Environmental Health Summit

The Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative is focusing its annual summit meetings on challenges of science communication and science/policy networks.  All are invited. Contact Martin Armes, Executive Director (martinarmes@nc.rr.com) for more information or to register. 

Note:  in particular, they are looking for grad students to serve as rapporteurs (taking great notes and producing a summary report).

Feel free to circulate widely to potentially interested colleagues.

Jean Goodwin
SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric & Technical Communication
Department of Communication
Leadership in Public Science Cluster
North Carolina State University  


10th Annual Summit

Tentative Framework and Organization


When Facts Are Not Enough: Getting from Good Science to Good Decisions

 in a New Age of Environmental Health Science

October 30-31 at NC Biotech Center


Theme: The field of environmental health science is producing some of the most advanced, evidence-based, and application-driven research and information in its history. But science is a tool, and as such is only effective when used. Challenges (both old and new) that affect the understanding, translation, credibility, and value of science increasingly are impeding society’s ability to apply it to solving complex problems or using it to inform good decisions for the public’s health. Because of this, the ultimate benefit of environmental health science may not be fully realized. This workshop will explore issues surrounding the conduct and use of environmental health research, from a variety of perspectives both internal and external to the field, and consider practical ideas on ways for the environmental health science enterprise to adapt to changing times, create greater understanding of its value, and ensure its continued use for the public good.

Panel 1: Perspectives from outside the Bubble 

  • Lawmaker/Policymaker (Congressman David Price)
  • Educator/Education Administrator (Stan Meiburg, Wake Forest)
  • Social Scientist/Cognitive-Behavioral Scientist (Louis Rivers, NC State)
  • Impact Evaluation Professional/Economist (Bryan Hubbell, EPA)
  • Law/Policy/Ethics (Michael B. Waitzkin, Duke Initiative for Science & Society)

Panel 2: Congressional/Legislative Staff Round Robin (5 Federal and State reps)

Breakout groups:

Individual Level

  • Are changes needed in how EH scientists are trained?
  • Are new skill sets needed? What would be the fundamental set?
  • What role do new communication technologies play? Should they be fundamental to training?
  • Is there a “generation gap”? What is in it?
  • How hard should we focus on public science literacy, K-12 STEM?

 Research Enterprise Level

  • What problems exist in the current paradigm?
  • How are EH leaders developed? What skills are currently valued? Are they the best ones to ensure success of the enterprise?
  • Is the EH research enterprise biased against the young/new?
  • What practices might be abandoned/adopted?
  • What problems exist with conducting team science/multidisciplinary research?
    • Incentives don’t match
    • Lack of opportunity to engage
    •  Time/funding systems have not evolved?

Community/Societal Level

  • What factors are affecting public trust in science/use of science?
  • What practices by scientists/scientific institutions may affect the public’s trust in/use of science?
    • Technical
    •  Language
    • Lack of understanding of audience perception/behavior 
  • Faulty assumptions
  • Lack of inclusion (diversity of gender, income, ethnicity, etc.)
  • What solutions have been presented in the past or in other countries? Have they worked or not? Why?
  • Are there new concepts/old concepts from other fields that can be adapted for use in EH research/science?

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