Release Date: September 2, 1999

RFA:  ES-99-011

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  October 4, 1999
Application Receipt Date:  December 21, 1999


The purpose of this initiative is to utilize environmental health science as
an integrating context (EHSIC) to be implemented in K-12 curricula that will
improve overall academic performance as well as enhance student awareness and
knowledge of environmental health science.


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 Request for Applications (RFA),
Environmental Health Science as an Integrative Context for Learning, is
related to one or more of the priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain
a copy of "Healthy People 2000" at


Applications may be submitted by schools, for-profit and non-profit
organizations, public, and private, such as universities, colleges, hospitals,
laboratories, units of State and local governments, and eligible agencies of
the Federal government. Applications from educational 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) award mechanism.  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and
execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant.  The
total project period for an application submitted in response to this RFA may
not exceed 7 years.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  Future unsolicited
competing continuation applications will compete with all investigator-
initiated applications and be reviewed according to the customary peer review
procedures.  The anticipated award date is July 1, 2000.


The estimated funds (total costs) available for the first year of support for
the entire program is anticipated to be $2,000,000.  The maximum award will be
$250,000 in direct costs per year.  Indirect costs will be paid at eight
percent of direct costs less appropriate exclusions.  It is expected that
seven to eight 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 National Institute of Environmental Health Science (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 to
make decisions on the risk and benefits of agents which permeate society,
there have been few, if any, programs which 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.  To address this need, the NIEHS has initiated a K-12 education

The "High School and Beyond" Surveys, which have been widely discussed, show a
steady decline in the scientific literacy of students and in the number of
students interested in careers in natural science or engineering.  As an
example, of four million high school sophomores in school in 1977 only 9,700
were projected to reach the Ph.D. degree in 1992.  The 1996 and 1998 releases
of the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) studies assessing US
eighth and twelfth grade student performance is demonstrative of the
continuing decline of American students in science and math achievement in
comparison with students from other countries participating in these studies.
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 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 technologies.

The NIEHS seeks to enhance dissemination, utilization, and effective
implementation of materials and curricula pertaining to environmental health
science. A necessary step in achieving this objective is the provision of
teachers with requisite disciplinary and pedagogical skills.  Through NIEHS
supported programs, curricula materials addressing multiple environmental
health issues have been generated that are grade level appropriate for K-12
students. Moreover, teacher training at sites around the nation, that include
teachers from New Jersey to Alaska, has been done to help implement
environmental health science education at the K-12 grade level. The NIEHS
recognizes the need for all students in our nation to perform/learn at levels
that are compatible with the National Science Education Standards, as well
improving overall academic performance.  The specific intent of this program
is to organize environmental health science activities into a variety of
curricular areas, that will improve overall academic performance as well as
enhance students' comprehension of and interest in environmental health

The State Education and Environment Roundtable (SEER), funded by the Pew
Charitable Trust, recently released a report, Closing the Achievement Gap:
Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning. This study
examined the impact on student learning in school systems that utilize this
concept in education.  Positive outcomes associated with these methods
o  better performance on standardized measures of academic achievement in
reading, writing, math, science, and social studies;
o  increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning; and
o  greater pride and ownership in accomplishments.

It is important to note that human health and human disease result from three
interactive elements: environmental factors, individual susceptibility and
age. The mission of the NIEHS is to reduce the burden of human illness and
dysfunction from environmental causes by understanding each of these elements
and how they interrelate. Hence, projects supported by this RFA are expected
to develop educational themes that cut across disciplines and that examine the
interplay of these elements. The NIEHS has developed this RFA to utilize
environmental health science as an integrating context (EHSIC) in learning.


Support of K-12 science education has received high priority from the
Director, NIH, and the Director, NIEHS.  Commitment of the Public Health
Service, Department of Health and Human Services, and the President is well
documented.  Also at the national level, the National Science Foundation,
through the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, and the Department
of Education, through the 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.  Other Federal agencies, such as the Departments of
Energy and Agriculture, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the
Environmental Protection Agency are investing in K-12 programs related to
their missions.  As part of its intramural program, NIEHS has established a
"Summers of Discovery" program to support high school teachers and students in
summer research opportunities and has conducted a variety of career awareness
and education programs for students and teachers.

