The Rockefeller University is bringing science out from laboratories and closed classrooms to give young parents face time with scientists working on childhood health and behavior research. Launched in 2007, Parents & Science is a quarterly lecture series which aims to inform and engage New York-area parents on topics ranging from melanoma to parent-child bonding.
“I think Rockefeller feels that it needs to communicate what it does, not only so that people recognize and will support its mission, but also because it has an obligation to tell the public and participate in educating the public in a time when science is perhaps suffering somewhat from public scrutiny in terms of funding,” Dr. Bruce McEwen told MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman. McEwen is the head of Rockefeller’s Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology as well as the faculty advisor for the Parents & Science initiative.
The Rockefeller University was founded by John D. Rockefeller Sr. in 1901. It was the first facility in the US dedicated solely to biomedical research, or the science of preventing and treating diseases that cause illness. Since its founding, 24 Rockefeller scientists have been awarded Nobel prizes.
The Parents & Science lecture series is a manifestation of the university’s motto, “Science for the benefit of humanity.” The lectures are open to the public as well as available online. But McEwen argues that the Parents & Science model offers parents something more than Google and WebMD: face-to-face interaction.
“It’s extraordinarily important,” said McEwen. “I think it’s well recognized that even when children see something on video, it doesn’t have the same impact as actually seeing a live human being in front of them. And I think it doesn’t just apply to children, it applies to adults as well. Being in a place where there is the actual, physical presence, where one can actually ask questions, interact after the lecture with a person, that’s totally different.”