We presented a dialogue workshop titled Principles and Practice of Creating Community Dialogues to Build Trust and Vaccine Confidence at the Inclusive Science Communication Symposium. Presenters included Jonathan Garlick, DDS, PhD; CTSI Senior Project Manager Binta Barry, MS; CTSI Project Manager Maggie Fenwood Hughes, MSW, MS; Tufts faculty Jennifer Allen, ScD, MPH, MSN; and Tufts students Anton Schenk and Melissa Barbosa. The workshop illustrated how dialogue can engage across differences of ideology, identity, and culture on COVID vaccination. Dialogue facilitators included Dr. Juliann Tefft, Abigail Alpern-Fisch, Sasha Shenk, Cindy Zhang and Deepti Srinivasan.
Discover new ways for citizens and scientists to build “relationships of dialogue” to connect science issues to our civic lives to instill a sense of wonder not only about science but about each other.
Working towards an equitable future for all by sharing our stories and experiences through dialogue that can make science more inclusive and equitable.
The Impact of the Dialogue
- Emotion-oriented outcomes: Acquire new understandings of yourself and others.
- Knowledge-oriented outcome: Think about scientific information through a personal, reflective lens.
- Action-oriented outcome: Explore beliefs, values and stories that motivate action.
Inclusive Dialogue: Humanizing the Science Conversation
Civic Science creates dialogues where diverse opinions and beliefs are shared in ways that inspires curiosity and empathy about diverse views on controversial science issues. These dialogues shift conversations from alienation and hype towards a more inclusive space for reflection, understanding and hope. Civic Science trains scientists and citizens to facilitate dialogues that humanize others by deepening understandings of diverse views on civic choices related to contemporary science issues.
Studying the Impact of Dialogue on Humility and Conviction in Public Discourse
With support from the Templeton Foundation’s “Humility and Conviction in Public Life” initiative, our Civic Science initiative has studied structures that undermine intellectually humble discourse on divisive science issues in the college classroom. We have learned that classroom dialogues help students keep an open mind when considering ideas and values that differ from their own in ways that support their learning of controversial science issues.
The Dialogic Classroom
To support teachers whose students struggle with difficult conversations, Civic Science has developed “dialogic classrooms” that help students improve their understanding of science-based information by using structured dialogue to interpret the personal impact of science in their lives.
Civic Science Roundtables
Civic Science Roundtables are public dialogues that enable participants to better understand complex and divisive science issues while developing skills needed to discuss these issues in a diverse setting. Participants share conversations that break down stereotypes and inspire curiosity as they consider diverse points of view on topics such as the opioid epidemic, gene editing, DNA ancestry testing and GMO foods.
Dialogue in the High School Science Classroom
Civic Science trains high school science teachers to facilitate dialogues on science topics that are hard for their students to talk about- including evolution, climate change and CRIPSR gene editing. We train teachers to help their students to better listen, reflect on and understand opinions and beliefs of others whose opinions are different from their own in these science topics.
Dialogue and Human Health
Civic Science implements public dialogues on issues that impact human health, such as participation in clinical trials, health disparities and health care access and affordability. These dialogues build trust and transparency between health professionals and community members who listen and learn from each other about their hopes and concerns that impact decisions on health-related issues.
Supporting Public Deliberation on Science Issues
Civic Science creates public deliberation using a process of public concern gathering established by the Kettering Foundation that can best reflect citizen hopes and fears on shared problems raised by science issues. This inclusive process values citizen expertise and knowledge as citizens weigh options and make choices based on what they hold valuable on these issues.
Tufts Dialogue Fellows Program
Civic Science Dialogue Fellows are students trained to serve as facilitators of dialogue across the Tufts campus. These dialogues build trust among diverse participants in the face of perceived risk, uncertainty, and conflicting beliefs, values, and interests on issues related to science, human health and identity.