One week until ‘Session 4: Community engagement and collaboration’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

We are a week away from the fourth day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “Community engagement and collaboration”. This session will feature four talks featuring researchers who have experience bringing communities and members of the public into research teams as contributing members, rather than just study subjects. Not only does this improve the relationship between research and the public, but it creates better-informed research studies and wider spread of positive impacts. Our hope is that attendees for this session learn from different perspectives how to engage with communities early on to spark conversations and collaboration with their research.

Session 4: “Community engagement and collaboration”

Thursday, July 21st, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. Register for this session, which is free and will be held over Zoom

Session leaders:

Portrait of Mustafa Saifuddin, Ph.D.,

Mustafa Saifuddin, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Sustainable Food and Farming Program at Earthjustice

Ashley M. Toney, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UTHealth School of Public Health, El Paso. Translational/Clinical Nutrition Researcher focused on Latine Health Disparities.

Scope: Due to the interconnectedness of microbial processes and social justice, many types of microbial research could benefit from closer collaborations with communities impacted directly by the public health, environmental and climate justice implications of microbiomes. Some styles of microbiome research would yield more positive outcomes if the collaboration was built around mutual long-term goals, instead of specific projects, and if it was initiated during project conceptualization instead of after the project has been designed. This session will explore different styles of interdisciplinary collaborations centered on community needs, such as community advisory boards, community partnerships, community-led research design, and how to implement this into microbiome research.

Learning Objective of Session: Attendees will learn 1) approaches to community-centered collaborations, 2) how to leverage community professionals (e.g. health workers) in a ‘train the trainer model’, 3) how to start ethical conversations around environmental samples & broader experimental design, and 4) how to emphasize collaborations – including public health, government, policy makers, etc. as a collaborator and how to ask for their help/mindful collaborations.

Format of talks: Four 30-min lecture-style talks from researchers who have successfully built research collaborations with communities.

Format of breakout rooms: Each room creates a plan for engagement, and each room has a designated topic area (e.g. environmental restoration) to help audience members group by research discipline.

Session Speakers:

Dr. Pajau (PJ) Vangay, PhD. Science Community Manager, National Microbiome Data Collaborative, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“Advancing microbiome science, in partnership with communities”

Dr. Rosie Alegado

Dr. Rosie Alegado, PhD., Associate Professor, Oceanography; Director, Sea Grant Ulana ʻIke Center of Excellence; Director, School of Ocean and and Earth Science and Technology Maile Mentoring Bridge Program at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa

“Community-embedded microbiology in Indigenous spaces”

Dr. Arbor Quist

Dr. Arbor Quist, PhD., Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Justice & Community-Driven Epidemiology in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California.

“Partnering with Communities in Environmental Disaster Research”

Professional headshot of Dr. Aidee Guzman

Dr. Aidee Guzman, PhD., NSF and UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine.

“Building agricultural resilience from the ground up.”

12:30 – 14:15 Introduction and Speakers

14:15 – 14:30 Break

14:30 – 15:00 Fourth speaker

15:00 -16:00 Breakout room discussions based on skills development, in smaller groups

  • Community-based participatory research (CBPR) & Scientific Community Engagement
  • Best engagement practices (and things to avoid)
  • Community driven epidemiology
  • Agricultural community engagement
  • Finding a community to engage

Prior to this session, you may want to watch these recorded talks:

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