The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

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Medical Marvels

A collaborative research competition for
Long Island students in grades 9 and 10.

Click here to view the Medical Marvels booklet.

Mission and Purpose

The North Shore-LIJ Medical Marvels Program was established in 2013 by The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and the Center for Workforce Readiness. The purpose is to encourage Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career pathways for Long Island High School Students in 9th and 10th grades. The 2014 competition will be the second year of this program.

Our mission is to raise awareness of the multidisciplinary nature of STEM careers for students at all levels of academic prowess and interest, to encourage creative thinking, and to assist school districts and industry to develop assets and build capacity to improve the economic future of our students and the Long Island region.

NOTE: This competition is open to all and students do NOT need to be in structured science research programs.

The Medical Marvels program believes in the academic promise of all students and that by investing in their ideas the future health and well being of our community will be served. Further by investing in youth and giving them a sense of place and responsibility for problem solving in the community, a community ensures that it will have bright and capable future leaders for STEM careers.

See the video below to hear about the research project from the 2013 winning team from Jericho High School.

We are pleased to announce the 2015 Medical Marvels Challenge focus on the following topic:

Mental Health

Maintaining good mental health is crucial to living a long and healthy life; the knowledge and skills for which must be learned in adolescence. Preparing teenagers to respond to social and physical stress that accompanies being a teenager requires a coordinated response from multiple stakeholders from all walks of life: parents, educators, scientists, medical personnel, social workers, businesses and politicians, alike. Doctors have long pondered the connection between our mental and physical health and though the prevailing theories have changed over the years, today we accept that there is a powerful mind body connection through which emotional, mental, social and behavioral factors can directly affect our health.

As children move through the various transitions that accompany adolescence — physical, emotional, hormonal, sexual, social, intellectual — the challenges that they encounter may seem overwhelming. For many youth or teens, the pressures that they face may lead to a variety of mental disorders. However, many may wonder whether a teen is experiencing just the typical “growing pains” or a real mental health problem. The mental health needs in this country continue to rise; yet these needs are often unmet. This issue poses a new set of challenges and opportunities for society and future scientists, academics, and politicians to solve. We hope that your unique insights will aid in the beginning of the solution.

For your reference Mental Health is: a “state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to the community.” It is estimated that only 17% of U.S adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health.

The Challenge

Respondents to this proposal are asked to present a comprehensive response including a technological component (how we can use new technology to answer some of these questions), a scientific research assessment, and public policy strategy (public health and communication) addressing the following issue in at least 1/3 multidisciplinary approaches:

The Changing Brain and Behavior in Teens – Genes, childhood experience, and the environment in which a young person reaches adolescence are all components of shaping human behavior. Likewise, research is revealing how all of these factors are in the context of a brain that is changing, with its own impact on behavior. What are the current insights into the biological basis of mental illness in adolescence? How does scientific evidence and research help us understand its causes, lead to treatments, and ultimately, cure or prevention?

Management of Social and Physical Stress – Treatments for mental health disorders are widely available, and have proven to be extremely effective, especially if they begin soon after symptoms appear. These treatments can help to reduce the impact of a mental disorder on an adolescent’s life for the future. Identify in your community: barriers to treatment, how we can improve mental health literacy, resources in your community, mental health policies, and sustainability of mental health programs.

Turning the Social and Physical Stresses of Teens into Resilience – There is emerging evidence that positive mental health is associated with improved health outcomes. This evidence substantiates the mind-body connection that has long been hypothesized. How can we create living conditions and environments that support mental health and allow people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles? How can we help develop resilient teens?


• The winning team will receive a $1,800 award
• The second place team will receive a $1,000 award
• The third place team will receive a $500 award


School Eligibility – Any New York State accredited educational institution located in Nassau or Suffolk Counties is eligible to participate. A maximum of two teams per institution will be accepted for consideration in the program.

Student Eligibility – Schools can submit 1 – 2 teams with a minimum of 3 and maximum of 6 students per team. All student team members must be in 9th or 10th grade and actively enrolled in the educational institution designated on the submission.

Note: Schools are encouraged to look for students in both formal and informal science programs.

Deadline/Important Dates

  • November 14, 2014: Letter of Intent due, submit to cwr@nshs.edu.
  • November 17, 2014: Formal competition application forms and directions will be sent to schools that submitted letters of intent.
  • December 2, 2014: Webinar for mentors/advisors at 4 pm.
  • February 6, 2015: Written proposals from student teams due to cwr@nshs.edu for judging by 4 pm.
  • February 13, 2015: Electronic Poster due to cwr@nshs.edu by 4 pm.
  • March 13, 2015: Daytime report and awards presentation.

For more information

For questions or more information please contact the Center for Workforce Readiness at North Shore-LIJ at cwr@nshs.edu.