Science advocacy has been in the news a lot these past two years, but many are still wondering what’s the best way to make an impact. I’ve been learning over the last several podcasts that the way to improve science engagement, acceptance, funding, and policy is to include the public in science and to get them to think of science as an important part of their life. Leah Pagnozzi, Bioengineering PhD Candidate at Cornell University, is doing just this with her ‘Take A Politician To Work’ Program. Leah gives politicians first hand experiences of how science is done, how cool science is, and how many different kinds of science there are by organizing lab tours to politicians. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink — Leah would love for this science advocacy program to be spread to other campuses or institutions; get in touch with us at email@example.com if you’d like to be connected.
Six years ago, I was dating someone living in London. While he was at work, I would troll around London by myself and was pulled many times back to London’s Natural History Museum (NMH), in particular to The Darwin Center and their very interactive exhibit. The NHM is much more than a museum: it is home to over 300 scientists who are publishing 700+ publications a year on the solar system, earth’s geology and life, biodiversity, and sustainability. It also houses over 80 million specimens that span 4.5 billion years! Out latest podcast features John Jackson, Head of Science Communication and Policy at NHM. In the 1990’s, NHM changed the way they approached the museum’s exhibitions. Traditionally, scientists would take something that they were working on behind closed doors, put it in a display case and then go back to the lab. The major goal has now shifted to include the public in the process of science and to shape both research and exhibits with public engagement in mind. I’m still thinking about The Darwin Center five years later, so definitely a model worth learning about.
From his earliest days, Dr. Rush Holt has been interested in “how the world works (that’s science) and how people get along (that’s politics).” There are few who want to do both. Rush is one of the rare scientists who has served in Congress and has integrated ‘science and society’ into everything he’s done. Hear about what it was like to be a scientist in Congress and how scientists should be communicating. Rush is currently the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) & was the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 12 congressional district from 1999 to 2015.
Dr. Andrea Gielen is Director of the Center for Injury Research & Policy at Johns Hopkins and a very passionate person in general about getting the message out about how much injury is costing us each year–and all the many things we can do to help. Injury is a much broader term than Nina had realized and can include anything from falling down the stairs, to household fires, to child health to overdose from drugs.
The Center is also working to translate research into policy, and has many unique approaches worth hearing about. The Center is uniquely poised to do this as it’s a hub of interdisciplinary efforts combining research, policy, and practice all at the same place.
Continuing on with the science communication and politics theme, Nina chats with Dr. Jenny Carlson, medical entomologist, about her trip down to Florida last summer to talk to citizens about the benefits of releasing genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes to combat mosquito borne diseases like Zika and Dengue.
Wise words from Jenny: “Sometimes life will take you in the most unexpected direction if you open yourself up to opportunities- my personal philosophy in life is to experience as much as possible. My path has changed many time within the realm of science, but one thing is for sure, science is one of my greatest loves and because of that I need to advocate for it. Little did I know that my expertise in mosquito biology would lead me to defend for the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in Key West, FL.”
Happy Halloween! Four scientists get together on Halloween to talk about a spooky topic: the science views of the presidential candidates! The science communication show Public Health United welcomes Dr. Bill Moss (see our previous podcast together), Dr. Katherine Fenstermacher (Hopkins), and Kenny Shatzkes (Rutgers, Eagleton Fellow) to talk about their frustration while watching the debates, the lessons they’ve learned in communicating science and policy, and how scientists and policymakers need to collaborate and reach compromises to form better science policies. I cannot even count the number of laughs we all have together. Truly a fun and informative episode on science policy during this election season! FYI, the title of this special edition podcast is based on Harry Frankfurt’s NYT best selling book, “On Bullshit” which details the difference between liars and bullshitters…listen to hear what the difference is and how destructive the latter can be!
In our latest podcast, Dr. Beth Linas, former epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, tells us about her highly coveted AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship at the National Science Foundation. These fellowships–open to anyone with a science/engineering PhD or masters, at any level of their career, place scientists in a wide range of policy institutions, thereby fostering closer relationships between science and policy. AAAS stands for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is most known for their peer reviewed journal, Science.