Tag Archives: science

January 9th – ALREADY?!

9 Jan

It’s a good thing that I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions related to my personal writing, because I’d have to report a failure already. That said, the CTSA grant proposal that everyone has been working ’round the clock on for weeks now is very close … oh so very close … to being put to bed, which in this case means submitted. And then I’ll be able to start focusing on how to approach doing the new job that I’ve been hired to do. Up until now, I’ve only been writing what I’ll do. Next stop, figure out how to do what I said I’d do. I’ve already joined the American Evaluation Association and signed up for one of their upcoming coffee break webcasts.

An aside… I think the idea of coffee break webcasts – 30-minute weekly sessions that focus on a particular topic, led by different members of the organization – is a TERRIFIC idea. I know that I belong to a few organizations that are struggling to define and/or create the real benefits of membership and such a simple thing as a regular, free, short-and-sweet-yet-interesting webcast is just that sort of thing.

For today, I at least wanted to send up a post with a few fun things I’ve come across over the past couple days/weeks – some delayed candy canes, if you will:

  • The Spudd – it’s The Onion of medical and pharma news. Hilarious. I discovered it just this very morning, thanks to a hilarious post shared on Twitter by my friend, Dean Hendrix. 
  • How Reddit Created the World’s Largest Dialogue between Scientists and the General Public is a very good blog post by Simon Owens. I’m fascinated with scientific communication and, in particular, efforts to bring the scientific community together with the general public. We are a scientifically illiterate culture at our own peril. I love what’s happening on this online community and so I’ve set up a Reddit account and plan to follow along for awhile. 
  • Finally, for anyone curious about public health and/or epidemiology and NOT interested in returning to school ever again <hand raised>, I came across an on-demand course from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I confess that I’ve signed-up and failed at several MOOC’s, mostly because of timing. I’m really happy to find a relevant, on-demand one and hope to work through it soon. I have a feeling that doing a course on my own, at my own pace, and at my own convenience will work well for me, especially now as I juggle all of the new tasks of a new job.

Back to the grindstone here. Happy New Year to all of my readers and followers! You make blogging fun.

My 3 New Year's Resolutions for 2015. No progress yet!

My 3 New Year’s Resolutions for 2015. No progress yet!

What did you say?!

10 Apr

You might recall a post that I did back in January where I shared my sketch notes from a lecture on team science. I went to another lecture in this series today called, Communications 2:0: Strategies for Effectively Selling and Telling Your Story,” delivered by Edward Keohane, our Vice Chancellor of Communications. I drew sketch notes during it, too. My colleague, Michelle Eberle, was sitting next to me and when the session was over, she asked me about the notes and if I’d put them on my blog. So here goes… the notes, plus some words to recap the lecture:


It was a terrific session, geared towards teaching faculty members, physicians, and scientists how to get the message of their work out to the public in a way that people will understand. Three main points that Ed hit at the very beginning:

  • Be CLEAR
  • Be CRISP

He also noted some trends in the media’s coverage of science over the past few decades (it’s declined) and the fact that science, alone, rarely gets coverage. For reporting health science, you’ve got to have science that you can connect with people, then you’ve got something that they care about. Other things to remember and/or consider are your audience (gear your talk to them, taking into account who they are), stress the big picture, stick to main points, avoid jargon and qualifiers, and use language that is both colorful and words that people understand (or at least analogies that make sense). You can learn a number of good techniques for presenting science by listening to NPR’s science correspondent, Joe Palca. Ed made us listen to a few of his stories and indeed, Joe is very good at what he does.

Finally, Ed reminded us of the effectiveness of using your own story when trying to explain something. He suggested crafting a few sound bites about your work (or any topic that you want to share clearly with others) and practicing your elevator speech. And one that I thought was great… make up your own TED Talk! I liked this one a lot because I love TED Talks, but also because next week we’ll be showing part of the annual TEDMed event here at my workplace, including some time in the Library. And better yet, a few of us have signed on to give a TED Talk as intros to the session. I can’t wait for that (and thought it pretty timely, considering Ed’s recommendation).

Lastly, I made the comment from the audience that too often we forget one of the most important aspects of communication – PRACTICE! Speaking before people, giving a lecture, or being interviewed on the radio or television, these are all performances. To do it well, think of them as such and then remind yourself what it is that performers do to become good at their craft. They practice. A lot. People who are great at communicating have some talent, for sure, but they’ve also practiced their craft a lot. I guarantee it.

(The Leadership Series is sponsored by the UMMS Faculty Affairs Department.)