Translating translational science for public audiences

group photo.

Bruce R. Troen, MD, Diane G. Schwartz, MLS, and Anne B. Curtis, MD (l to r)

Published April 16, 2018 This content is archived.

A trio of clinical and translational research experts spoke at the March 26 Scientific Communications Core Competency Workshop, the fifth out of six workshops in the series offered by the CTSI’s Workforce Development core.


The theme of the workshop, “Translating the Implications of Clinical and Translational Research Findings,” featured: Diane G. Schwartz, MLS, Research Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics; Bruce R. Troen, MD, professor of medicine and division chief of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine; and Anne B. Curtis, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Charlee and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine.

The differences involved in speaking to professional and lay audiences were discussed, as were strategies ranging from how to engage participants to how to handle hostile questioners.

The purpose of the session was to provide researchers with insights about how to communicate their findings, according to  CTSI Educational Workforce Specialist Ashley Regling, MA,  so that “health care consumers, policy-makers and elected officials see the significance of clinical and translational research and understand how it contributes to the long-term health and well-being of the Western New York community.”

Schwartz referred to American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) principles for effective scientific communication, which promote “opportunities for mutual learning” between the biomedical research community and the wider public.

Troen’s portion of the workshop included a presentation within a presentation to demonstrate real-world techniques for understanding and engaging with audiences, which itself solicited a critique and feedback from the workshop attendees.


Curtis shared some of her experiences serving on professional guideline-writing committees, including the committee which authored the 2017 AHA/ACC/HRS Guideline for Management of Patients with Ventricular Arrhythmias and the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death.

The publication of scientific guidelines can be an important means of disseminating new therapies. Service on a guideline-writing committee is a serious responsibility which requires years of preparation and, in each instance, an extensive review of the literature pertaining to the topic at hand.

Curtis discussed the procedure by which guidelines are developed, how to get on a committee, and the follow-up that is conducted after new guidelines are published to ensure that suggestions are disseminated among physician groups and, as relevant, patients.


Core Competency Workshops provide researchers and trainees with an efficient approach to developing and enhancing research skills. The UB CTSI offers workshops in 14 subject areas deemed essential to researchers in clinical and translational science by NIH/NCATS.