#CienciaBoricua: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Response
December 8, 2021
4:30pm - 5:30pm EST
5:30pm - 6:30pm (Puerto Rico AST)
Join us on Wednesday, December 8th at 4:30 PM EST for our first December Afternoon Tertulía- #CienciaPR: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Response. We will be joined by members of Ciencia Puerto Rico: Giovanna Guerrero Medina, Mónica Feliú Mójer, and Greetchen Díaz Muñoz to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the archipelago, Puerto Rico’s quick response to the global pandemic, accurate health communications within the islet, targeting misinformation, pushing for accountability within government and policy makers, and supporting continued education amongst Puerto Rican children. In this Tertulía, we will discuss the efforts that have been made in Puerto Rico since March 2020, how these efforts can be applied in other contexts, and the insight gained from the start of the pandemic until now.
Edmy Angélica Ayala Rosado is a young independent Afro-Puerto Rican journalist from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, who specializes in social and political justice issues. In addition to having her own independent platform, she has a weekly radio program with an intergenerational, feminist, anti-racist and scientific approach and has collaborated since 2019 as an independent reporter for The New York Times. She has also collaborated with outlets such as revista étnica and National Public Radio (NPR).
Two of her passions are journalistic ethics, data, and science. For this reason, she began the process of specializing in scientific communication and solidarity journalism. Edmy is a Scientific Communication Specialist and Project Coordinator for Ciencia Puerto Rico, where she works in various community science projects, in addition to supporting the implementation of integrated communication strategies for the organization.
Dr. Giovanna Guerrero-Medina is the Executive Director of Ciencia Puerto Rico, an international network of over 15,000 scientists, students, and educators committed to promoting scientific outreach, education, and careers. Under her leadership, CienciaPR has become one of the largest communities of Hispanic scientists in the world and has obtained federal and foundation funding for transformative initiatives in the areas of science communication, education, and professional development. The organization’s work has been recognized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the AAAS-Caribbean, and the White House. She is also the director of the Yale Ciencia Initiative at Yale University School of Medicine, where leads programs such as that the Yale Ciencia Academy, an NIH-funded program that has provided >200 students from underrepresented backgrounds across the U.S. with mentoring, peer support, outreach opportunities and skills to successfully navigate academic programs and career paths. She also directs the Yale Program to Advance Training in Health and Sciences, which provides professional development and mentoring to undergraduate students interested in pursuing PhD, MD/PhD or MD degrees. She was also recently appointed Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of the Wu Tsai Institute, a new institute at Yale focused on promoting interdisciplinary explorations of the mind and cognition. Through these positions, Dr. Guerrero-Medina uses community-based and empowerment approaches to move forward diversity, equity, and inclusion in science. She has professional experience in scientific public policy at the NIH and in academia, and has a PhD in cell and molecular biology from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.
Dr. Mónica Feliú-Mójer applies a cultural lens to storytelling and science communication to engage underserved communities with science, especially Puerto Ricans and Latinxs. As a science communicator, she draws on her training (a PhD in neurobiology), personal background, and culture (a woman from rural Puerto Rico) to make science relevant and relatable to marginalized populations. She works with the non-profits Ciencia Puerto Rico and Science Communication Lab, where her efforts include: serving as editor-in-chief for the publication of more than 400 scientist-written popular science articles and op-eds in a major newspaper; co-editing the first collection of culturally relevant popular essays and stories about science and Puerto Rico; producing a series of short films changing the narrative about scientists of color; and training hundreds of scientists in culturally relevant science communication, among others. Dr. Feliú-Mójer obtained her B.S. in Human Biology at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón and her Ph.D. in Neurobiology at Harvard University.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Feliú-Mójer has been leading multiple efforts to communicate the science of COVID-19 in timely, accurate, and relevant ways to Spanish-speaking audiences, including an op-ed and popular science articles’ campaign, connecting Puerto Rican scientists with national and international media outlets, doing TV, radio, podcast and media interviews, creating resources for journalists, writing op-eds, and leading the award-winning community engagement project Aquí Nos Cuidamos, among others
Dr. Fabiola Cruz Lopez is an epidemiologist, scientist and a second year medical student at the Universidad Central del Caribe in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Her research interests are molecular epidemiology, infectious diseases, and public health policy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she designed a local contact tracing system at the municipality level which was adapted as a national strategy to strengthen the Department of Health’s response in Puerto Rico.
Greetchen Díaz-Muñoz is a scientist, educator, communicator and advocate of diversity and inclusion in the careers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), especially girls and women. Throughout her professional career, Greetchen has participated in countless initiatives to promote these disciplines, both in Puerto Rico and in the United States. Her efforts include the creation of projects and collaborations in education, communication, community outreach and science public policy. Greetchen, who was a volunteer at Ciencia Puerto Rico for almost ten years, is currently Director of the Science Education Program and Community Partnerships of the organization. At Ciencia Puerto Rico, she founded the Borinqueña blog, focused on empowering Hispanic and Puerto Rican women and girls in STEM, and the Program “Semillas de Triunfo” (Seeds of Success). “Semillas de Triunfo” is a STEM Ambassadors program — the first of its kind in Puerto Rico — that motivates middle and high school girls to pursue STEM careers, but above all to develop their leadership skills. So far, the program has directly impacted 250 girls and they have reached almost 16,000 people through their STEM ambassador projects. For her achievements and trajectory, Greetchen is currently recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as one of their “IF/THEN” Ambassadors, with the purpose of motivating the next generation of pioneers in STEM.
Yarimar Bonilla is the Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. She is also a Professor in the Department of Africana, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at Hunter College and in the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of Non-Sovereign Futures: French Caribbean Politics in the Wake of Disenchantment (2015) co-editor of Aftershocks of Disaster: Puerto Rico Before and After the Storm. (2019) and a founder of the Puerto Rico Syllabus Project. In addition, Yarimar is a prominent public intellectual and a leading voice in Caribbean and Latin-X politics. She writes a monthly column in the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día titled “En Vaivén,” is a regular contributor to publications such as The Washington Post, The Nation, Jacobin, and The New Yorker, and a frequent guest on National Public Radio and news programs such as Democracy Now! Her current research—for which she was named a 2018-2020 Carnegie Fellow —examines the politics of recovery in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and the forms of political and social trauma that the storm revealed.