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WORKSHOP: Advocacy Training for All: The basics of public policy involvement for scientists across the spectrum​

​Broadcast Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 | 12:00 –​ 4:00 PM US Central Time​​

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This is a workshop that provides advocacy training for all plant pathology scientists: academicians, industry members, and government employees. Advocating and communicating our science to officials in government agencies and state and national legislatures is critical to developing and implementing policies that affect agriculture. By the end of the workshop, attendees will have an understanding of how policies in government are formulated and impacted by scientific support, what we as scientific advocates can do to inform different branches of government to achieve common goals, and how to put together a public comment to make our voices heard on legislative topics or issues that affect regulations. As scientists, we are connected to the broad arms of agriculture and see many policy issues through multiple and diverse perspectives. Our education and awareness of relevant policies and the science involved can help us shape the policies for the public good.

Learning Objectives

    • ​Hands-on practice – identify a policy of interest and work with your group to create an agenda and elevator pitch for congressional members and staff 
    • Discuss ways we as citizens can get involved with our national, state and local legislations through education, hearings, petitions, organizations, etc. 
    • The dilemmas one can feel when one considers advocacy. 
      • ​​Use climate scientists as an example, and use break out groups to identify ways one can navigate these barriers. Come back together to discuss. 
    • Barriers to advocacy 
      • ​Explanation of The Hatch Act and other barriers to involvement 
      • ‘Conflict of interest’ 
      • Ethical issues 
    • Learn the structure of a good public substantive comment 
      • ​​Break into groups for hands-on practice in writing a comment on a policy of interest 
    • Final thoughts on policy, and our role as advocates for science​​

    Target Audience

    Anyone interested in public policy across our society’s scientific spectrum: academics, industry members, government employees. This would especially be targeted to early career and graduate student attendees.


    Hannah Rivedal, USDA-ARS​
    Rick Bennett, University of Kentucky
    Paul Vincelli, University of Kentucky
    Gail Tomimatsu, US EPA
    Joyce Loper, Oregon State University