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ComSciCon-AIP: Cultivating and Improving External Communications in Medical Physics

C Steffel*, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI


(Sunday, 7/12/2020)   [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

Room: AAPM ePoster Library

Purpose: The AAPM, like many other American Institute of Physics (AIP) member societies (MSs), includes among its goals the improvement of external communications with the public, government officials, agencies, and the media and the promotion of leadership roles within AAPM and its membership. The Communicating Science Conference at AIP (ComSciCon-AIP) increased the capacity of AIP MSs and their graduate student members to develop and engage in science communication (SciComm) initiatives, providing a valuable service to early-career members that directly bolsters the promotion of trusted, accurate scientific information to external audiences.

Methods: ComSciCon-AIP built an infrastructure for excellent communication in the physical sciences through panel discussions, networking opportunities, and a write-a-thon during which attendees drafted articles and received expert feedback. In September 2019, 50 selected students, 10 organizers, and representatives from nine AIP MSs gathered at The American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland for two days of SciComm discussion and practice.

Results: Twenty-two invited experts, including eight AIP staff and the AIP Board Chair, engaged with attendees. Students left ComSciCon-AIP with drafted and professionally edited articles for publication in media and other outlets. AIP MS representatives left with whitepapers to share with their society’s leadership. Attendees in a post-conference survey reported that they will apply information they learned to their external communications as well as scientific abstracts, presentations, and manuscripts.

Conclusion: Professional development opportunities for medical physicists are growing and those in SciComm are emerging. ComSciCon-AIP propelled AIP MSs’ and graduate students’ SciComm initiatives by training students to lead work in SciComm, supporting AIP and MS publications by increasing submission quality and reducing editing time and costs, supporting membership by creating new communities around SciComm within and across MSs, and supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives by advancing members’ ability to engage with diverse audiences.

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: Funding for ComSciCon-AIP was provided by the American Institute of Physics Venture Partnership Fund (AIP VPF). C. Steffel participated in ComSciCon-AIP as a selected student attendee.


Science Communication, ComSciCon, AIP


Leadership: Communication skills

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