Advocacy

The Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience is committed to raising awareness of the importance of science and the importance of increasing science funding. Stay informed on advocacy efforts from the Society for Neuroscience.

The objective of the Advocacy Committee is to provide the resources and training for our chapter members to effectively advocate for science and science funding. We will seek and provide the tools necessary to communicate with lawmakers, legislative assistants, and the general public. Download our brochure about how you can get involved here.

Upcoming events:

Advocate for Science Workshop

  • April 12, 2017, 6- 8 PM
  • Columbia University, Jerome L. Greene Science Center Education Lab
  • Open to scientists at all levels
  • This program will provide an introduction to those who wish to become active in advocating for neuroscience and provide lessons and a plan to go forward with this newly gained knowledge.
  • https://advocate-for-science.eventbrite.com

Advocate for Science flyer

March for Science

  • April 22, 2017
  • Demonstrate your support for science research by marching. The need for science to inform policy is nonpartisan: it is essential for our health and our future. Put your boots on the ground and stand up for science!
  • http://www.marchforscience.nyc

“Scopes”, by Fresh Squeezed Opera Company

  • June 15-18, 2017. IATI Theater, NYC
  • One of our greatest tools for science advocacy is public outreach. Collaboration with art is a very exciting avenue for facilitating this contact with the public. Join BraiNY Advocacy in welcoming an exciting partnership with Fresh Squeezed Opera! Science by showing your support.
  • http://www.freshsqueezedopera.com/
  •  A 35 minute opera portrays the historical events of the Scopes Monkey Trial on stage while injecting the very relevant emotions that this trial brought to 1920’s America.

What is Science advocacy?

It is organizing publicly to put pressure on policymakers to ensure resources for scientific research.

It is demonstrating the tangible value of science in our everyday lives.

It is discussing the importance of science in conversation.

It is supporting evidence based decision making at personal, local, and governmental levels.

Why advocate for science?

We all benefit from science. From life-saving medical advances, to increased quality of life, to preservation of our planet, to understanding our past, every individual has benefited from the advancement of science.

The economic burden of human disease is increasing. We are healthier than ever and living longer, thanks to scientific advancements. However, with increased life comes age-related disease. In 2016, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias cost the U.S. $236 billion. Let’s work together to find cures.

Every voice matters. We are all indispensable when it comes to scientific advancement. The public largely funds the scientific research that occurs in the United States through taxes. By electing politicians who value science, we can maintain or increase science funding. We need everyone’s support for government-sponsored science.

We need increased scientific funding. The need for science never decreases, but the funding can. In 2016, $66 billion was invested in research. This was only 1.7% of the 2016 budget. The relative amount we spend on research has decreased over the past 25 years: in 1992, 1.9% of the budget went to  research. (https://www.aaas.org/ page/historical-trends-federal-rd)

When has advocacy been effective?

Mental Health Destigmatization.

Increased conversations about mental health has led to substantial destigmatization of mental illness.. This trend to openly discuss mental illness is echoed by recent anecdotes from celebrities. Jon Hamm and Lady Gaga have spoken out about their depression. Stephen Fry has become the “face” of suicidal depression and bipolar disorder. Courteney Cox, and other famous mothers, have recently spoken frankly about postpartum depression. These conversations are important, and force policy-makers to listen.

BRAIN Initiative. Unlocking the mysteries of the brain requires advancing technologies to better study brain activity and function. After advocacy efforts from science foundations and corporations to renowned neuroscientists and members of the public, Pres. Obama launched this initiative in 2013. It has since granted over $100 million to researchers to advance our knowledge of the brain. (www.braininitiative.nih.gov)

Environmental Protection Agency. In the 1950s and 1960s, there was public outcry about the impact of human activity on the environment.  This forced Congress to act, resulting in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The EPA importantly also protects all Americans from pollution, for example by ensuring that we have safe drinking water.

How can you advocate?

March for Science on April 22

Demonstrate your support for science research by marching. The need for science to inform policy is nonpartisan: it is essential for our health and our future. Put your boots on the ground and stand up for science!

http://www.marchforscience.nyc

Join 314 Action to increase STEM based policy and support more scientists in leadership positions

http://www.314action.org

Contact your state and US legislators to tell them we need to increase funding for science research and national science laboratories.

Find your legislators here:

http://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

For more ideas:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/15/politics/ways-to-be-more-politically-active-trnd/

Society for Neuroscience: http://www.sfn.org

Brainfacts.org

Dana Foundation: http://www.dana.org

Research America: http://www.researchamerica.org

Stay connected:

Stay informed with our FaceBook group: braiNY Advocates for Science

To get involved with advocacy efforts, be added to our mailing list, or for any other questions, contact us at advocacy.nyc.sfngmailcom

Past events: 

Train to Advocate – May 21, 2016. Learn the skills you need to speak to legislators about the importance of increasing neuroscience funding. Hone your message by perfecting your pitch with experts in the field and learn the art of non-verbal communication using improv techniques.

Inaugural event, Science Funding: What can we do about it? on September 24, 2015, pictures and resources from event.

Partnership event: SfN is hosting a reception and networking event for its advocacy committee at the upcoming meeting in Chicago on Saturday, October 17 from 4-5 pm in room S504A. It will immediately follow the public outreach Brain Awareness Event happening from 2:30-4 pm in room N427.

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