From IVP Wiki

How to strengthen transparency and trust in medical research

Susan Adler, Executive Director of the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, http://nwabr.org/ hosted our conversation and I (Brian Glanz) took these notes for the group. Most I tapped out during the session, so with a caveat for bad grammar and the like:

We discussed trust as a cultural problem, particularly for medical and scientific research. One symptom of the cultural problem I found: science is apolitical like journalism is objective, by its method and ideals. In America though, science has been politicized to the extent that, according to Pew in 2009, just 6% of scientists are Republicans and 55% are Democrats.

Culture is geographical and geopolitical -- regional or national, indicating that an organization like Susan's with specifically regional concerns may not face all the same problems as a peer centered in a different region, or otherwise different culture. Getting to a root of culture and how it forms: it's community-based. In some cases communities form per language, in others race, religion, and so on.

This ties into our session as in some communities, research is more or less valued as manifest in their culture. Connecting to people in different communities means connecting the dots between research and what is valued in that community, all of this as framing approaches to establishing trust.

So how do you engage, through either legacy or new media? One question that arises: where do web sites get their visitors? Major, common sources include search engines, social media, and for niche sites especially more old fashioned social networking — i.e. people you personally and professionally know link to you and generally send referral based traffic.

Build trust by going to your audience, not only advertising, marketing, linking back to yourself from elsewhere and asking them to come to you. The example of an email newsletter which is no longer often read, is raised. An answer to that: publishing your stories and updates where and how your audience is reading, if email or a newsletter has fallen out of favor. Some prefer Twitter, others an RSS feed, or may prefer your web site but on a mobile phone. Share your news or links to your news in whichever mix of means fits your target audience. Sign up and be human, be social, in social media. Joining your target audience in their community can be more effective for building trust than trying to manufacture a community around your organization or site.

On *how* to engage, more generally, Irv Kass adds (he has a background in broadcast media): (1) with a narrative. (2) Build a relationship. To point 1, Irv mentions a good source to wrap up these notes: Don Hewitt who famously said that the four most important words are: “Tell me a story.”