Science Communication… Should We Be Trained?
Dr. Denise Loya García
27 August 2020
As medical researchers, we know that the importance of research is as much about ideas as it is about knowing how to communicate them. Science communication is part of our daily life; as doctors we must inform our patients about their disease and treatment, give lectures, write scientific papers or proposals.
For this reason, I am very grateful to have been accepted as one of the 10 international second generation members of the Science Communication Training Fellowship program offered by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). This program lasts one year and aims to teach young researchers to communicate science effectively to engage the general public and increase interest in research. The goal is to create knowledge, facilitate its understanding and, above all, to demonstrate the value of research in ophthalmology and visual sciences, as well as to promote a lasting relationship between young researchers and ARVO.
During this year of training, we carried out several activities to create interest and involve all type of audiences, learned how to make a press release, and were provided with strategies and advice focused on how to create and present a more effective and high-impact poster and oral presentation. One of the most important projects of this program was the design and planning of an outreach event which we developed successfully and were able to share it with other colleagues and new members of the program at the end of the course during the ARVO´s annual meeting. I had the opportunity not only to share the experiences and lessons learned during my science communication journey with other classmates, but also to create community and relationships that are still present today.
These tools have allowed me to communicate my ideas and those of my team, as well as our work and research in vision effectively to a more general, non-scientific audience. Science communication involves communicating effectively science-related information from one person to another through different channels ranging from a tweet to a peer-reviewed scientific article. Proper communication generates support for science and a broader understanding for society. It fosters and encourages more informed decision-making and allows us to reach audiences that have been traditionally excluded from the scientific process. This is amazing, because when it happens, science grows, progress and fosters for collaboration and innovation.
Fortunately, effective communication teaching programs are increasing, and communication tools are being recognized as basic skills that every professional should have. This fellowship helped me to be aware of the importance and impact of a clear and effective science communication. It drove me to create strategies to make science more attractive, but above all, visual and ophthalmology sciences appealing and inclusive to all type of audiences. I highly recommend this ARVO SciComm training and hope that, just like me, it will encourage more young researchers to participate in this type of experience.
Denise Loya Garcia, MD PhD
Cornea, refractive surgery and external disease specialist
Tecnológico de Monterrey, School of Medicine