Rockefeller priorities

We will join together on our first day to think about how science communication can contribute to each of 4 priority areas of the Rockefeller Foundation. Each is framed very broadly –no doubt intended to encompass a wide range of issues and ideas of relevance in both developed and developing countries. Each is also framed in positive terms, in the ways such an initiative can bring benefits to societies.

As we think about these 4 priority areas it seems fruitful to think about the aspects of each that create more resistance or potentially more controversy in society. That should help us narrow down aspects of each priority area where science communication practice and theory can help navigate the terrain in a fruitful way.

I will ask us in our opening session to identify some areas of resistance relevant to each priority area. Please start thinking about this and, if you can, add your own ideas here so that we can build on them when we are together at Bellagio.

I will start us off. One ripe area of resistance relevant to advancing health is vaccine hesitancy or vaccine confidence. This is a topic that keeps coming up in my discussions with stakeholder groups in the U.S. and in Europe. It is an area with importance in developing as well as developed nations, albeit with different contours and concerns. Concerns among some segments of the population have persisted over many years now. And, concerns likely connect with broader views about Western or conventional medicine. These aspects should make it a fruitful avenue for our conversations and for its relevance to the mission of the Rockefeller Foundation.

What other aspects of advancing health might we consider together?


1 thought on “Rockefeller priorities”

  1. Another example of resistance: Developing alternative energy sources, such as natural gas through hydrofracturing (“fracking”). Here, a couple of the Rockefeller priority areas intersect: valuing ecosystems and securing livelihoods. Many critics of fracking worry about longterm environmental effects. Many supporters of fracking point to both local economic benefits (the boom associated with drilling) and wider economic benefits (cheaper access to energy). Communicating simply about “the science” of fracking misses the point — resistance and conflict come from the interaction of social, political, economic, and cultural values.

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