Advocacy Training Program
The ASBMB Advocacy Training program is a three-month externship (May through August) that provides hands-on science policy and advocacy training for ASBMB members. ATP delegates learn about science advocacy, the role of Congress and policymakers in funding science, and how to effectively advocate. With support from ASBMB public affairs staff, delegate will develop and execute their own independent advocacy activity to address an issue affecting the research enterprise and/or their communities.
Participants (called delegates) gain the necessary skills to create change and be a leader for those seeking to do the same. They learn alongside a cohort of their peers who are dedicated to doing the same type of work and access unique networking opportunities. They also learn the importance of policy writing and how to communicate scientific issues to congressional staffers and other diverse audiences.
Goal of the ATP
The ATP aims to (1) provide professional development for our members (2) expand BMB advocacy efforts and (3) increase the connection points between ASBMB members and the public affairs department to spur new advocacy efforts that are relevant to members.
What to expect as an ATP delegate
The program requires about 10 to 12 hours a month for coursework, discussions and activities.
Each delegate attends weekly virtual training sessions (1.5 hours long each), completes applied learning assignments and develops their independent advocacy activity. The syllabus includes the following sessions:
Section One: Science policy, advocacy and the federal government
- Session 1 — What is science policy?
- Session 2 — The executive branch and federal agencies.
- Session 3 — Congressional advocacy, agency authorization and the budget process.
- Session 4 — State and local advocacy and engaging community stakeholders.
Section Two: Science policy strategy
- Session 5 — Science policy writing
- Session 6 — Diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in advocacy
- Session 7 — Constructing your advocacy message: Elevator pitches
- Session 8 — Elevator pitch practice
Section Three: Advocating before, during and after
- Session 9 — Exploring science policy careers
- Session 10 — ATP virtual Hill Day: Preparation
- Session 11 — ATP virtual Hill Day: Practice
- Session 12 — ATP virtual Hill Day
What ATP delegates gain
ATP delegates gain not only advocacy skills but also produce their own policy materials and access unique opportunities. Each delegate:
- Conducts an advocacy activity that matches their interests.
- Speaks with congressional policymakers about relevant science policy topics
- Writes a policy op-ed or policy brief.
- Attends an exclusive career panel of science policy professionals.
- Gets a chance to be invited to the ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee as a nonvoting member (two-year term).
- Gets the opportunity to present advocacy activities at the next ASBMB annual meeting, Discover BMB.
Any questions can be directed to email@example.com.
Cohort 4 delegates
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
“I am passionate about advocating for diversity in science, highlighting difficulties that international scholars face. As a part of ASBMB ATP, I hope to gain insights into how to be a better advocate for my community and their inclusion in STEM."
M. Cortez Bowlin
University of Alabama at Birmingham
“Coming from a rural community, I have personal experience in dealing with the distrust and doubt in science that results from poor communication, jargon-rich press releases and culturally tone-deaf statements often associated with 'Big Science.' I look forward to honing my advocacy skills and developing successful strategies for communicating between policymakers and stakeholders.”
University of Delaware
“Through the ATP, I hope to improve my legislative, formal writing skills and policy vocabulary.”
“Through the ATP, I hope to learn how to advocate for scientists from diverse backgrounds and promote increasing accessibility to a graduate education.”
Loma Linda University
“I am excited to learn how to better advocate for increased and enhanced support, outreach and funding for the physician-scientist pathway, one which is known for its leakiness and perceived difficulty.”
“I hope to become a scientist that breaks free from the ivory tower stereotype and one day hold a platform contributing to both biomedical research advancement and scientific policy reform.”
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
“I’m passionate about promoting more equitable healthcare access and improving science education and research in developing countries, including my home country, Vietnam.”
University of Utah
“My passion for advocacy work was realized through involvement in a local and state issue concerning invasive development in Utah’s mountains. I look forward to blending my passions for science and political action in my future career.”
“I am excited to participate in the ATP program because it will allow me to further serve as a role model to my daughter by displaying the importance of advocacy, outreach and service. It’s my goal to also demonstrate that we all have the potential to have an impact on the world.”
U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense
“Throughout my career, I have gained insight into systemic hurdles in making a career out of basic science research. Through the ATP, I wish to learn how to bring about sustainable change in that system by advocating for more diverse perspectives and increased technical expertise at the policy-making level.”
ASBMB delegates leave their mark on policymaking
Advocacy Training Program participants use their new skills to improve their institutional environments, create new programs, draft policy recommendations, perform targeted outreach and more.
What we learned in the ATP
Seven members of the first group to complete the ASBMB’s Advocacy Training Program describe their experiences and share what they learned.
Best practices for sharing your stories with the policymakers whose decisions affect your work.
Your voice does matter
Even in these deeply partisan times, grassroots advocacy is effective. As a subject matter expert, you can educate your legislator about the value of science.