Full Text ES-93-002


NIH GUIDE, Volume 22, Number 25, July 16, 1993

RFA:  ES-93-002

P.T. 34

  Health & Safety Standards, Environ 
  Health and Safety Education 
  Instruction Materials & Practices 

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  September 20, 1993
Application Receipt Date:  November 24, 1993


Human health and human disease result from three interactive
elements:  environmental factors, genetic susceptibility, and age.
The mission of the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences (NIEHS) is to reduce the burden of human illness and
dysfunction from environmental causes by further understanding each
of these elements and how they interrelate.  The NIEHS achieves its
mission through a multidisciplinary biomedical research program,
prevention and intervention efforts, and a communication strategy
that encompasses training, education, technology transfer, and
community outreach.  The ultimate goal of the NIEHS activities is to
define and understand the mechanism of action of environmental agents
on human health and to transfer this knowledge to the public benefit.

The NIEHS is playing an increasingly important role in numerous
public health issues because of the desire of the public to
understand the effects and risks to human health from exposure to
physical and chemical agents.  Although the public is challenged
daily to make decisions on the risk and benefits of agents that
permeate society, there have been few if any programs that prepare
the public to meet this challenge.  For example, in the past few
years there have been media reports concerning the hazards of
electromagnetic radiation, chemicals in drinking water, and
pesticides in food.  While the scientific community has been tasked
with making scientifically based recommendations on the safety of
chemicals and physical agents, the general public has become
increasingly involved in the regulatory decision-making process.
Therefore, there is a critical need to develop a mechanism for
educating the general public about environmental health issues.

In recognition of the above challenge, a mandate in the 1990s is to
reach out to students in grade school and high school to improve
their science literacy.  In the fall of 1992 the NIEHS established a
priority to develop an environmental health sciences education
program at the K-12 levels.  The objective of this program is to
improve the understanding of environmental health issues by all
students and to expand career awareness for those interested in
pursuing further education leading to research and service
occupations in environmental health sciences.

This Request for Applications (RFA) is for development of educational
materials related to environmental health sciences in grades K-12.
The specific intent of this announcement is to promote development of
instructional materials that will enhance students' comprehension and
interest in environmental health sciences.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This RFA,
Environmental Health Sciences Education, is related to the priority
area of environmental health.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy
of "Healthy People 2000" (Full Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0) or
"Healthy People 2000" (Summary Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00473-1)
through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office,
Washington DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-783-3238).


Organizations with a scientific or educational mission are eligible
to submit applications.  Such groups include colleges and
universities; state and local education agencies; professional
societies; museums; research laboratories; media producers; private
foundations and industries; and other public and private
education-related organizations, for-profit and non-profit.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to form consortia entailing active
participation by more than one of these groups.  Applicants must
include teachers and other school personnel in the planning and
evaluation of materials/activities.  In addition, because of the wide
range of environmental health science and education issues to be
addressed, only applications that include research scientists,
technical writers, and educators will be considered.

At a minimum, applications must include one active researcher in an
environmental health science area relevant to the mission of the
NIEHS, a technical writer with demonstrated expertise in the
development of education materials, and an educator with demonstrated
expertise in curriculum development/implementation.

Applications from education institutions with significant minority
enrollments and from Principal Investigators who are women or
minority group members are especially encouraged.


This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Education
Project Grant (R25).  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and
execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the
applicant.  The total project period for applications submitted in
response to the present RFA may not exceed three years, and projects
are not renewable.

This RFA is a one-time solicitation.


The estimated funds (total costs) available for the first year of
support for the entire program is anticipated to be $500,000.  The
maximum award will be $100,000 in direct costs per year.  Indirect
costs will be paid at eight percent of direct costs less appropriate
exclusions.  It is expected that four to six awards will be made.

This level of support is dependent on the receipt of a sufficient
number of applications of high scientific merit.  Although this
program is provided for in the financial plans of the NIEHS, awards
pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds
for this purpose.



The "High School and Beyond" Surveys, which have been widely
discussed, show a steady decline in the numbers of students
interested in careers in natural science or engineering. As an
example, of 4 million high school sophomores in school in 1977 only
9,700 were projected to reach the Ph.D. degree in 1992.  In response
to this and other evidence of a decline in the performance of
American students in science and mathematics, a new urgency has led
to a national awareness of the need to improve the teaching and
learning in these fields.

