NEW YORK -- How does SARS spread, and what can be done to stop it? What are the many factors contributing to the obesity epidemic that's sweeping our nation? How can we protect communities from West Nile Virus? As these and other public health challenges dominate the news, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the College Board today launched the Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) student competition. With nearly half a million dollars in total scholarship awards, the program encourages high school juniors and seniors to learn more about epidemiology, the basic science of public health.
Epidemiology explores patterns of disease, illness and injury within populations, with the goal of developing methods for prevention, control and treatment to improve health. The basic skills required by epidemiology-- framing the right question, collecting relevant information and analyzing it to answer the question--will help students succeed in any area of study.
"We want to attract the best and brightest students to the YES competition," said J. Michael McGinnis, M.D., RWJF senior vice president. "We hope YES will awaken them to the power and principles of epidemiology, and enhance their ability to evaluate complex problems. We also hope the scholars will go on to make valuable contributions to our nation's health."
The YES student competition seeks outstanding original research projects in which students apply the principles of epidemiology to a health-related area. The competition is open to high school juniors and seniors and will award up to 120 scholarships to regional and national winners. Two national winners each will receive a $50,000 scholarship. The YES program also includes a teacher competition, now in its second year, that highlights innovative epidemiology curricula.
Read more about the competition and online registration. The deadline for entries is February 6, 2004. YES will host regional competitions in the spring. Twelve finalists will travel to Washington, D.C., in May 2004 for the national competition.
"This is an important competition, not only because it offers generous college scholarships, but also because of the unique way it can develop and expand how young people think," said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. "We are proud to lend our voice and skills to The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's efforts to encourage greater understanding of epidemiology and public health issues."
RWJF chose the College Board to administer the YES program because of its strong connections to teachers and students through existing initiatives such as the Advanced Placement Program®.
For more information, contact Jennifer Topiel at (212) 713-8052.