How can press officers help improve public trust in medical evidence?

23 November 2017
  • Start: 18:30
  • End: 20:30
  • Location: The Academy of Medical Sciences

The Academy of Medical Science (AMS) published a report in the summer that suggested only around a third of people trust evidence from medical research. The report had implications for the whole sector - including the researchers who generate the evidence, policymakers who make decisions based on the evidence, and those who communicate about it.

AMS have kindly agreed to host a panel discussion on Thursday 23 November, so we can explore what we think we can do as press officers and science communicators to help improve the communication of medical evidence. The Stempra Guide to being a Media Officer was cited in the report as an example of best practice... but is there anything else we can do?

We will also discuss how we think we can be better supported in our roles. For example, some of the recommendations suggest research funders and HEFCE should come up with guidelines and provide incentives for scientists and their institutions to promote responsible communication. Is there anything else that you think might help?

We think that if decisions are to be made that affect press officers, we should get input from as many press officers as possible. The official event blurb is below. There will also be wine, tea/coffee and nibbles on the night.

Here are links to the report and a lay summary:

Summary -

Full report -

Here is the link to the Stempra guide:

How can press officers help improve public trust in medical evidence?

In June this year the Academy of Medical Sciences launched a report investigating how we can all best use evidence to judge the benefits and harms of medicines. The project involved extensive engagement with healthcare professionals and the public, as well as workshops to examine issues such as conflict of interest, sources of evidence and communications, which were attended by many Stempra members. The report has important messages for policy makers, healthcare professionals, patients, journalists and science communicators to improve the use of evidence - and emphasises the joint responsibility of each.

You can access the full report here:

The report recognises the essential role that science and health press officers play in the communication of evidence and hoped to stimulate discussion about the best way to support press officers in their role.

Come along to our event to find out more about it, how the recommendations are being taken forwards, and most importantly, for a chance for you to have your say in what you think the sector could do to better support STEM press officers.

On the panel are:

Claire Bithell, Head of Communications at AMS

Claire Hastings, Chair of Stempra

Ed Sykes, Senior Press Manager at the Science Media Centre

Carmel Turner, Chief Press Officer at the Medical Research Council

Rob Dawson, Head of Communications, Advocacy and Support, at the Meningitis Research Foundation, will chair the discussion.

Time: arrival from 6:30 for a 7pm start

Date: Thursday 23rd November 2017

Where: The Academy of Medical Sciences, 41 Portland Place, London W1B 1QH

Register here.