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  1. Hi everyone, I searched on forum for a similar post but I couldn’t find one, so I’ll be creating this topic. The purpose is to meet or share outreach initiatives from your country/city/university. You can share your own or someone else initiative/project with any contact link and a short explanation about it. Hopefully, we will create a topic to meet and network with potential collaborators and get inspired by other. I will start with two different ones: (1) EiSci - It’s an initiative from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where I’m currently pursuing my PhD, where students reach to high schools to teach science and healthcare in the Bronx community, in NY. I am not part of this group, but I’m looking to be soon! Link related (2) Semana do Cerebro - It’s a project for the Brain Awareness Week in Brazil, leaded by universities UFABC and UNIFESP. It’s usually set on public parks within the greater Sao Paulo, explaining to the general public more about brain function and/or misconceptions. I helped to organize a couple of events and if you want to check more, click here. Share any initiative/project that you know or want to start. Get inspired, get together!
  2. I was given a wonderful reminder last week why it is important to volunteer. I went as a representative for our outreach group to a volunteer appreciation luncheon. We were celebrating all of the people who have worked with the residential psychiatric patients at a local center. Looking around the room and seeing how many people had helped in so many ways, I was honored to be among them. Our group started playing BINGO with these patients six years ago. I remember the first group that went. I helped set up the fundraiser so we could give donations as prizes to the patients. And now we have continued to work with them for six years. I am so happy we have established such a wonderful way for our students to give back to the community. And I was humbled to be sitting among groups that had been doing this for decades. During the keynote address a local politician reminded us that these are people “society has turned a blind eye to.” How often have we heard people refer to an obviously, severely mentally ill person as “crazy” while they cross to the other side of the street? We don’t often help these mentally ill. We point and laugh. But this was a chance to remember we are serving those who can’t serve themselves. Some of these patients don’t know what year it is, how to take care of themselves, or even who they can trust. It may be a small act to play BINGO with them, but the true gift is treating them with respect and dignity. If you have been considering volunteering with mentally ill patients, I strongly encourage you to. As our keynote speaker said “It isn’t always medication and treatment that changes patients lives.” I applaud all the members of SfN for working to develop medication and treatment for patients. But I want to take the time to thank all of you who have reached out to patients in person. Thank you for giving them respect, dignity, and joy. A moment of kindness can sometimes be just as powerful as a pill. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered before, your efforts are not wasted.
  3. Amanda Labuza

    Science in Hollywood

    Last week I had the joy of attending a Q&A with Ann Merchant to learn more about the Science & Entertainment Exchange. Merchant, the deputy director for communications at the National Academy of Science helped launch the Exchange in 2008. The Exchange is a place where anyone can receive free consultation from a scientist. Most of their “clients” are Hollywood writers looking to make their scenes more realistic. They have helped with the Avengers, Castle, Guardians of the Galaxy, small indie films, novels, and more. They place a large emphasis on “inspiring not accuracy”. For example, the Exchange made the suggestion to change Jane Foster’s occupation in Thor from nurse to astronomer. While this helped make more sense of how Jane met Thor, it also helped show the general public a young female in a scientific career. For too long the only scientists on tv were “stale, pale, and male”. We are now getting to show diversity and help more children see themselves as scientists one day. The NAS has also asked Hollywood to help spread messages for them. Adding sentences in shows like Grey’s Anatomy that women with HIV can still have healthy babies is a simple, effective teaching opportunity for a wide audience All scientists are welcomed to be consultants. Their main concern is that scientists can communicate with the public and are non-judgmental. No suggestion from Hollywood is stupid, just uninformed (which is why they are seeking consultation). If you are interested in getting involved with the Exchange you can find more information here. I personally am so excited Hollywood is trying to be more accurate and aware of the messages they send.
  4. csadangi

    The Addictive Brain

    Hi everyone, We started a Facebook and Instagram page called “The addictive brain”. We started this page to communicate science to non-scientists, school and undergraduate students to spark their interest and fascination towards science. spread awareness about how scientists utilize tax payers money/government funding to help develop a better world. encourage women/girls to get interested in studying STEM subjects. And tell the world what scientists do. If you are interested in contributing to the page, please contact me. You can view the pages here: Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/addictivebrain/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/theaddictivebrain/ Looking forward to hearing from you.
  5. When scientists communicate effectively about their research, science thrives.Making our science digestible to nonscientists helps people understand the wider relevance of science in society. Given the current stark funding realities, making our science accessible can also promote more informed decision-making, especially with policymakers, government agencies, and other types of funders. Link back to full article
  6. Amanda Labuza