The momentum for major changes in the way that science is taught in
grades K-12 has been increasing rapidly in recent years as has the
amount of money provided from public and private sources to support
retraining of teachers, development of curricula, and provision of
educational technology.  The initiative to support K-12 science
education has received high priority from the Director, NIEHS; and
the commitment of the NIH, the PHS, Department of Health and Human
Services, and the President is well documented.  Also at the national
level, the National Science Foundation, through its Directorate for
Education and Human Resources, and the Department of Education,
through its Eisenhower program, are supporting major reform
activities by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
(AAAS), the National Science Teachers Association, the National
Research Council and other organizations.  Likewise, various other
Federal Agencies, Departments of Energy and Agriculture, National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, Environmental Protection
Agency, and the NIH, to name a few, are all investing in K-12
programs related to their missions.  The NIEHS has established a
"Summers of Discovery" program to support high school teachers and
students in summer research opportunities as part of its intramural
program and has conducted a variety of career awareness and education
programs for students and teachers.

While the approach and content of the science curriculum is
undergoing change, in none of the national efforts to develop new
curricula or teaching standards is there a systematic approach to
educational activities linking the environment to human health
concerns.  The various approaches may call on related issues or use
examples from the environmental health sciences (EHS) as the basis
for problem-solving, hands-on experiences, and critical thinking
skill development, but materials are lacking, teachers are not well
prepared, and the relationship of EHS, as a concept, to the standard
K-12 curricula is not evident.

On December 14-15, 1992, the NIEHS Office of Institutional
Development convened a forum of teachers, scientists, science
educators, administrators, and persons representing various
associations to advise on the establishment of an Environmental
Health Sciences Education Program.  The Forum discussed and made
recommendations in four areas:

(1) Curriculum:  Environmental Health Sciences curriculum should be
multi-disciplinary and be infused into existing curricula at
appropriate grade levels.

(2) Needs that must be addressed in developing programs: There should
be defined outcomes, teacher training, equipment and materials,
community support, appropriate assessment, involvement of the science
community, and inclusion of underrepresented groups.

(3) Identification of existing models:  There are many programs that
exist in related fields which could be used as framework for the EHS

(4) Barriers to the development of K-12 programs in EHS:  Lack of
public awareness, poor science background of teachers, overloaded
curricula, lack of materials, and inadequate funding impede the
implementation of EHS in the curriculum.

The recommendations of this Forum provide the basis for a
comprehensive NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Education Program,
of which this RFA is a component.

Goals for the NIEHS Education Program

For Students:  The enhancement of critical thinking skills to develop
a sense of personal involvement in the issues and challenges created
by the linkage of human health with environmental factors; competence
in identifying problems, assembling relevant data, arriving at
solutions; deeper understanding of concepts of environmental health
sciences through applications of the scientific process to issues of
health and the environment, awareness of career opportunities in
environmental health fields and the background essential to those

For Teachers:  Greater awareness of environmental health science
issues as a means of teaching science concepts and generating social
responsibility in students; stronger knowledge base of environmental
health sciences concepts through real life applications; a broader
range of techniques and methods of teaching science; enhanced
professional stature through opportunities to interact with
scientists in team situations.

For Parents and Communities:  Opportunities to participate with
students and teachers in educational activities based on real
problems found in homes and communities and to influence outcomes.

Description of this Initiative

This RFA is for the development of environmental health sciences
education materials for three major divisions of students, K-4th,
5th-8th, and 9th-12th grades.  While other student groupings are
used, this grouping has been adopted for use in this document to help
describe the intent of the RFA.  It is not an endorsement of such a
grouping approach, but it is used in this RFA as a convenience.  This
RFA will support grants for support of groups of scientists,
technical writers and educators to develop materials for students in
any or all of the grade groups that will improve their understanding
and interest in environmental health sciences.  Applications can be
for the development of materials either for a specific grade group or
all three grade groups.  It is essential that this be a collaboration
between scientists who are familiar with environmental health
sciences issues, technical writers who are knowledgeable about health
issues, and educators who are familiar with teaching these grade
levels.  The ultimate goal of these activities is to foster
environmental health sciences education and to improve the
understanding of the accomplishment and implications of environmental
health sciences for these student groups.

It is important to note that proposed projects should focus on the
interrelationship between environmental factors and human health.
Programs addressing only ecology or only health and biology will be
considered unresponsive.  Applicants are encouraged to concentrate on
emerging issues of broad scope that clearly portray interactions
between human health and the environment.

The NIEHS recognizes the need to include teacher training in the
Education Program, however, for this RFA, teacher training is not a
part of the RFA.  However, the applicant is expected to include a
plan for the dissemination/demonstration of the materials developed
at appropriate meetings such as the National Science Teachers
Association national meeting or other comparable meeting.

The application should include a plan for the national distribution
of the materials developed under this initiative.  While it may be
necessary to validate the materials locally or regionally,
applications which are not targeted to the national student
population will be considered unresponsive.

