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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Mershon affiliate Nisbete Erik Nisbet, assistant professor of communication, has won a 2013 Engagement Impact Grant from the Office of Outreach and Engagement at The Ohio State University. The $45,000 grant will support his project "Health Science Frontiers: Advancing Public Engagement."

As the health sciences advance at a swift pace the question arises about whether the public has the requisite community resources to make informed decisions about their health. At the same time, to be effective communicators, health experts must engage directly with the public to fully understand local community needs.

Nisbet's project addresses community needs around health science literacy by hosting up to eight televised public engagement forums in the WOSU@COSI studio at COSI beginning fall 2013 and continuing through spring 2015. Each forum will include a panel discussion about a health science issue with a broad array of experts including scientists, communicators, reporters, medical providers, ethicists, advocates, and policy-makers. Forums will take place before a live studio audience and will include members of the general public, invited educators, and medical professionals. Audience members will be able to pose questions to the panel and engage in a public dialogue.

"The structure of these forums is designed to encourage two-way communication between experts and the public," said Nisbet.

Each forum will be taped and edited into a 60-minute episode which will be aired on WOSU TV during primetime. In addition, a project webpage, created in partnership with WOSU and COSI, will post episodes and provide ongoing information about health science issues as a permanent community resource.

Partners with Nisbet on this project include The Ohio State University College of Medicine; the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital; WOSU@COSI/WOSU Public Media; and COSI (Center for Science and Industry).