October 4, 2004

Researchers and reporters donâ??t speak the same language. But the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health has scheduled a program in October to get the two groups talking, at least in the same room.

On Tuesday, Oct. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., researchers and reporters will have an opportunity to find a common language at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. The program, â??Promoting Dialogue Between Prevention Researchers and Media,â? will begin a day-long event sponsored by Research!America, a not-for-profit organization whose major goal is to make medical and health research a higher national priority. Keynote speaker for the event will be former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Rogers.

Rogers served from 1955 to 1979 in the U.S. House of Representatives. He chaired the House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment. During his 24 years in the House, Rogers spearheaded dozens of reform acts related to public health, biomedical research and health professions education. He sponsored the National Cancer Act of 1971, and he authored the Safe Drinking Water Act. In recognition of his lifelong contributions to health and the environment, the main plaza of the National Institutes of Health was designated Paul G. Rogers Plaza in 2001 by an act of Congress.

The goal of the day-long event is to build connections between those who do the researching and those who report on the research so that they begin to speak the same language, according to Liz Trevino, of the health science centerâ??s School of Public Health, who is serving as a liaison to Research!America.

A group of media representatives including Satcha Pretto of Univision, Javier Aldape of the Star-Telegram and Diario la Estrella, and Ellie Hogue of WBAP-AM will discuss how prevention research can be more widely disseminated with a panel of researchers and audience members. Deborah Ferguson of NBC 5 will serve as moderator for the panel discussion. Research panelists will include Dr. Antonio Rene of the health science centerâ??s School of Public Health, Dr. Thomas Yorio of the health science centerâ??s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Dr. Raul Caetano of the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston.

Panelists will be asked to respond to actual case studies of when scientists interacted with the media so that researchers and reporters will be able to hear each otherâ??s perspective. The idea is to move both groups to a position where they do speak the same language, and they understand the needs and concerns of the other groups.

â??This partnership is a unique opportunity to bring all key players together to find better ways to protect and promote health for all citizens,â? said Fernando Trevino, Ph.D., MPH, dean of the School of Public Health at the health science center.

The program, sponsored by Research!America, has brought together the health science centerâ??s School of Public Health, the University of Texas School of Public Health, and the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health. Similar programs have taken place at locations throughout the state.

Research!Americaâ??s media/scientist roundtable began after the release of two influential reports: â??Worldâ??s Apart: How the Distance Between Science and Journalism Threatens Americaâ??s Future,â? commissioned by the First Amendment Center, and â??Unlocking Our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy,â? released by Rep. Vernon Ehlers. The resulting media/scientist roundtable allows more concrete examples of barriers to coverage of science as well as examples of best practices in coverage that are shared in a non-interview, non-pressure setting.

â??We are excited to be involved in this national initiative,â? said Dr. Ronald Blanck, president of the health science center. â??Research!America polls show that Americans want more information about research and ways to prevent disease and illness. This forum gives researchers and media representatives the opportunity to find ways to get more information to the public and to speak the same language while theyâ??re doing that.â?

For more information on how to get involved with Research!America and for conference registration, contact Liz Trevino at 817-735-0311.


Contact: Kay Colley, 817-735-2553, 817-980-5090 (cell)

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