Since 1966, the NIEHS has supported basic and applied biomedical research on
environmental health.  In addition to this research mission, the NIEHS also
serves an educational role.  Prior to this decade, the NIEHS had been involved
in science education mostly by supporting research training at the pre- and
postdoctoral levels, i.e., scientific career development.  However, more
recently, the NIEHS has established as a priority the development of an
environmental health sciences education program at the K-12 level.

To obtain guidance in developing this program, the NIEHS convened a forum of
teachers, scientists, science educators, administrators, and persons
representing various associations in 1992.  The forum discussed and made
recommendations in four areas:

o  Curriculum:  The environmental health science education program should be
multidisciplinary and infused into existing curricula at appropriate grade

o  Needs to 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.

o  Identification of existing models:  There are many programs that exist in
related fields that could be used as a framework for a program in
environmental health science.

o  Barriers: Lack of public awareness, the poor science background of
teachers, overloaded curricula, lack of materials, and inadequate funding
impede the implementation of environmental health science in K-12 curricula.

In response to these concerns, the NIEHS issued an RFA in 1993 for development
of educational materials related to environmental health sciences. These
grants were aimed at producing instructional materials that can be integrated
into existing science curricula and be used by all students, regardless of
ability or background.  Materials were successfully developed and field tested
and disseminated. Projects range from adventure stories and mini-magazines for
lower grade levels, to board games and videos for middle grades to interactive
CD-ROMs for higher grade levels. A variety of topics are addressed including
indoor and outdoor air quality, hazardous residential and industrial exposures
and basic tenets of biology and toxicology.  Descriptions and information on
availability of the materials developed as a result of cell these awards can
be viewed at the following URL address:

To ensure that such materials are utilized in the classroom, the NIEHS issued
a second RFA in 1996 to address teacher training in K-12 environmental health
science education. Through these projects, ongoing throughout the country,
teachers interact with environmental health scientists in a continuing fashion
and are provided with current skills, knowledge, and course materials to
integrate environmental health science into existing courses. A description of
these programs can be viewed at:

In addition, the NIEHS supports K-12 environmental health science education
via other means. For example, the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)
program may be utilized to develop educational materials.  In collaboration
with the Society of Toxicology (SOT), the NIEHS supports additional training
of K-12 teachers. In collaboration with the Office of Science Education, OD,
NIH, the NIEHS supports additional development of instructional materials.
Moreover, the NIEHS has a network of 26 Centers across the country, each of
which has a Community Outreach and Education Program (see
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/centers/home.htm). As part of their goal of
translating research findings into knowledge that can be applied to public
health, many of these centers are engaged in K-12 educational activities in
both instructional material development and teacher training.


Based upon programmatic accomplishments, the NIEHS has implemented the most
comprehensive and successful K-12 education program within the NIH. The
present RFA expands upon this foundation by broadening the scope of NIEHS K-12
activities to include new partners, e.g., school districts and new curricula,
e.g., non-science courses. The specific intent of this initiative is to employ
EHSIC as a means of improving students' overall academic performance. To
achieve this overarching goal, the following aims are identified as being

o  Integration of an environmental health topic(s) into a variety of academic
disciplines.  Environmental health science tools and skills must be integrated
as a curricular theme.  Approaches for training non-science teachers to
utilize curricular materials effectively within the scope of their academic
subjects may be developed.

o  While not mandatory, the use of environmental health science curricular
materials previously developed is encouraged. Projects should ascertain if the
use of culturally appropriate/sensitive environmental health science
curricular materials enhances overall academic performance.

o  For Students:  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 the
concepts of environmental health sciences through applications of the
scientific process; awareness of career opportunities in environmental health
fields and the background essential to those careers; better performance on
standardized tests through use of EHSIC; and improved comprehension of all
academic disciplines.

