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Reach Out and RELATE: Communicating and Understanding Scientific Research

About this course
Everyone - non-scientists and scientists alike - has some form of expertise, but communicating across a gap in knowledge or experience is challenging. In this Teach-Out, we address this challenge by helping participants to develop core communication skills and more effectively communicate with one another. For more information or to enroll, click here.

What you'll learn

  •     Understand why science communication is both important and challenging
  •     Develop strategies to effectively bridge communications between public audiences and scientific researchers
  •     Understand expert perspectives on different areas of public engagement with science
  •     Shape a compelling, message-focused STEM narrative for a specific audience
  •     Discuss important issues in science communication with others

Meet the instructors

Elyse L. Aurbach PhD
Co-Founder and Co-Director of RELATE

Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher PhD
Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education

Brandon Patterson MS
Co-Director of RELATE

Katherine E. Prater PhD
Co-Founder and Co-Director of RELATE

Click here for more information.

CBSSM Seminar: Julie Wright Nunes, MD, MPH

Wed, May 17, 2017, 3:00pm
NCRC, Building 16, Room 266C

Julie Wright Nunes, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine

Title: Patient Education and Care: Challenges and Opportunities in Chronic Kidney Disease

Abstract: Twenty million people, or 20% of U.S. adults ages 60 and older, have chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is a significant public health threat carrying high risk of morbidity, mortality, and renal failure. Health behavior theory suggests that patient motivation and healthy behavior change require patients to have knowledge of their chronic condition, as well as the self-efficacy and skills to do what is needed to stay healthy. The chronic care model promotes early patient engagement in care. Yet, less than 20% of  patients with CKD are aware of their diagnosis. Even patients who are aware often do not understand the implications of their CKD diagnosis or what they need to do to optimize their health. Dr. Wright Nunes will discuss her research aimed to develop, test, and disseminate sustainable patient-centric education and coaching support interventions to improve quality of care and outcomes in patients who have CKD.

In videos for The Trust Project, bioethicist and sociologist Raymond De Vries explores trust in medicine from a sociological perspective.

In How Trust Shapes the Medical Field: A Sociologist's Perspective, De Vries offers a historical perspective on trust in medicine:

  • What role did industrialization play in changing interpersonal trust?
  • What can we learn about trusting relationships from past societies?

In The Rise of Bioethics in Response to Medical Distrust: Key Findings, De Vries discusses some key research in the field of trust and bioethics:

  • How did the erosion of trust in medicine lead to the rise in the study of bioethics?
  • Does the bureaucracy that comes with research ethics committees enhance or undermine trust?

An another video, Evolution of Trust in Bioethics medical research ethics.

The Trust Project at Northwestern University features scholars and executives exploring Trust in videos that cover theory, research and practice. By combining multiple and diverse perspectives, The Trust Project aspires to illuminate new insights for research and management.

Fri, July 14, 2017

A study by current and former CBSSM faculty and staff was recently highlighted in Horsetalk (NZ). Angela Fagerlin, Thomas Valley, Aaron Scherer, Megan Knaus, Enny Das, and Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher were co-authors on an international study looking at the impact of flu labels (including "Horse Flu" and "Yarramin Flu") and graphics on risk perceptions and behavioral intentions.


Jodyn Platt, MPH, PhD, Assistant Professor of Learning Health Sciences, has been named a University of Chicago MacLean Fellow.

As part of the one year Cancer Genomics and Ethics Big Data Science Fellowship she will receive clinical training in the Medical Ethics Summer Intensive Program and conduct a research project with Olufunmilayo Olopade, MD, FACP, Director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics at University of Chicago Medicine.

Platt explains how her work as a fellow will begin: "I would like to systematically observe and interview individuals involved in shaping how data evolves and moves from the patient encounter to the big data enterprise and back to clinical care." Looking forward to expanding her network over the course of the year, she plans "to engage in, and lead, interdisciplinary scholarship that will ensure the revolution in healthcare delivery brought on by big data and cancer genomics is an ethical one." 

Platt is also the organizer of the upcoming ELSI-LHS symposium on November 15th at U-M which explores the “Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Learning Health Systems”.

Jeffrey DeWitt, PhD


Jeff DeWitt completed a PhD in Social Psychology in 2017 while working in Dr. Gretchen Chapman's Medical Decision Making Lab at Rutgers University. Broadly, Jeff's research is focused on the interplay between social cognition and behavioral decision making with an emphasis on healthcare applications. In particular, he has investigated how our representations and predictions of others' beliefs and goals can influence our own in altruistic medical contexts such as whether to donate blood or receive a flu shot. 

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Jennifer Skillicorn, DrPH, MPH

Research Associate

Jennifer joined CBSSM in August 2017. She works with Dr. Susan Goold and community partners on grant funded research projects related to evaluating Medicaid expansion and its impact on beneficiaries through the Healthy Michigan Plan and ways in which to engage minority and underserved communities in setting priorities for community health.

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CBSSM Seminar: Roi Livne, PhD

Wed, November 08, 2017, 3:00pm
NCRC, Building 16, Room 266C

Roi Livne, PhD
Assistant Professor, Sociology

Title: “The New Economy of Dying: Palliative Care, Morality, and Finance in the Age of Excess”

Abstract: This talk argues that over the past 40 years, a new economy has emerged around end-of-life care: one seeking to control, cap, and limit both spending and treatment near the end of life. Built around the expertise of Hospice and Palliative Care, this economy draws on the moral conviction that near the end of life, less treatment (and consequently, less spending) is better. Based on a historical analysis and ethnographic fieldwork in three California hospitals, Livne examines the interactive work that palliative care clinicians do with severely ill patients and their families, trying to facilitate their voluntary consent to pursue less life-sustaining and life-prolonging treatments.


Joseph Colbert, BA

Research Associate

Joseph joined CBSSM as a Research Area Specialist in November 2017. As a project manager, he coordinates the daily operations of Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren’s project “Provider, Patient, and Health System Effects of Provider Commitments to Choose Wisely,” a grant funded research project using novel approaches to reduce the overuse of low-value services in healthcare.

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Woll Family Speaker Series: Debate on Conscience Protection

Fri, March 09, 2018, 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Med Sci II, West Lecture Hall

The Woll Family Speaker Series on Health, Spirituality and Religion

We are excited to be hosting a debate on Conscience Protection on Friday March 9th from 12-1 as part of the UMMS Program on Health, Spirituality and Religion. Please save the date! CME Credit provided (see below).

Point: Healthcare professionals are "obligated to provide, perform, and refer patients for interventions according to the standards of the profession.” NEJM, 2017

Counterpoint: Healthcare professionals have the right to opt out of performing or referring for procedures they view as objectionable in accord with their religious or personal values.

Join Dr. Naomi Laventhal and Dr. Ashley Fernandes in this academic discussion as part of the University of Michigan Program on Health, Spirituality and Religion.