On September 16, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held a webinar on understanding how to build and trust in the scientific community and the development in a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The webinar featured a panel discussion and Q&A session featuring Professor of the History of Science and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University Evelyn Hammonds, Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Writing and Director of the Graduate Program in Science Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seth Mnookin, and Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security Monica Schoch-Spana. The Webinar also included remarks from President of the National Academy of Medicine Victor Dzau, President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S) David Oxtoby, and Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis Collins.
The panel covered a variety of issues concerning public confidence in science including the erosion of confidence in scientific institutions, historical instances of racism and abuse in medicine against Black Americans, anti-vaccine movements, and extreme polarization. The panel also discussed potential methods to counteract help rebuild public confidence in science including improved communication strategies concerning anti-vaccine movements, engagement strategies with at-risk populations, and NIH’s new Community Engagement Alliance against COVID-19 Disparities (CEAL) initiative.
A full recording of the webinar is available on the NASEM website.