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

To achieve these objectives, requirements of this program include:

o  Projects must have active collaboration among an educator, a state
department of education, and an environmental health scientist. Applications
that contain an instructional material development component must also include
a technical writer or media producer.  Applications lacking all required
partners will considered nonresponsive. The effort, role, and responsibility
of each partner must be specifically identified and described. Subcontract
arrangements may be appropriate. Moreover, the applicants must demonstrate the
complete support of the principal(s) of the school(s) and the school district
superintendent where the project is to be implemented.  The applicant can be
the educator, the state department of education, the school district, school
or scientist. In addition, there must be a critical mass of teachers involved;
this requirement will vary with the grade level, as middle and high school
students have multiple teachers for different subjects in contrast to the
number of teachers to whom K-5 students are exposed.  The project must foster
integrated, collaborative, interdisciplinary hands on team teaching.

o  Subjects included for study must be relevant, contemporary, and encourage
interdisciplinary integration of environmental health sciences.  An
environmental health concept or theme must be identified and studied in at
least three different subject areas, e.g., biology, health, civics, social
studies, math, chemistry, language arts, etc. At least one of these subjects
should be non-science. Educational concepts used in this approach should be
organized around local/community environmental health issues. Utilization of
local environmental health concerns will make this experience more relevant
for students and teachers and provide a basis for students to make informed
environmental health science decisions in future years. It is important to
note that the chosen environmental health issue(s) for an EHSIC project must
link environment and health. Applications addressing only environmental issues
or only health issues will be considered nonresponsive. A natural advantage of
EHSIC is that it offers the capacity to span a variety of diverse subject
areas.  The connection between environment and health should be emphasized
within each of these areas.

o  Projects must develop translatable models that have evaluation capacities
that include standardized testing. Projects must adhere to national and state
education standards. Evaluation should include analysis of standardized test
scores for the grade level at which projects are implemented prior to and
after implementation at the school where the model is being tested.  Projects
should develop appropriate instruments and carry out assessment of attitudes
and knowledge about in K-12 students environmental health concepts. 
Additionally, the projects must conduct pre- and post-program implementation
evaluations of the attitudes and knowledge about environmental health impacts.

The program must be multiphasic in implementation:

o  Phase 1 encompasses teacher enhancement with existing environmental health
science curricular materials and additional instructional material
development. While materials have been developed that specifically address
environmental health science for K-12 instruction,  additional materials may
well need to be developed that will be appropriate for non-science courses
that will be included in EHSIC projects. The issue of incentives (e.g.,
graduate credit, school district credit, stipends, certificates) for
involvement of teachers in training programs must be addressed. Opportunities
for intensive interaction between researchers in environmental health science
and K-12 teachers must be maximized. Formation of scientist-teacher
partnerships, either one-on-one or site-based (e.g., between research
institutions and schools), is encouraged.

o  Phase 2 is the implementation phase of EHSIC in K-12 classrooms. During
this period, environmental health concepts should be integrated within at
least three subject areas over a minimal duration of 3 years. Teachers that
have been trained in the use of previously existing and newly developed
instructional material will integrate these materials in a manner that is
compatible with national and state curricular standards at their specific
grade level.

o  Phase 3 includes final evaluation and dissemination of the proposed model.
The evaluation and dissemination period should extend over the period of at
least one year and assess:  performance on standardized measures of academic
achievement in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies; increased
engagement and enthusiasm for learning; and awareness of environmental health
impacts. Projects can focus on the entire K-12 spectrum or natural groupings
of various grade levels.  Dissemination should address how the EHSIC project
can be translated to other school districts and include a means of
distributing the project's methods and findings to the state and national
education arenas.

Applicants should include specific steps for implementation of all 3 phases
and a timetable with measurable milestones of their achievement.


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, National
Association of Biology Teachers, or other federal, state, or national
organizations and programs are particularly encouraged.


To foster collaboration and to share approaches and evaluation strategies,
each application should include a provision and budgetary request for
attending an annual meeting at the NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, NC.


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and
their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and
compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the
research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical
Research," which was published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR
59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23, No.
11, March 18, 1994, available on the web at:


It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21)
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. 
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt
dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in
Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in the NIH Guide for
Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL
address: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html

Investigators also may obtain copies of these policies from the program staff
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant
information concerning the policy.


Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes a
descriptive title of the proposed research, 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
a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows NIEHS staff
to estimate the potential review workload and avoid conflict of interest in
the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to:

David P. Brown, M.P.H.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, MD EC-24
111 T.W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-4964
Fax:  (919) 541-2503
Email: brown4@niehs.nih.gov


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in
applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and from the Division of Extramural Outreach and
Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive,
MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/710-0267, Email:

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) application form must be
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  In addition, the
RFA title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the
application form and the YES box must be marked.  The RFA label and line 2 of
the application should both indicate the RFA number.  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.