    Brain Awareness Week

    Brain Awareness Week 2018 just ended. I hope you had an opportunity to participate. I’d love to hear about the events other groups did. Please share below. For those of you who didn’t hold and event, feel free to live vicariously through my experience. Our BAW event started early morning on Pi Day. Four graduate students piled into a car and filled the trunk with human brains, mini e-phys equipment, and even a few cockroaches. We went to an inner city middle school in Baltimore and took over the science classroom. We started by introducing ourselves and in very basic terms what we study. The classes broke into three stations. The students got to spend time holding fixed human brains and comparing them to mouse and rat brains. We brought slides for them to observe and compare. The second station used the backyard brains spiker box to make a cockroach leg “dance” to music. We used the frequency of the bass to stimulate the nerves in the leg. They learned how we use electrophysiology to study action potentials and record neuronal activity. Finally, they used a simple EMG to control each other’s fingers. They discussed how our bodies use electricity and the principles behind robotic limbs. At the end of each class we saved time to discuss with students careers in science. For many of them, they had never considered anything beyond being a doctor. Many of the students had not considered they could financially afford a PhD versus an MD. The most rewarding part is always seeing a student suddenly realize science is more than just a textbook filled with simplified drawings of complex cells. Hopefully we have inspired some of them to explore their passion for science. picture 1.jpg2048×1536 362 KB Having worked with middle schools, high schools, and elementary schools, we have found middle school is the easiest to work with. Most of the high school students seemed to have already made up their mind and were not interested in changing their plans. The elementary students love the break, but we struggle to think of simple activities that last long enough to keep them occupied. The middle school students were old enough to understand what a neuron was, but young enough to still be open to new ideas. I’m interested in hearing others’ experiences. Which age group do you prefer working with? What activities worked the best for you? Please share your ideas below!
  7. Brain Awareness Week is just around the corner! It starts March 12th. It isn’t too late to plan an event. The outreach group on my campus has already arranged to visit two local middle schools during BAW. We’ll be teaching science classes for the day. While this requires a bit more than three weeks of organization, there are still plenty of other activities that can still be arranged. For example, instead of teaching the class, have you considered visiting a high school and briefly speaking at the beginning of the science classes about careers in research? Hosting a table at your local science museum is a great chance to get kids interested in the brain. Does anyone else have ideas for last minute BAW plans? Because it isn’t too late to arrange an activity for this year!
  8. beversdorfd

    The Tax bill

    It appears that the horrible proposed tax hike for graduate students is not being kept in the final Tax Bill. This is so important! All of the graduate students should be congratulated for their outreach!!! ADVOCACY MATTERS! The Atlantic The Changing Landscape of Student Protest in Higher Education The tax-bill overhaul mobilized a broad coalition of activists, offering first glimpses of what Republicans may be up against when they tackle financial-aid reform next year.
  9. Join the ECPA Live Chat | December 5, 12:00 PM ET In this live chat, you’ll learn more about the SfN Early Career Policy Ambassadors Program, a year-long program for early career scientists interested in science policy and advocacy. Hear from SfN’s Grassroots Advocacy Specialist as well as current and former ECPAs about the application process and their experiences in the program. Learn more about the ECPA Program. Facilitators Adam M. Katz Adam Katz is a Grassroots Advocacy Specialist at the Society for Neuroscience. He previously was a Policy and Advocacy Specialist at Research!America. Katz’s main research interests lie in neural plasticity. He received his undergraduate degree in Brain and Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester and his Master’s in Policy and Advocacy from Georgetown University. Ellen Wann, PhD Ellen Wann is a neuroscience advocacy fellow at the Society for Neuroscience. She was previously a PhD student in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine and a 2016 Society for Neuroscience Early Career Policy Ambassador. Wann’s doctoral research focused on studying brain activity and blood flow changes after stroke. She received her bachelors in neuroscience and statistics from St. Olaf College and her PhD from the University of California, Irvine. Related resources Community Live Chat with Michael Heintz, SfN Advocacy Director Becoming an Early Career Ambassador (webcast) The Power of a Good Anecdote: Lessons From SfN’s 2017 Hill Day What I Learned at SfN’s Capitol Hill Day The Undergraduate Influence: Strategies to Get Involved in Science Policy
  10. pizbicki

