Community Outreach

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

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.  

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.