CDC Foundation-Lead Initiative

Publishing is imperative to share ideas, advance research, establish best practices, and inform policy.  However, the process of developing a scientific paper is complex and requires a specific skill set that includes the ability to frame a question, explain why a study is important, interpret data, communicate results, and suggest implications for public health policy.  The next step, publication, is also complex and filled with barriers for inexperienced authors, such as unfamiliarity with publishing requirements and scientific writing formats.

The Art & Science of Scientific Communications training, a CDC Foundation-led Initiative, is comprised of a 1-week training-of-trainers workshop followed by a 2-week scientific communication course focused on enhancing the scientific communication skills of in-country public health officials. The aim of the training is to develop a cadre of in-country experts that can repeatedly deliver the scientific communication course and serve as writing coaches and mentors for the course participants.  

The goals of the course are for mentees to:

  • Learn the concepts of adult learning and instructional strategies (during the TOT)
  • Understand and apply the principles of effective written, oral, and visual scientific communication
  • Understanding the components of a scientific manuscript (the IMRAD format)
  • Know how to create tables and figures to present data effectively
  • Know how to conduct research using the different databases
  • Understand the article submission process and how to write an effective submission letter
  • Identify attributes of both quantitative and qualitative data and the effective visual display of data
  • Understand and be able to use the editorial process

At the conclusion of the 2-week course, each mentor is paired with 2-4 mentees.  Over the course of a year, the mentor will work with mentees to develop an abstract or manuscript for publication or a poster for a conference presentation.  Past participants have presented at conferences such as the Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET) annual conferences and have had manuscripts published in public health bulletins and peer-reviewed journals. Through the TOT format, the program also helps expand the mentorship skills for the new trainers.The course has also been adapted for different audiences such as public health bulletin editorial staff and civil registration health officers.