Summer ’17 at the National Cancer Institute

I spent this summer at the National Cancer Institute as a research fellow between master’s and PhD programs, and it was a blast!

I was working in the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch with incredibly smart and thoughtful people, joining projects related to cancer communication, genetic communication, and precision medicine implementation.

Observing cognitive testing of the HINTS instrument

The highlight for me was getting the chance to sit in on meetings where cutting-edge medical and bioinformatics technology is being developed and research and policy are being shaped.

Another highlight was learning about HINTS (Health Information National Trends Survey), a tool for understanding how the public is accessing, using, and trusting sources of health information. We even got to visit Westat to see cognitive interviewing of the next questionnaire! I’m looking forward to collaborating with NCI scholars and others to report data from the newest HINTS cycle at the HINTS Data Users Conference in 2018.

Overall the experience deepened my understanding of potential challenges that could arise during precision medicine communication processes, since this is an emerging area of research for me. Related to this, I was interviewed alongside Dr. Brad Hesse for Data & Society’s Fairness in Precision Medicine project. Being a big fan of danah boyd, the PI on the project, I was thrilled to take part in this. Can’t wait to hear their reports.

And, of course, there was tango!