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Education / Graduate Education / BEST Program / Training Pathways / Science and Technology Policy

Science and Technology Policy

Traditional training programs provide little or no instruction relating to science and technology policy - yet it is increasingly important that biomedical research trainees understand the role of science and scientists in informing public policy development. This Pathway provides the knowledge, skills and critical network and partnerships to further pursue a career in science policy. Students successfully completing this pathway will be uniquely positioned to pursue policy-related careers in the private sector or at all levels of government, serve as staff scientists, analysts, or administrators in non-government organizations, or continue as research scientists able to more effectively contribute to the science and technology policy process. 

The Pathway is co-directed by Dr. Katrina Korfmacher, Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine and Director of Community Outreach and Engagement in the Environmental Health Sciences Center. Dr. Korfmacher is a policy scientist who has focused for the last 12 years on promoting the effective use of science in local, state, and national environmental health decisions.

The Pathway is co-directed by Dr. Scott Steele, Director of Regulatory Science Programs, Director of Government and Academic Research Alliances and Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences. Dr. Steele has over 10 years' experience in Science and Technology policy, development, and analysis

Discuss ideas you have about gaining experience in the Science and Technology Pathway with Dr. Katrina Korfmacher and Dr. Scott Steele

Science and Security Track

A number of important and timely policy issues lay at the intersection of science and security, where scientists can have a critical role in enhancing national and international security. This track will allow trainees to gain a better understanding of these key issues and develop the skills to better address national and international security issues, from public health preparedness and medical counter measures development to counter proliferation and emergency response policies. This track will offer trainees foundational training in management and leadership through the Spring IND 494 Leadership and Management for Scientists or the Online AAAS Career Development Portal. Trainees will obtain formal instruction and networking opportunities through the Fall PM 445 Introduction to Health Services Research and Policy and Spring PM 487 Fundamentals of Science, Technology and Health Policy. Potential fellowships, internships and training opportunities can be explored at the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Center for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health (1st or 2nd year graduate students only), American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Learn more about careers in Science and Technology Policy by conducting informational interviews with experts from Department of Homeland Security,  Personalized Medicine Coalition and RAND. For potential informational interviewees, contact Dr. Scott Steele. To learn more about conducting informational interviews, contact Dr. Tracey Baas.

Public Health Policy Track

Scientists, decision makers, and interest groups generally agree that public policy should be based on sound science. Doing so, however, requires active participation by scientists in all aspects of the policy making process. This track will prepare students interested in public health issues to be effective contributors to better science-based decision making. Training opportunities will build on the University of Rochester’s strong foundation of engagement in public policy making in the areas of health outcomes, environmental health, occupational health, and health impact assessment. This track will prepare students for careers in government and public health agencies (local, state and federal), the FDA, advocacy and non-profit groups (including community-based organizations), education and outreach groups, and private sector organizations interested in improving science technology and policy and decision-making. You may also consider working with Dr. Katrina Korfmacher to identify opportunities to attend City Council and County legislature sessions related to public health policy. These sessions will provide the trainee experience with local implementation and oversight of health policy.