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Connecting Cancer Researchers with the Local Community

Academic Curriculum

A four course curriculum teaches the basics of science communication and social engagement to scientists-in-training. Completion of all four courses leads to a Cornell Graduate Certificate of Engagement in Public Communication of Science and Technology. The curriculum was developed with the support of Engaged Cornell.

Courses include a two day workshop (COMM 5660) that teaches students the fundamentals of communicating science to non-scientists, followed by a second communication workshop (COMM 5665) that provides structured opportunities to practice skills such as writing lay abstracts and giving oral presentations to a public audience. Community members routinely serve as workshop judges, providing immediate and constructive feedback to the students. A third course (BIOMS 5660), also an intensive  weekend seminar, introduces students to social issues such as cancer drug pricing, medical decision-making, and cultural issues in cancer care. These topics are important to cancer patients and clinicians, but rarely discussed in basic science settings.

The fourth component of the curriculum is a full semester course, Community-Based Cancer Research Presentations and Discussions (BIOMS 5065) that features lay-language student presentations on cancer research, exercises such as patient interviews and blog writing, and talks from professionals in a variety of cancer-related fields. The course is open to students from all disciplines, people personally affected by cancer, and the public at large.

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