Environmental Factor, May 2009, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
SBRP Alum Named Environmental Health Science Communication Fellow
By Rebecca Wilson
Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP) Alumna Kathleen McCarty, Sc.D.(http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/supported/srp/training/training2_s15.cfm), was named to the 2009 Science Communication Fellows program sponsored by Environmental Health Sciences, the publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate. She is among nine other junior scientists named to the yearlong program, which seeks to train scientists in the communication of scientific research and close the gap between environmental health research and the public understanding of research results.
McCarty (http://www.med.yale.edu/eph/faculty/mccarty.html) has extensive experience in interdisciplinary scientific work. She is an assistant professor at Yale University, holding a joint appointment with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Yale Medical School Division of Environmental Health Sciences. She conducted her doctoral research on “Arsenic and Health in Taiwan and Bangladesh” at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she worked with the SBRP-funded group(http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/portfolio/sc/detail.cfm?appl_id=7499616) headed by David Christiani, M.D. (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/faculty/david-christiani/) This was followed by a postdoctoral position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Epidemiology department, investigating environmental and genetic factors that influence biomarker response and susceptibility to breast cancer.
Environmental Health Sciences(http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/about.html) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing public knowledge of environmental health sciences by providing access to worldwide news on a variety of subjects. Its Science Communication Fellows (http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/nomination.html) program is unique in that it specifically seeks out scientists to communicate research findings, rather than environmental journalists or other science reporters. Each yearlong fellowship carries with it a stipend of $5,000.
The Fellows will work at the intersection of science and journalism. Each month, they will identify important research results and summarize them in order to make the conclusions more accessible to science reporters and the general public. In addition to these articles, the Fellows will write commentaries on the science behind current environmental health issues.
McCarty credits SBRP with her training in multidisciplinary science and her approach to science communication. Says McCarty, “Participating in this fellowship is just one of the many valuable contributions that the Superfund Basic Research Program has made to my career. Through this fellowship I am learning firsthand the value of being able to communicate the complexities of science in a manner that is meaningful to the audience — from the lay public to the veteran academic.”
Other 2009 Science Communication Fellows with NIEHS ties include NIEHS Postdoctoral Fellow Negin Martin, Ph.D. (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2009/february/neurobiology-fellowship.cfm), and NIEHS Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) grantee and North Carolina State University Assistant Professor Heather Patisaul, Ph.D. (http://www4.ncsu.edu/~hbpatisa/)
(Rebecca Wilson is an environmental health information specialist for MDB, Inc., a contractor for the NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program and Worker Education and Training Program.)