TL neuro

May 22, 2017

Congressional Outreach

Filed under: ASPET, Experimental Biology / ASPET, Op/Ed, Public Health — mtaffe @ 11:53 am

We are very proud to announce that Jacques D. Nguyen, PhD,  was selected by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) to participate in their Washington Fellows Program for 2017. Jacques has been a very productive member of the Taffe Laboratory since joining it as a postdoctoral trainee in early 2015 and he still manages to find time to think about broader issues of science policy. He has been an active participant in ASPET as an academic society in addition to presenting work at the annual meetings.

Jacques is pictured, in this photo, preparing to discuss science policy with the staff of a San Diego Congressman,  Rep. Scott Peters.

For a little bit of background, the ASPET Washington Fellows Mission statement:

Program Mission

The mission of the ASPET Washington Fellows Program is to enable developing and early career scientists interested in science policy to learn about and become more engaged in public policy issues.

Fellows will develop an understanding of how public policy decisions made in Washington help shape and impact science policy, such as funding for the National Institutes of Health and other science agencies. Fellows will also learn how to advocate effectively on Capitol Hill and in their home districts.

This program will help fellows develop the skills and insights to become future leaders in science. 


June 30, 2015

The primary translational product of drug-abuse science is information

Filed under: CPDD, Op/Ed, Public Health — mtaffe @ 11:16 am

This is an excerpt of a CPDD News and Views piece* that has been accepted for publication in Drug & Alcohol Dependence. I’ve been working on this idea for several years now and it has gone through various iterations. The list of people I need to thank for shaping my thinking on this since discovering the “science blog” around 2006 or so is long and I will no doubt forget some of them. Nevertheless, I am particularly indebted to David Kroll, Janet Stemwedel, Peter Lipson, Jessica Palmer, Isis the Scientist, DrugMonkey, Bethany Brookshire, Zen Faulkes, Virginia Hughes, J. David Jentsch, Allyson Bennett and Carl Hart. I participated in a Media Forum at the 2014 CPDD annual meeting and made a presentation which touched on many of these themes.

Drug Abuse Scientists Should Use Social Media to Engage the Public Because Their Primary Translational Product is Information


Increasing numbers of people are relying on the Internet to rapidly provide health information and preliminary medical diagnoses on the basis of key word searches (Jones and Fox 2009; Lagu et al. 2008; Moretti et al. 2012). In the most recent survey the Pew Internet & American Life project found that 59% of adults in the US had looked online for health information and 35% had gone online to gain information on a specific medical issue (Fox 2013; Fox and Duggan 2013). It is hardly news that exposure to high budget entertainment, informational and advertising media can influence the nonmedical use of psychotropic drugs (Brown and Witherspoon 2002; Nunez-Smith et al. 2010). However, current social media tools and the near universal use of Web searches to find information on health-related topics provide a new opportunity for individual scientists to communicate more directly with the lay public, health care providers and policy makers at the expense of minimal time and effort. This is of particular interest since so much of the most readily available information on psychotropic drugs is poorly informed by the existing scientific knowledge and may be substantially influenced by sociopolitical biases or agendas. Drug abuse scientists should therefore use social media to engage the public in a discussion of their ongoing scientific results.

Substance Abuse Information on the Internet

“When we confronted him, my teenage son assured me that he had done extensive research on the Internet which confirmed that pot is totally harmless”

-neighbor of Dr. Taffe, Aug 2011


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