Celebration Of Science: The Ugly, The Bad, And The Good

Now that the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions have come to a close, we believe that it may be important to highlight why should we celebrate science! One can argue that there may exist three different viewpoints on this: the ugly, the bad, and the good.

 
Now that the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions have come to a close, we believe that it may be important to highlight why should we celebrate science! One can argue that there may exist three different viewpoints on this: the ugly, the bad, and the good.

Every year at AHA Scientific Sessions, you get the science daily news as soon as you walk in the convention center. Often times, I have heard attendees, colleagues, and friends snapping how the AHA is spending way too many resources on publicizing, advertising, media, news, and now on social networking sites. Resources that some attendees believe can be used to fund investigators waiting in line to answer the dream scientific questions they have had for decades. If this was my first Scientific Session, I may believe the “ugly” viewpoint, which simply is that celebration of science can wait and it is of utmost importance to have more and more funds available for investigators to conduct research instead of being spent on news, media etc.

Now let’s talk about the viewpoint: “bad” when it comes to celebration of science. The key argument here being, on how certain research activities presented on a big stage during the Sessions e.g. late-breaking clinical trials would get more if not all the press and media coverage than let’s say some of the other oral presentations. This often times starts the never-ending debate among attendees on what science should we highlight as a scientific community if we all agree that celebrating science is essential.

What about the “good”? The simple viewpoint here is science would cease to exist if not celebrated in today’s era and the kind of lives we live. Secondly, the dissemination of science is as important if not more than conducting the original investigation/research. What if the science presented is or eventually turns out to be a new therapy for a devastating illness. It is important to remember that as a society, we have an obligation to have maximum number of human lives get benefit from the research conducted. There is no other better way to do this than to spread the scientific information by celebrating it.

Next time when you find yourself among attendees criticizing the celebration of science (the “ugly”) or being engaged in the debate what should be highlighted (the “bad”), I would like to urge you to develop a distinctive perspective that may be something like this. If you are an early career investigator presenting at the Sessions, many years worth of hard work and efforts have gone behind your 10-minute presentation. What Sessions are providing you is the platform to showcase your research, giving you an unprecedented opportunity to highlight the team of investigators colleagues/mentors etc. the folks who may have worked with you tirelessly to achieve a common goal. We have always in the past and will welcome high quality science submissions that we promise to celebrate with you at the next Scientific Sessions in 2016. Lastly, this year we got a chance to meet a few members from a large team of people who work behind the scenes at the Scientific Sessions to make celebration of science a possibility and we salute them for their hard work and dedication!

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Pankaj Arora, MD, FAHA
Chair Early Career Committee
Functional Genomics & Translational Biology Council
American Heart Association

Dr. Arora is a physician scientist in cardiology division at University of Alabama at Birmingham primarily focused on clinical & translational research.
Posted by Lyndie Bishop on Nov 12, 2015 4:31 PM America/Chicago

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