NIH to host symposium on reporting medical research

January 24, 2002

The National Institutes of Health's Office of Medical Applications of Research will sponsor a three-day symposium for journalists in collaboration with the University of Missouri School of Journalism. The symposium, to be held Sunday, June 23 through Tuesday, June 25, 2002, in Bethesda, Maryland, will examine the challenges and opportunities inherent in the process of communicating the results of medical research to the public.

"One of the toughest challenges facing journalists as they interview medical scientists is distinguishing strength of evidence from strength of opinion. This interactive symposium will empower journalists to weigh evidence and to present it in the most useful framework," said Dr. Barnett Kramer, Director, NIH's Office of Medical Applications of Research.

Stressing an evidence-based approach and re-examining intuitive belief systems about medicine, the symposium will prepare participants for the crucial task of evaluating research findings, selecting stories that hold meaningful messages for the public, and placing them in appropriate context. Symposium faculty will include prominent experts from the fields of medical research and medical journalism, and participants will be able to work closely with faculty to develop story ideas based on cutting-edge research. The sessions will be interactive, with hands-on opportunities to apply lessons learned, and will incorporate journalists' special perspectives on the public's need for useful medical knowledge.

The symposium presenters invite participation by seasoned or beginning journalists who write for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, or medical journals; television or radio; or the internet. Participants should be eager to acquire skills and knowledge necessary for good medical science reporting, but are not required to have specific experience in medical journalism.

Sessions and topics of discussion:

NIH/Office of the Director

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