Engaging Children in Hands-on STEM Activity at Atlanta Science Festival

The Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance (Georgia CTSA) was a proud sponsor of The Kids and Families Impacting Disease through Science (KIDS) Georgia booth at the 2019 Atlanta Science Festival’s Exploration Expo on March 24, 2019, at Piedmont Park.

Over 2,000 children and their parents stopped by the annual Georgia CTSA-sponsored KIDS Georgia booth for a hands-on, interactive STEM activity. The children learned about coding as they made bracelets with their initials in binary code. KIDS Georgia members enjoyed teaching the audience about the organization as well as giving back to the community.

KIDS Georgia is co-led by the Georgia CTSA's Pediatric Research Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Egleston. KIDS is a collaboration between the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Advances in Therapeutics and Technology, local AAP Chapters, children’s hospitals, universities, private pediatric groups, and local schools. KIDS Georgia is a local chapter of the International Children’s Advisory Network, a consortium designed to improve the research process by giving children, both well and sick, and their families a platform to give constructive input on improving the research and medical innovation process. The group utilizes online-based surveys, focus groups, forums, and more to engage all of the youth advisory networks. The diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, as well as varied health statuses, pose an ideal, diverse network through which researchers can conduct studies and receive feedback. Bringing the perspective of a younger population creates meaningful outcomes for research as a whole.

This network is a vital component to empowering the youth of today, giving them back their part in the research process. Increasing children’s awareness and exposure to medicine also encourages and enlightens them to the power of clinical trials, as their participation will give future children better access to life-saving interventions. This network and these local chapters work together to give kids ownership of their healthcare and incentive to take charge of their lives. Reducing disease in some of the world’s most vulnerable people requires researchers to listen to them.

Georgia CTSA Pediatrics, in collaboration with the Georgia CTSA Clinical Research Centers (GCRCs) and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (Children's), supports a Clinical Research Center located on the Children's at Egleston campus. The Pediatric Clinical Research Center is designed to provide the necessary infrastructure for investigators conducting pediatric clinical research and is a pediatric clinical interaction research site of Georgia CTSA. The center improves the ability of pediatric researchers to perform innovative research while providing patients and their families with increased access to leading-edge clinical trials.

The Georgia CTSA is a statewide partnership between Emory, MSM, Georgia Tech, and UGA and is one of over 50 in a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards, shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical investigators.