    Fundraising for Outreach

    Does anyone have any ideas for fundraising (aside for an SfN chapter grant) for outreach equipment? Our outreach program has been growing, and we are looking to invest in new equipment as well as replace older equipment.
  11. This past April, I proudly marched in Washington, DC, with 100,000 fellow scientists and nonscientists to show our support for the role of science in policy-making. The March for Science was a bit of an anomaly for the scientific community. While we hope that our research will have a positive impact on society, we don’t always raise our voices when we need to. But now more than ever, I believe it’s critical for scientists to actively engage in policy issues. Last year, my colleagues and I founded a group of neuroscientists and psychologists called the Scientist Action and Advocacy Network (ScAAN). Our goal is to connect scientists with social change organizations because we realized that scientists’ research and analytical skills could be useful to nonscientific organizations. So far, we’ve seen positive results from our partnerships with organizations focusing on raising the age of criminal responsibility and limiting solitary confinement. Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility Our first partnership was with Raise the Age NY, which has been campaigning to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York from 16 to 18 years old. Until recently, New York was one of only two states whose criminal justice system treated all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults and put them through adult courts and adult prisons. ScAAN compiled a short literature review of research showing that the adolescent brain is not yet fully developed and that treating adolescent offenders as adults may be counterproductive. Our goal was to create a document that Raise the Age NY could use in its communications with the public and lawmakers to clearly and quickly illustrate the scientific support for their positions. A few weeks after we released our review, a bill raising the age of criminal responsibility passed through the New York State Legislature and was signed into law. Raise the Age NY had been campaigning for this bill for years before we joined, but we were nonetheless proud to have played a role — no matter how small — in this victory. Limiting Solitary Confinement We are also partnering with the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement and Solitary Watch, two organizations that are working to limit the largely unregulated use of solitary confinement. In the United States, tens of thousands of prisoners are confined in cells half the size of a parking space for 22-24 hours a day, for up to decades at a time. This violates United Nations recommendations on the treatment of prisoners, which limit the use of solitary confinement and prohibit its use for more than 15 consecutive days. We compiled a short report on the psychological and neurological impacts of solitary confinement, including results from animal models of social isolation. The report has been used to lobby for a law to reduce the use of solitary confinement in New York State. What I’ve Learned It’s been rewarding to collaborate with other scientists who are motivated to engage in activism and advocacy. Members of ScAAN want to harness this energy and use our scientific skills to promote evidence-based social change. I have two pieces of advice for anyone who wants to organize with their scientific colleagues. Start a group with people who work in the same building or campus as you. To maintain momentum, you’ll probably have to hold meetings about every two weeks in convenient places so there’s no excuse not to attend your meetings. It will be easier to maintain high attendance rates if members don’t have to travel far. Think small. It’s easy for a meeting of like-minded people to turn into a discussion on current events, but to be productive, recognize that there’s only so much that you can do. Think about the issues that your group is passionate about or that most affect your local community, and then drill down into tangible steps. Contact organizations that are already working on these issues and propose a small project that you could do for them. Although the March for Science was a powerful way for scientists to make our voices heard, public demonstrations aren’t the only way to enhance the role of science in society. Scientists can directly advance the social change that we wish to see. ScAAN has done this through partnership with pre-existing organizations, but you may develop a different model that is more effective for your community and goals. Will Adler is a PhD student at New York University and founder of the Scientist Action and Advocacy Network. Link back to full article
  12. I wanted to see whether anyone on the forum knows of a company where prism goggles are available for purchase (https://sfa.cems.umn.edu/?p=609). We have an old pair we use for outreach events that needs to be replaced. However, I cannot find a company that sells them. I would be thrilled to hear any suggestions!
  13. Like many I am concerned at the current political climate and what it means for our understanding of the 'Truth’. The attack on writers and journalists, even in matured democracies, is something that should worry us all. As people now turn to the dystopian literature of the interwar period to draw parallels with [recent events] (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-38764041) I am drawn to another warning from history in George Orwell’s essay ‘The Prevention of Literature’ (1946): “For the moment the totalitarian state tolerates the scientist because it needs him… Meanwhile, if he wants to safeguard the integrity of science, it is his job to develop some kind of solidarity with his literary colleagues and not disregard it as a matter of indifference when writers are silenced or driven to suicide, and newspapers systematically falsified.” As I battle the pressures to publish high impact science with my own determination to find the truth within the quagmire of laboratory-based research I am comforted by SfN’s promotion of the issues around reproducibility and scientific rigour within the neuroscience community as well as the message about what is at stake if we do not tackle these issues head on. However, we must also as a community take this same ethos to the wider public to help them discover the truth within (sometimes) messy realities. At the same time we must stand up for writers and journalists alike in defence of their own quest for truth.
