From Autism to Zika: Engaging Rhetorical Communication When the Public Has as Much Trouble Understanding Science as Scientists Do in Explaining It: Marin Pearson Allen is Deputy Associate Director for Communications and Public Liaison and Director of Public Information in the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Before she joined the NIH two decades ago, she was a tenured, full professor and founding department chair at Gallaudet University. She continues to teach, and has earned two Emmy Awards for productions airing on the Discovery Channel and PBS. Abstract: How truthiness, factoids, emotivism, the death of the Fairness Doctrine, Unspeak, QUBE and its ilk have fed a fundamental loss of appreciation and application of  logos, understanding of ethos, and an elevated use of pathos in discourse about health and science. The NIH is a small city, has a footprint in every state and territory, and is, especially in emergencies, an international partner. Using an example from the Center for Science Communication of the Japan Science and Technology Agency describing the fragility of public trust, and examining the NIH’s efforts with communication officials at grantee institutions, Dr. Allen will raise five questions that may contribute to a broader understanding of how to move forward in a “moonshot” environment when we’re “telling stories” – true or not.


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