The Academy for Teaching About Health and Environment Associations (ATHENA)

Our First Cohort

This in-depth workshop series immerses high school teachers in the fascinating and highly relevant field of environmental and occupational health sciences. It is not intended to promote any particular curriculum, but rather to stimulate participants’ thinking, deepen their content knowledge, and promote creative scientific inquiry.

Our first cohort of 23 teachers from around Washington State completed the two-part workshop in May of 2011. Part 1 took place over three days in August of 2010, then the teachers returned to their classrooms and designed and implemented new units based on what they had learned. In May 2012, they returned to share their successes with one another and UW faculty and staff during a follow-up session. The program provided support for travel, lodging, some meals, a modest stipend, and reimbursement for substitute teachers for the May session. Clock hours or UW credit were available upon completion of the workshop. The ATHENA pilot project was supported in part through a two-year, one-time award from the UW Departmentof Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

The 2010-11 Teacher's Guide is available free (View/Downlaod the PDF, 1.43 MB).

Click on the image below to view a short video about the 2011-12 ATHENA experience.


Our Second ATHENA Cohort

During the 2012-13 academic year, we partnered with the Bellevue School District's high school health teachers. This dedicated group of educators is in the process of revising their curriculum and generously agreed to participate in ATHENA in order to include more environmental health related content in their teaching. In order to tailor the experience to their unique needs as health teachers, we worked with Laughing Crow Curriculum to revise the workshop materials and align them with the Essential Academic Learning Requirements for health. This resulted in the development of a series of five modules that introduce core concepts of environmental health through three main health tracks: nutrition, drugs, and family and societal issues.

The following 2012-13 workshop materials are available for free download:

Project Background

The overarching purpose of the ATHENA project is to improve secondary education across Washington State by infusing the curriculum that is currently presented in high schools with environmental and occupational health sciences (EOHS) related concepts and content. With support from the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS), CEEH outreach staff hosted a workshop in the summer of 2010 that trained high school science, health, and career and technical education teachers in the core concepts of EOHS. Participating teachers attended workshops to gain the necessary knowledge and skills for helping their students better understand the health risks posed by environmental hazards, including those found in the workplace. We also gave teachers the skills and resources to empower students to make individual and collective behavior changes to protect themselves and their communities from environmental hazards. The ATHENA project directly responds to the Washington state legislature’s mandate for universities to serve the community and supports the goals of the UW School of Public Health to promote population health through education and service. The project is currently funded and managed by the NIEHS Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health.