Me, A Doc

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43RR026159-01
Agency Tracking Number: RR026159
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2009-2
Small Business Information
DUNS: 806865221
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (734) 769-7269
Business Contact
Phone: (734) 769-0272
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The objective of Me, A Doc is to educate high school and undergraduate students through an inquiry-centric, web-based video game in which each student plays the role of a doctor confronted with a mysterious illness. The game will test our hypothesis that the principles of cooperative learning, note-taking, literacy scaffolding, feedback learning, inquiry, and simulated real-life experiences can be combined in a motivational, computer- based game to improve student learning about human physiology, cell biology, and disease - all in a non- judgmental way that fosters critical thinking and reduces the achievement gap often seen with minority or economically disadvantaged students. Me, A Doc will involve the user as a doc reading and taking notes from a library, taking notes from case histories and physical and laboratory examinations, linking these notes to those selected from the library, selecting tests and procedures (listed with costs and time for completion) from a virtual, scrollable, database window, explaining processes to the virtual patient, and, finally, arriving at the best diagnosis and prescribing the most appropriate therapy in the shortest time at the lowest cost. We anticipate that pilot testing of the first case developed during Phase I will reveal the technical feasibility of Me, A Doc and show that it is appreciated by and exciting to students and teachers. During Phase I we will develop the user interface with relevant reception, office, laboratory, and procedure rooms, develop a storyboard and library to support the first case with alternative diagnoses that can be logically reduced to one, obtain student and teacher feedback from a pilot feasibility test, and plan the Phase II project. During Phase II, we expect to create and pilot-test additional cases, recruit schools, and run an extensive, controlled evaluation managed by an external, independent team of experts. Primary outcome variables will be 1) improvement in understanding of biology, physiology, and disease, and 2) reduction in the achievement gap often seen between the performance of groups of students differing in gender, race/ethnicity, educational background, and socioeconomic status. Secondary outcome variables will be measures of student and teacher attitudes and possible change in science career plans. The project is directly relevant to the mission of the NCRR: application of educational technology and tools for education on health science topics... Topics can range from basic molecular and cellular biology to human diseases... that can be extended to enhance the health science literacy of the general public. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Me, A Doc proposes an innovative approach to engage our youth in a pedagogically strong program with the motivating impact of video games. Focused on medical diagnosis, Me, A Doc uses critical thinking and scientific inquiry to guide students in understanding biology, physiology, and healthcare. This could help improve the health literacy of our citizenry and thereby reduce health care costs.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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