What are effective strategies for engaging a new Administration and Congress on scientific issues? Research!America staff shared insights and recommendations with attendees at the Association of Medical School Microbiology and Immunology Chairs (AMSMIC) Annual Meeting on January 21. President and CEO of Research!America Mary Woolley kicked off the discussion, emphasizing the importance of building relationships and finding common ground with policymakers.
Suzanne Ffolkes, Research!America’s VP of Communications, reinforced the point of building a better narrative about the benefits of research that connects with the values, beliefs and world views of different audiences. Sharing a story, not data, is key to getting the attention of non-scientists, she added.. Participants provided examples of how they are reaching out to the community through town halls and civic meetings aimed at improving science literacy.
Maintaining relationships with policymakers is equally as important as forging new connections. Ellie Dehoney, Research!America’s VP of Policy and Advocacy, provided information on how to follow-up and stay engaged with congressional representatives after meetings. Dehoney said to expect some tough questions, for instance, “Why should the federal government be funding research?” She provided tips on answering those questions, and challenged participants to contact their congressional representatives in the coming weeks.