'Tricks, Treats and Science Discoveries' returns to Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus October 27

Tricks or Treats

Published October 17, 2018

“Tricks, Treats and Science Discoveries: Free Family Fun and Learning Fair” is returning to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) on Saturday, October 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.  

A co-production of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence, Patient Voices Network, UB Department of Family Medicine, Jacobs School and the Fruit Belt Coalition, the second-annual Halloween event welcomes families from the surrounding neighborhood to the new Jacobs School building for an afternoon of fun activities -- including trick-or-treating, face painting, games and prizes -- plus scientific demonstrations and interactive presentations by UB faculty and staff.

“It’s a good occasion for fun and learning,” said Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter, PhD, director of Community Translational Research in UB’s Department of Family Medicine and director of Community Engagement for the CTSI. “It’s an opportunity for our neighbors to learn more about clinical and translational research on the medical campus and for our scientists to meet face-to-face with the community. We want to hear from the community about their needs and what we in the research community can do to improve health outcomes and reduce health care disparities in the region.”

The fair this year has nearly doubled in size, with organizers expecting close to 30 activity stations, including free Million Hearts Initiative adult health screenings related to heart disease and stroke. Examples of four of the activity stations follow.

  • At the “Cookie Clinical Trial” demonstration, participants are enlisted as volunteers in a controlled experiment to determine the optimal cookie characteristics, experiencing firsthand how clinical trials are run while enjoying the fruits of their research.
  • The “GEM Strawberry DNA” table shows attendees how to extract DNA from strawberries using common household liquids.
  • The “I Put a Spell on You and Now You’re Under My Microscope” station invites budding scientists to use working microscopes to identify samples of leaves, pumpkins, apples and other seasonal materials.
  • A life-size skeleton puzzle introduces basic anatomical concepts in a frightfully fun and engaging way.

Community groups such as the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library’s Bookmobile, Explore and More Children’s Museum and the Buffalo Museum of Science are also coming to the fair this year.

GEM Co-Director, Jennifer Surtees, PhD, said “GEM is thrilled to partner with groups both inside and outside of the University for a science-focused Halloween event. This as an excellent opportunity to build and strengthen relationships between UB and the community, especially around the downtown campus, as GEM works to improve genomic literacy on all fronts. We were excited to be able to help bring in new community partners and initiatives such as the Million Hearts program coordinated through the School of Nursing. It is so important for all of us to see the connections between both basic and translational research and their real impact on our everyday lives. This kind of event helps to make those connections visible in a fun and engaging way for the community.”

According to Patient Voices Network Ambassador Pamela Harold, “The purpose of the Halloween fair is to teach children and their families about science and research. I want them to see that science can be fun and that there are ways they can get involved with the research happening here at UB.”

Parents and caregivers are invited to bring their costumed children to the medical school for the three-hour fair. Healthy snacks and Halloween goodies will be served. Families are encouraged to pre-register at www.ub_halloween.eventbrite.com. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information about “Tricks, Treats and Science Discoveries: A Family-Fun Learning Fair,” email the CTSI Community Engagement team at EngageUB@buffalo.edu or call 716-816-7227.