood Vessel Function:  concepts of fluid flow in blood vessels; Is it easier for blood to travel through healthy blood vessels or damaged, narrower ones? students drink juice through a narrow and regular drink straw
  • Lung Function:  lung-o-meter, talk about lungs and air, measure how much air we can blow out, predict who has the greatest vital lung capacity, males? females? taller?
  • Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems and Exercise:  basic regulation of blood pressure, health effects of exercise on the cardiovascular system; Does what we eat matter to our hearts? exercise effects on ventilation rate, heart rate, and blood pressure; students sit at rest and then jog in place
  • Metabolism and Exercise:  importance of exercise and how it relates to metabolism, metabolic equations
  • Gifts given to teachers and students provided by the APS

 

Additional outreach is sponsored by the Alcohol and Drug Absue Center of Excellence and the Comprehensive Alcohol Research Center.