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Abbott Testifies Before U.S. Congress on Role of Private Sector in Advancing Science Education
Date:7/30/2009

WASHINGTON, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- In a hearing today of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, part of the larger Committee on Science and Technology, Abbott (NYSE: ABT) testified on its contributions as a private sector company in a multi-stakeholder, systems approach to improving kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

"At Abbott, we believe that one of the most valuable contributions we can make is providing students with access to our research and development facilities and our scientists, who engage one-on-one with students," said Kathy Pickus, division vice president, Global Citizenship and Policy, Abbott, and vice president, the Abbott Fund. "Some of today's science and engineering students will grow up to become the inventors and innovators of tomorrow's medicines and medical devices."

Abbott's Approach to Advancing Science Education

Abbott supports numerous approaches to encourage young people's interest in science and innovation. Abbott employees actively volunteer their time and share their passion for science through community schools and programs. The Abbott Fund, Abbott's non-profit philanthropic foundation, has contributed $23 million during the last five years in the U.S. in support of programs that advance STEM education at the K-12 and collegiate levels in the Chicago area, as well as in other Abbott communities.

In her testimony, Pickus explained that Abbott's approach involves supporting programs that are:

  • Built around strong partnerships, with existing educational organizations with proven records of success, such as After School Matters, which helps teens take part in engaging activities that provide skills that translate to the workplace
  • Strategic, systemic and sustainable, driven by scientific evidence and measurable outcomes, and can operate for the long-term through educator training, the recruitment of additional partners and other strategies
  • Designed to serve as a catalyst, where Abbott's involvement encourages other companies and stakeholders to get involved, as well as Abbott employee volunteers

"We need to create a culture for students in which their interest in science is encouraged, including through real world experiences beyond the classroom," said Pickus.

Abbott supports a number of "hands-on" science learning programs such as Abbott Family Science, where Abbott scientists perform experiments at schools with children ages 5-10, Operation Discovery, providing middle school students with experiences at Abbott facilities, and After School Matters-Science37, providing high school students with access to the city of Chicago's science sectors.

In addition, Abbott supports organizations that encourage young students to explore engineering through interactive projects and competitions, such as the Collegiate Inventors Competition, and the U.S. Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology's Robotics Competition. The company also supports science exhibits at museums, such as "You! The Experience" opening at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago later this year.

Today's hearing focused on Chicago Public Schools as a large urban school district case study. Chaired by Congressman Daniel Lipinski of Illinois' 3rd District, the hearing included representatives from a variety of stakeholder organizations credited with helping increase student interest in science education.

In addition to Pickus, the panel included Maggie Daley, chair, After School Matters; Michael Lach, officer of teaching and learning, Chicago Public Schools; Dr. Wanda Ward, acting assistant director, Directorate for Education and Human Resources, National Science Foundation; and Dr. Donald Wink, director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Chemistry, and director of graduate studies, Learning Sciences Research Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago.

About the Abbott Fund

The Abbott Fund is a philanthropic foundation established by Abbott in 1951. The Abbott Fund's mission is to create healthier global communities by investing in creative ideas that promote science, expand access to health care and strengthen communities worldwide. For more information, visit www.abbottfund.org.

About Abbott

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 72,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at www.abbott.com.


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