Some 100 high school juniors and seniors converged on the campus of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to become detectives for a day and work alongside health professionals and educators to identify and investigate an epidemiological mystery. The DSI (Disease Scene Investigation): Chocolate Town event was held at the University Conference Center. Students learned about basic ‘sleuthing’ methods used by epidemiologists to track exposures related to disease. The mystery they had to solve as a group: Does chocolate consumption increase an individual’s grade point average (GPA)? Unfortunately (but perhaps not surprisingly), the group’s collective work disproved the hypothesis.
Participants also heard from keynote speaker Dr. Jeffrey Miller, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Miller’s work has included outbreak investigations in Africa.
The DSI: Chocolate Town event, now in its third year, provides participants with the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning and interactive activities related to epidemics while exploring careers in the field of public health. It is made possible through collaboration between Penn State College of Medicine, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, area education and career development specialists, the Capital Region Partnership for Career Development and the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) of the National Institutes of Health.
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