  14. The Guardian (UK) published a letter from 400 primate researchers including two Nobel laureates stating: “Primate research is crucial if we are to find cures for diseases like Parkinson’s.” The letter is a response to an earlier letter published in The Independent (UK) advocating: “Testing on non-human primates in neuroscience research is no longer justifiable.” The Independent letter was organized by the animal activist group Cruelty Free International. Even though the Guardian letter has been published you can still add your signature here.
  15. ScienceInsider posted a summary of the discussion at the NIH workshop: Ensuring Continued Responsible Research with Non-Human Primates which occurred this week. As one might expect the views expressed by attendees differed markedly. The workshop was mandated in the 2016 federal spending bill that asked… “NIH conduct a review of its ethical policies and processes with respect to nonhuman primate research subjects, in consultation with outside experts, to ensure it has appropriate justification for animal research protocols.” NIH Director Francis Collins opened the workshop stating that:“…non-human primates have proven to be exceptionally valuable in biomedical research." He also said, "…the welfare of these animals—more than 100,000 of which currently reside in U.S. labs was critical. We need to respect all of the species that contribute so much to our understanding of human health and disease.” Speakers ranged from directors of National Primate Research centers, investigators using non-human primates, to bioethicists and animal activists. Representatives from PETA attended and complained that the workshop “was an infomercial for the use of monkeys in experiments.” Important points were also made by Alyson Bennett of Speaking for Research stating: "Ethical considerations are embedded in institutional review and federal oversight…noting that no work on nonhuman primates can be funded or take place unless it meets strict welfare guidelines.“ Charles Murray, a pathologist at the University of Washington stated that: "scientists need to do a better job of convincing the public of the importance of animal research. Our press people tell us not to mention the word ‘monkey,’” he said. “We should be doing more than trying to keep a low profile. That’s the path to the extinction of the whole program.” A video cast of the workshop will be made available by NIH.
  16. Another letter has appeared raising concerns about the use of non-human primate in neuroscience research. The letter, “Testing on non-human primates in neuroscience research is no longer justifiable,” appeared in the UK newspaper: The Independent, and bears some well known signatures from the UK, EU and the US like David Attenborough and Jane Goodall, including an international list of current and former primate researchers. Again, a rebuttal is being prepared. This is not going away. Please share your comments and ideas.
  17. More than 90 neuroscientists who work with non-human primates have signed a response to John Gluck’s New York Times OpEd. The response was published on the site Speaking of Research. The strong response takes on Gluck’s OpEd point by point. It’s a good example that one can expand on when communicating with the public about the use of animals in research. Please read and share what you think.
  18. On the eve of an NIH workshop: Ensuring Continued Responsible Research with Non-Human Primates, The New York Times published an opinion piece by John P. Gluck a retired primate researcher at the University of New Mexico. In the piece Gluck speaks from his own experience as a non-human primate researcher, taking issue with the stated goals of the workshop: “I know firsthand that “responsible” research is not enough. What we really need to examine is the very moral ground of animal research itself.” He cites both the psychological and physical pain that non-human primates experience in the lab and states: “The difficulties encountered in applying animal data to human treatment have recently become a more widely recognized problem.” This statement is at odds with a recently published White Paper published by a noteworthy group of scientific societies, including SfN. A group of primate researchers is preparing a rebuttal to Gluck’s OpEd. This OpEd will spark a lot of debate that may well affect the use of animals in research in the future. I strongly urge that everyone read Gluck’s piece and share what you think.
  19. leanne_boucher

    BAW 2016 video contest

    Hi all - It’s that time again! The call is out for the 2016 Brain Awareness Video Contest! The winner will receive $1000 and a trip to SfN 2016 in Chicago. All you have to do is create an educational video about the brain for the 2016 Brain Awareness Video Contest that demonstrates a neuroscience concept through animation, song, skit, or any other creative approach. Be creative! Anyone can enter, and you can work on a video by yourself or in a group. Top videos will be featured on SfN.org and BrainFacts.org and will be recognized at Neuroscience 2016. Submissions are due June 16 — start working on your video today! Videos must be submitted by an SfN member. Find a member near you with the Find A Neuroscientist Program at BrainFacts.org. Watch last year’s winning videos and learn more at BrainFacts.org/bavc. If you have any questions about the contest, please email baw@sfn.org.
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