So, why am I starting a blog?

  1. Are you interested in science, public health, and/or health policy?
  2. Do you want to learn more about any of these topics?
  3. Have you recently paid $63 for a one-time read of a jargony article in a scientific journal?

I’m hoping you answered “Yes” to questions 1 and 2, but praying “No” to question 3. (I’d be hard pressed to find an article worth paying out of pocket for). In my opinion, the way our scientific publication system process works, while essential for those of us in PhD programs, is certainly not the best way to share information, spread knowledge, and articulate our findings around public health to the very public we’re trying to help.

This leaves us in a bit of a pickle, because while conspiracy theorists’ posts about vaccines, jade eggs, quacky health fads, and the like can be found everywhere, it’s not quite as easy to find digestible explanations of those $63 journal articles. It’s no surprise to me that we’re facing a rising tide of vaccine hesitancy in this country, and scientists need to step up to the plate to try their hand at a different kind of writing, one which can articulate complex problems to individuals without a PhD in their field. So that’s what I’m trying to do with this blog.

First, I’m pledging to write simplified blog posts about the articles I publish during my epidemiology journey (pray for many!) but more importantly, I will try and tackle topics which I haven’t found a satisfactory explanation for and are central to understanding disease transmission, risk, and vaccine policy, like herd immunity.  I’ll comment on relevant current events, share articles I think are important, and maintain a reference public health glossary for anyone who needs a reference page on scientific literacy.

Knowledge is power, but only if it can be understood and shared. My ultimate goal of my PhD and *beyond* is to be able to reframe every individual’s understanding of his/her impact on disease transmission, and change up the narrative around vaccination from personal preference to public service. I can only hope to change behavior and improve understanding if the public can actually access my research and its findings. I’m doing my part to fight misinformation, and anti-science / anti-fact sentiment by stepping out of my comfort zone here, and while this will be a work in progress, I hope that it’s productive in reaching new audiences and opening up platforms for communication.

Let’s do it!

– Nina


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