Let’s Talk

Dear Research Advocate,

The film Don’t Look Up captured what might happen if scientists, journalists, and politicians all fail to communicate effectively with one another – or with the public – in the face of a possible global disaster. Sound familiar? 

In an article published this week in Not Alone (a publication offering perspectives on global issues from research and academic leaders), I make the case that becoming proficient in public engagement is an essential part of university education – not just in the U.S., but globally. A reset is called for as we grapple with existential challenges like pandemics and climate change.

STEMM Is for Everyone: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced a coordinated, national effort to overcome barriers and expand access and opportunity to STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine). The newly formed STEMM Opportunity Alliance, co-led by AAAS (CEO Sudip Parikh, PhD, is a Research!America Board member), will coordinate and boost the efforts of almost 100 partners, including government, businesses, civic, academic, nonprofit, community-based, and philanthropic organizations.

The Lasker Foundation announced at the OSTP event that it is partnering with Research!America on an initiative to map the U.S. landscape of civic science training programs, build a resource to help assess gaps and synergies, and identify actionable recommendations for the field to help accelerate future progress.

Lessons In Trust: Last week, The Washington Post held an event to talk about trust in science, lessons learned for the future, and the growing challenge of separating fact from fiction. The event included discussions with former NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, and University of Illinois Chicago epidemiologist Katrine Wallace, PhD, among others.

The entire transcript is an insightful read, including Dr. Wallace’s comments on her early failures to communicate, as well as how her communication style has adapted across different platforms (e.g. Twitter, TikTok, etc.) and the need for more trained individuals to share science in context: “there is absolutely no end to the energy on the other side of this equation. They will throw so many resources at providing disinformation that it’s a constant job to try to combat it all.” So, where is the energy of the science community now? Good challenge for us all.

On the Hill: We must all continue to advocate for a by-no-means-assured outcome as Congress works to complete an FY23 omnibus appropriations bill. This week, both the House and Senate passed a one-more-week continuing resolution to fund the government through December 23 while Congress tries to finalize appropriations levels to fund the government for the remainder of FY23.

Use this editable email to urge Congress to complete FY23 appropriations ASAP, including robust support for NIH and other federal research agencies. Don’t let funding for critical research priorities stall into next year!

ICYMI: We hosted a virtual briefing on Wednesday in which a panel of experts discussed recent research addressing the comorbidities of obesity, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and advances in medical, behavioral and other strategies for those living with this disease. (Watch the recording.)

First Advocacy Awardee Spotlight: A special conversation with our 2023 Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award honorees, Heywood Fralin and Michael J. Friedlander, PhD, highlighted the innovative partnership model implemented at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke, VA, and its impact on the city’s economy and the surrounding region. Innovative science plus vibrant leadership made it happen in record time. (Watch the recording.)

Upcoming Alliance Discussion: Join us on Tuesday, December 20, from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET for an alliance discussion with Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers, co-directors of the documentary film Hiding in Plain Sight, Youth Mental Illness and honorees of Research!America’s 2023 Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion Award (other honorees of this award are the film’s executive producer Ken Burns, producer Julie Coffman, and writer David Blistein).

Almost Year End Wrap-up: This year, Research!America hosted weekly alliance discussions with more than 50 prominent leaders from government, associations, academia, and industry. We brought together almost 100 speakers for our National Health Research Forum (which is free and open to all!); and we hosted our annual Advocacy Awards and Early Career Summit – along with many other events – helping bring our work and priorities into the public sphere.

These activities are just some of the meaningful steps we take to achieve our shared vision to bolster support of medical and health research to achieve better health for all. With your financial support, we will be able to do even more!

This is our final request, and we hope you will consider supporting Research!America with a year-end gift. Please remember, up to $40,000 in gifts received will be matched. Double your impact by making a gift today!

Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.