London Health Research Day showcases research excellence and the value of science communication

London Health Research Day (LHRD) brought together hundreds of learners, clinical fellows and postdoctoral scholars to share their work, connect with peers and enhance their science communication skills.

On April 30, more than 400 learners from across Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, the Faculty of Health Sciences and Lawson Health Research Institute participated in the eighth annual event.

“I love that LHRD brings trainees of all disciplines together to present our work, allowing us to become familiar with the research that is being performed outside of our respective areas," said Shelby Oke, a PhD Candidate with the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. "Being recognized for my platform talk made the day even more rewarding." Oke is conducting research to determine how maternal insults during pregnancy, such as a low protein diet, influence fetal growth and development.

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The event's keynote speaker, Timothy Caulfield, highlighted how science communication is particularly important in the age of misinformation. Caulfield, author of the bestseller Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash and host of the documentary TV series A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, presented as part of The Lucille & Norton Wolf Health Research Lecture Series. His talk, titled “Science vs. Celebrity: A Battle We Must Win,” focused on the important role scientists play in the battle against pseudoscience.

“London Health Research Day is an amazing event. It brings together a unique, engaged and highly interdisciplinary community,” noted Caulfield. “Great energy. Great discussion. Great research. What more do you need? It was an honour to be involved."

Caulfield also participated in a panel discussion on science communication alongside local science communicators Ramina Adam, PhD Candidate, Lorelei Lingard, PhD, Matthew Teeter, PhD, and Dr. David Palma. The panel was moderated by Carly Weeks, a health reporter at The Globe and Mail, and focused on the importance of communicating science effectively and responsibly.

“The panel created an incredible opportunity to discuss science communication. It was a great starting point to encourage trainees to get more involved in outreach efforts,” said Adam. “Having that in-depth discussion about the importance of science outreach was a great follow-up to Timothy Caulfield’s keynote presentation and very encouraging for trainees who are passionate about the topic.”

From the presentation of research projects to the panel discussion, LHRD 2019 was an engaging day of networking and professional development that highlighted the scope of health science in London, Ontario.

For a full list of this year’s award recipients, please visit the LHRD website.