Communicating Technical Information: From Biostatistics to Science Policy

Natalie Gasca Speaker
University of Washington
Monday, Aug 7: 2:05 PM - 2:30 PM
Invited Paper Session 
Metro Toronto Convention Centre 
Throughout the last decade, an underlying theme in my work has been communicating technical information to broad audiences. As part of my biostatistics PhD program, I investigated ways to use nutritional information from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis to identify heart-healthy diet patterns. I evaluated ways to summarize the diet data using partial least squares and sparsity techniques, and how to interpret and visualize patterns in the data that were associated with a participant's first heart disease event. As the pandemic developed, I joined a cross-institutional student-led group to clarify COVID-19 guidance for people in Mexico through news articles. After graduation, I served as a Science Policy Fellow, training for 2 months about how laws and decisions get made in California before being placed for the rest of the year in the Department of Pesticide Regulation. I collaborated on materials for public webinars and internal briefing documents, highlighting progress on scientific and policy projects in the context of government processes. In this talk, I will share some lessons learned that have enabled me to adapt between research, science communication, and policy.