Japan Society for Medical Science Communication
Vol. 1, No.1 2023 (The First Number)


Inauguration of the Japanese Association of Medical Science Communication and the First Symposium

Takeo Nakayama1), Daisuke Son2), Kyoto Kitazawa3), Kazuto Kato4),Miki Akiyama5),Mamoru Ichikawa6)7),Takahiro Kiuchi8),Makiko Haragi9)

1) Department of Health Informatics, School of Public Health, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine 2) Department of Community-based Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University 3) Kyoto Pharmaceutical University 4) Department of Biomedical Ethics and Public Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University 5) Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University 6) Public Health and Health Policy, School of Medicine, Hiroshima University 7) Association of Medical Journalism Japan 8) Department of Health Communication, School of Public Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo 9) Department of Health Sciences, School of Health Development, Saitama Prefectural University

Medical Science Communication: Connecting Professionals and Laypeople

Kyoko Kitazawa

Kyoto Pharmaceutical University

Science communication in Japan has been conducted by training full-time personnel, holding science cafes, and using various media, including the Internet. However, one-way communication from professionals to laypeople based on the deficit model has serious limitations. Two-way participatory communication is becoming more prominent, and patient and public involvement (PPI) is becoming more important in medical research. It is expected that two-way communication will develop in medicine as an essential dialogue between health-care professionals and patients toward better problem solving.

Medical Science Communication: Ethics, Policy, and Patient Involvement

Kazuto Kato

Department of Biomedical Ethics and Public Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University

The area covered by medical science communication is very broad: it includes the dissemination of information and public dialogues on science as well as social debates on ethical issues and policies. This paper describes three aspects that I consider important for stimulating medical science communication: (1) the need for various approaches, such as school education and activities within society; (2) the importance of discussing ethical issues in medicine and the life sciences with citizens and various nonexperts; and (3) the potential for such undertakings as active patient involvement in medical research (whereby patients take the initiative in research) to serve as a forum for medical science communication. It is hoped that a diverse range of people (including medical researchers, patients, citizens, and researchers in the humanities and social sciences) will become actively involved in such areas and that medical research will progress with better understanding by society.

Communicating Medical Research Findings to the Public

Miki Akiyama

Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University

Research institutions are responsible for communicating research outcomes to society. However, only a limited number of medical research findings are reported to society by the media. There is little evidence about the status of press releases issued by medical researchers and how the media receive and decide whether or not to report them. Therefore, we conducted two studies to determine the efforts of universities to disseminate medical research findings and the process leading to media coverage . Universities that were active in presenting press releases had a well-developed organizational structure and devised ways to communicate their research content accurately, clearly, and timely. By contrast, interviews with media reporters revealed that the deciding factor for coverage was whether the content met their readers’ needs in addition to the content’s clarity and accuracy. Researchers and universities should consider how their research findings relate to the lives of the general public and implement effective communication.

Key points of Medical Science Communication from "Research on Communicating Medical Research in an Easy-to-understand Way”

Mamoru Ichikawa

Public Health and Health Policy, Hiroshima University School of Medicine/Association of Medical Journalism Japan

One goal of medical science communication is to present the results and expertise of medical research to the general public in an appropriate, understandable manner. One phenomenon that deserves attention in this regard is the “curse of knowledge.” This refers to the fact that experts who possess specialized experience and knowledge in a particular field tend to be misleading when communicating with the general public. In this symposium, I will introduce the efforts of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), “Research on Communicating Medical Research in an Easy-to-understand Way” in fiscal 2021, which addresses this problem.

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