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Spreading Neuroscience Throughout all Communities


Sam Staples

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Sam Staples

What are some ways you and the Neuroscience Community can further the dissemination of neuroscience understanding and practice not only in your community, but also in underserved communities?

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  • 2 weeks later...
valeria muoio

I think there are 2 main ways to do this. The first is to create opportunities, from elementary school to the final years of graduation, integrating neuroscience into their lives and conveying the concept that neuroscience is not restricted to the laboratory or operating room. Neuroscience is all around us, it explains what we are! I think it  should be taught like mathematics, geography, etc.
I believe that also creating jobs and opportunities for employment, for studying at universities, is also a great idea, bringing the community together to take up positions, be interested in science, whether through extension courses. 
Regarding underserved communities, I think that outreach programs are vital. It is important that leaders in neuroscience, in the health area, educators, etc., get closer to vulnerable populations, going to these places, talking to people, understanding what they need, their desires, carrying out educational programs. Involving the leaders of these communities is a great strategy, and the experiences that can be shared are always rewarding.
Many people need is just a chance for someone to believe in them, and if we have the chance to be this someone is just amazing

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Jayalakshmi Viswanathan

I'd like to raise 2 points for consideration and discussion of this topic.

1) I've learned a lot about neuroscience communication since the publication of my book, Baby Senses. I've been trying to learn from the artist and children's fiction writers communities how to make science more engaging. I often find that non-fiction can come across as dry and boring while fiction - even while being factual - can come across as enchanting and interesting. I've myself been using principles of story telling, art, and narrative creative non-fiction to get a lay audience interested in science, and have, for BAW 2024, used puppets to engage very young audiences in sensory neuroscience (in a collaborative project).

2) While communicating to communities traditionally under-represented in STEM and neuroscience, it is important to go in with a nuanced and considered approach. Once, when I was TAing a summer high school biology/histology class for first nations students during my Masters, I came out of the class thinking I had been incomprehensible. I kept attempting to make the session interactive and waiting for their response without understanding that culturally it is unusual for first nation communities to participate in interactions without "electing" a representative to speak for the group. This was very eye opening for me - when I read the teacher evaluations, the students still rated my class as one of the best they'd been to, which was completely contrary to my impressions. All this to say, when I approach neuroscience communication, I try to meet people where they are at and use a nuanced approach since minorities in science can feel easily discouraged from neuroscientific careers and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work.  

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hugo Sanchez-Castillo

Hi brains!!! The first thing I should like to said, is that all this is my point of view obviously. We should start saying that we need to recognize that the knowledge is a right, and that all persons should have access to knowledge. If we understand that, we should create better programs in which we can introduce the science since the first levels of education. I believe that the later introduction in science in our lives, allows the pseudoscience to grown, allows the superstite behavior to establish and explain the world. In Mexico we have communities extremely poor. Unfortunately in this populations there is no schools, no science programs and evidently there is so much pseudoscientific believes.

We need to bring the science to the communities, we need to do better efforts to explain in different word (far away of the scientific language) and let the science mesmerize the children in this communities in the same way that the science mesmerize ourselves (well, at least is my case). We need to do better science divulgation and better science programs for the elders for example. The elders are an abandoned group with needs for explanations and better understanding of their brains. obviously more science programs for young people... more science for everybody.

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Daisy Gallardo

Thinking back on what I would've benefited from the most while growing up in an underserved community, neuroscience outreach workshops and lab tours would've been the most helpful. I believe hands-on experiences are the best at demystifying neuroscience in the younger population and sparking curiosity in the older population as well. The workshops could be, for example, visiting a classroom or community center, guiding the participants through brain dissections and explaining the different structures along with their function. Lab tours are also beneficial as they help students envision what an academic career in neuroscience would be like, and allow for the older population to get a better understanding of how experiments are done. 

As Hugo rightly pointed out, accessibility is key. Explaining concepts without overwhelming jargon is essential for maintaining the attention of non-scientists and maximizing understanding of the concepts being explained. By making neuroscience easy to understand and relatable, we can further its dissemination.

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