In order to elevate public appreciation for the role of medical and health science in advancing public health and medical progress, academic researchers must play an active role in science communication, public engagement and advocacy. Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley spoke about the challenges and importance of advocating for research during a presentation on September 25 before the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Catalyst Leaders of 2017. This audience consisted of distinguished mid-career investigators in the pharmacological sciences enrolled in a selective professional development program to expand research and leadership capacity.
During her seminar, Woolley highlighted how public engagement and advocacy are vital for continued and robust federal investments in biomedical science. “You can’t outsource advocacy,” Woolley insisted. “It belongs to the research community.” In encouraging the audience to, “tell your story and not your data,” Woolley shared her insights on why failing to engage in advocacy can be detrimental to science careers, tips on how to articulate the value of research to those with non-scientific backgrounds, and strategies to establish trust with diverse audiences.