On April 22, many citizens, researchers, and clinicians engaged in the #MarchforScience across the world to promote how science shapes our lives and improves society. According to the official March for Science website, the march was a celebration of science.
“People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world. New policies threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings. We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely. Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science.” – March for Science
In an interview with PBS NewsHour (click here to read the full story: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/people-joining-skipping-march-science/), I discussed my reasons for joining the March for Science. As a psychologist, I am fully aware of the role that psychological science plays in our lives. I've had the opportunity to talk with policy makers in D.C. about the benefits of psychological science to help understand and address issues in society. The American Psychological Association also officially supported the march in D.C. and for decades have supported the use of science in policy decisions on Capital Hill. Here is a video on how psychological science has helped society.
Tips on Talking With Policy Makers About Science
In a previous post, I have discussed some strategies on advocacy. In my years of engaging in advocacy, these tops have been helpful in getting my messages across to policy makers.
- Do prepare. Before calling or meeting with elected officials, have your message prepared and review it carefully. Know exactly what you want to say on the issue(s).
- Do keep the message simple and concise. State the purpose of your call or meeting, and deliver your message in a few brief points.
- Do give examples from your community, district or state. It helps advocacy efforts to personalize how the issues impact your community, and you have the expertise to speak directly to the science.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of congressional staff. Although you may not directly meet with your elected official, your voice matters and your message will be communicated to them.
- Don’t expect scientific conclusions to convince legislators, although your efforts are helpful. On occasions your role as an advocate may be to simply share information on an issue.
- Don’t forget…you’re the expert (and the voter).
You can visit the APA website for more information on advocacy.
Copyright 2017 Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.