The sample RFA label available at: 
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf has been modified to
allow for this change.  Please note this is in pdf format.

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

BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

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

David P. Brown, M.P.H.
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, MD EC-24
111 T.W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-4964
Fax:  (919) 541-2503
Email: brown4@niehs.nih.gov

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in the
heading of this RFA.  If an application is received after that date, it will
be returned to the applicant without review.

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The
CSR will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one
already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of substantial
revisions of applications already reviewed, but such applications must include
an introduction addressing the previous critique.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and
responsiveness by NIEHS staff.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications
will be returned to the applicant without further consideration. Applications
that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for scientific
and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by the NIEHS
in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the initial
merit review, a process will be used by the initial review group in which
applications receive a written critique and undergo a process in which only
those applications deemed to have the highest scientific merit, generally the
top half of the applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a
priority score, and receive a second level review by the National Advisory
Environmental Health Sciences Council or Board.

Review Criteria

o  Merit and significance of the proposed project as determined by such
factors as content, originality, feasibility, potential long term impact,
transportability, and relationship to established state and national
educational standards, educational needs, and current educational research
pertaining to instructional methodologies.

o  Capacity of the project to utilize environmental health themes as an
integrating concept within both scientific and non-scientific subject areas.

o  Demonstration within the proposed project plan of current knowledge of
research practices, outcomes, and standards, specifically those related to
science learning, attitudes, motivation, and educational strategies.

o  Evidence of cooperation and interaction among scientific and educational
staff.  The project should establish partnerships based on mutual interest and
purpose with all partners sharing in planning, development, implementation,
and follow-up activities.

o  Qualifications and research/education experience of the principal
investigator and staff, particularly but not exclusively in areas relevant to
the mission of 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.

o  Availability of resources necessary to perform project objectives.

o  Strength of commitment by the participating institution(s) as evidenced by
provision of appropriate resources, services, technical support, and
allocation of space.  Schools are expected to assist in the implementation
process by providing requisite release time and contributing to classroom
materials.  The importance of continuing education will necessitate that
schools and administrators demonstrate a definitive, long-term commitment.

o  Appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to proposed

o  Capacity to develop innovative materials, techniques, and/or curriculum
materials for environmental health science areas that lend themselves to
interdisciplinary uses.  The applicant should specifically address how these
materials will be infused into the curriculum and how the materials will be
tested and evaluated.

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

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

o  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 socioeconomically
disadvantaged.  This may be accomplished through inclusion of culturally
familiar examples and/or incorporation of appropriate role models.

o  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' overall academic performance and knowledge
of environmental health sciences. Assessment before and after using the
developed materials and curriculum will be necessary.  Strategies for student
assessment of developed materials may also be appropriate.

o  Plans for distribution of results and products in the educational arena.
EHSIC projects, while developed and tested as models on a local level, must
include national dissemination. 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

o  Feasibility of plans for independently continuing the program. Evidence of
continuing commitment on the part of the proposing institution(s) 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.

o  Adequacy of plans to include both genders and minorities and their
subgroups as appropriate.


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    October 4, 1999
Application Receipt Date:         December 21, 1999
Peer Review Date:                 March 2000
Council Review:                   May 2000
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  July 1, 2000


Criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:

o  scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o  availability of funds
o  programmatic priorities.


Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any
issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Frederick L. Tyson, Ph.D.
Chemical Exposures and Molecular Biology Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, 111 T.W. Alexander Drive, MD EC-21
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709
Telephone:  (919) 541-0176
FAX:  (919) 316-4606
Email:  tyson2@niehs.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Carolyn B. Winters
Division of Extramural Research and Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
P.O. Box 12233, 111 T.W. Alexander Drive, MD EC-22
Research Triangle Park, NC  27709-2233
Telephone:  (919) 541-7823
FAX:  (919) 541-2860
Email:  winters@niehs.nih.gov


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, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered under NIH grants policies and
Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.  This program is not
subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372
or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free
workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition,
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain
facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or
routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood
development services are provided to children.  This is consistent with the
PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the
American people.

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