Because the NIEHS believes there should be a thematic approach to EHS
issues throughout the three educational levels, applications should
address the development of materials on an issue which could be
infused into the science curriculum of the three groups.  However, an
applicant can produce materials for a single educational level.  The
intent of this RFA is for the development of a sequence of materials
in which the student is introduced at the K-4 level to an
environmental health sciences concept.  Subsequently, the student
would be reintroduced in the 5-8 and 9-12 grades to the same topic
but there would be more depth in the material.  This spaced learning
approach has been demonstrated to be successful.  For example, the
K-4 material could be an introduction to a biological concept and
environmental health sciences issue, the 5-8 material could be the
identification of an appropriate topic and exploration of the
phenomenon underlying its environmental health science consequences,
and the 9-12 material could deal with further exploration of the
issue, e.g., abstract thinking or specific scientific experiments.
Thus an issue/theme could be infused into the science curriculum at
each level.  Since other approaches are possible, the applicants are
encouraged to use their expertise and experience to develop the
framework for the program.

Also, any materials produced should take into account current
knowledge of research, practices, and standards specifically related
to science learning, attitudes, motivation and instructional

In addition, the applicant should address how the materials will be
infused into the curriculum of the target population.

The NIEHS encourages and supports the initiation of cooperative
efforts among the diverse elements in the scientific and education
communities.  The NIEHS seeks to focus on the improvement of
environmental health sciences literacy through partnerships between
public and private sector organizations and active scientists.  At a
minimum, applications should include an active researcher in an
environmental health science area relevant to the mission of the
NIEHS, an educator with demonstrated expertise in the classroom, and
a technical writer with experience in the development of science
education materials.  Each application should include a plan for the
evaluation of the materials and the assessment of its effectiveness
in meeting the learning objectives.

Applications submitted under this RFA should focus on basic biology
elements and use environmental health sciences topics to teach such

Specific examples of the types of activities that may be proposed
include, but are not limited to:

o  Developing innovative materials, techniques, and/or curriculum
materials for environmental health sciences areas.  The applicant
should specifically address in the application how these materials
will be infused into the curriculum, how the materials will be tested
and evaluated, and the number of students to be impacted initially
and after the materials are completed.  Applications in this area
should include a mechanism for testing materials at both the local
and national level.

o  Preparation and/or presentation of materials for environmental
health sciences education or of media programs in this area of
science.  These may include television, radio, videotape, videodisc,
magazine articles or books aimed at the general student.  Projects
will not be supported, however, that are for stand-alone media
activities.  These must be tied to a program to infuse these
materials into an existing curriculum.  The development of articles
for the currently used magazines in biology, general science,
chemistry or other science publications used in the three grade
groups will be considered responsive to the program.  However these
applications should be comprehensive in scope, address several  areas
of environmental health sciences, and have a capacity for evaluation
of the materials.

Specific examples of instructional topics/units that may be proposed
include, but are not limited to, the contribution of environmental
factors to:

o  Aging
o  Cancer
o  Cardiovascular diseases
o  Cellular events
o  Diseases of the workplace
o  Genetics and susceptibility to disease
o  Immune function
o  Lung diseases and asthma
o  Neurological dysfunction
o  Reproductive and developmental effects

Relationships to Other Federal Programs in Science Education

Applications that propose working relationships with major science
education projects/groups such as the NSF Statewide Systemic
Initiatives program, the Department of Education Regional Consortia
for Science and Mathematics, American Chemical Society, the National
Science Teachers Association, American Chemical Society, National
Association Biology Teachers, or other federal, state, or national
organizations/programs are particularly encouraged.


Awardees under this program will submit final copies of all materials
developed with support from the NIEHS to the Program Administrator.
These materials will be made available to the general public.  In
addition, each application should include a provision for attending
an annual meeting at the NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, NC.

Publications or audiovisual materials costing over $25,000 each may
be produced with project funds only if prior written approval is
obtained from the NIEHS.  Two copies of the finished product must be
supplied along with the annual or final progress report.

Any products derived from the project activity must be publicized,
and must be available in the public domain.  Any project funded under
the RFA may not be used to endorse or publicize any profit-making

An annual progress report must be filed with the Grants Management
Officer of the NIEHS, and a final report is due within 90 days of the
end of the project period.  Annual reports are expected to summarize
goals, methods, and results of activities undertaken.  The following
features must be specifically addressed:  student learning outcomes;
performance of female and minority students; changes in student
attitudes toward environmental health sciences; and changes in
instructional approaches brought about by new instructional
materials.  It should also be accompanied by at least two copies of
any materials intended for dissemination developed as part of the

The general requirements cited above represent only a portion of the
applicable PHS policy under which the R25 awards will be
administered.  All awards will be administered under PHS grants
policy as stated in the PHS Grants Policy Statement, DHHS Publication
No. (OASH) 90-50,000 (Rev) October 1, 1990.  All grant awardees
should have available to them a copy of this document.


Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by September 20, 1993, a
letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed
project, the name, address, and telephone number of the Principal
Investigator, the identities of other key personnel and participating
institutions, and the number and title of the RFA in response to
which the application may be submitted.

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does
not enter into the review of subsequent applications, the information
that it contains is helpful in planning for the review of
applications.  It allows NIEHS staff to estimate the potential review
workload and to avoid conflict of interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Michael J. Galvin, Jr. at
the address listed under INQUIRIES.


The research grant application form PHS 398 (Rev. 9/91) is to be used
in applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most
institutional offices of sponsored research; from the Office of
Grants Information, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes
of Health, 5333 Westbard Avenue, Room 449, Bethesda, MD 20892,
telephone (301) 594-7378.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 application form must be
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  Failure
to use this label could result in delayed processing of the
application such that it may not reach the review committee in time
for review.  In addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on
line 2a of the face page of the application form and the YES box must
be marked.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including
the checklist and three signed photocopies in one package to:

Division of Research Grants
National Institutes of Health
Westwood Building, Room 240
Bethesda, MD  20892**

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application
must also be sent to:

Dr. Allen Dearry
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
104 T.W. Alexander Drive
P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-4943

Applications must be received by November 24, 1993.  If an
application is received after that date, it will be returned to the


Applications will be administratively reviewed for completeness by
the Division of Research Grants (DRG) and responsiveness to this
announcement by NIEHS staff.  Applications found to be incomplete or
nonresponsive will be returned to the applicant without further

Those applications that are complete and responsive may be subjected
to triage to determine their educational and scientific merit
relative to other applications received in response to this RFA.  The
NIEHS will administratively withdraw from competition those
applications judged to be noncompetitive and so notify the applicant
and institutional official.  Those applications judged to be
competitive will undergo further scientific merit review.  These
applications will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria stated
in the RFA for scientific/technical merit by an appropriate peer
review group convened by the NIEHS.  The second level of review will
be provided by the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences


Merit and significance of the proposed project as determined by such
factors as content, originality, feasibility, relationship to
established state and national standards, the quality and usefulness
of instructional materials to be developed, and the likely
applicability of these materials to national efforts to improve
students' understanding of environmental health sciences.

Capacity of the project to develop or enhance students' critical
thinking and problem solving abilities.

Emphasis of the project upon depth of study rather than breadth of

Qualifications and research/education experience of the Principal
Investigator and staff, particularly, but not exclusively, in areas
relevant to the mission of the NIEHS. Individuals with strong subject
matter skills are expected to play key roles.  Personnel should
demonstrate knowledge of the needs of their target audience in
educational settings.  The technical writer(s) and educator(s) should
have appropriate       qualifications in curriculum
development/implementation.  There should be evidence of cooperation
and interaction among scientific, educational, and writing staff.

Availability of resources necessary to perform project objectives.

Appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to
proposed objectives.

Design of the project for success of all students, regardless of
background or ability, especially those from underrepresented
populations, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities,
and the economically disadvantaged.  This may be accomplished
through inclusion of culturally familiar examples and/or
incorporation of appropriate role models.

Feasibility of plans for independently continuing the program.
Evidence of continuing commitment on the part of the proposing
institution and of long-term impact of the proposed project is
especially important.  Applicants may consider cost sharing in order
to continue their program beyond the period of NIEHS funding.

Plans for evaluation of factors contributing to the project's
effectiveness.  While descriptive or numeric data related to the
number of students served could be a component, evaluations limited
to such data alone will be considered unacceptable.  Evaluations
should include a measure of the impact of the project on students'
knowledge of environmental health sciences.  Assessment before and
after using the developed materials will be necessary.  Strategies
for student assessment of developed materials may also be

Plans for distribution of results and products in the educational
arena.  Programs limited to a segment of the national student
population or to a local or regional school system(s) will be
considered unresponsive.  Projects should be national in scope and

Strength of institutional commitment as evidenced by provision of
appropriate resources, services, technical support, and allocation of

Demonstration of current knowledge of research practices and
standards, specifically those related to science learning, attitudes,
motivation and instructional strategies.


The anticipated date of award is July 1, 1994.

The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

o  Quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review
o  Availability of funds
o  Program balance and relevance to mission of NIEHS
o  Number of students impacted by the project


Written and telephone inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.
The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential
applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues and address the letter
of intnet to:

Michael J. Galvin, Jr., Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-7825
FAX:  (919) 541-2843

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Mr. David L. Mineo
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-1373


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.113 and 93.115.  Awards are made under
authorization of the Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A
(Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 43 USC 241 and
285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal
Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not
subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive
Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.


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