Innovative Ways to Highlight Science and Policy Work, with Dr. Jeffrey Toney – Ep #9

When was the last time a science and policy article went viral? If you are struggling to think of one, you aren’t alone. With the help of skilled professionals like Dr. Jeffrey Toney, the tide might be changing. 

Dr. Jeffrey Toney is an educator and a scientist whose career has spanned academia and the pharmaceutical industry. He serves as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Kean University in Union, Toms River, and Manahawkin, New Jersey, as well as Wenzhou, China. Kean University is focused on access and opportunity. His news media publications include Huffington PostThe New York Times, and The Hill. He also has published more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications and holds six US patents.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks

  • [1:10] Mark introduces his guest, Dr. Jeff Toney.
  • [3:15] Jeff opens up about the intersection of science and his various interests.
  • [5:00] How did Jeff get involved with teaching at Montclair State University?
  • [7:30] Why scientists need to develop their communication skills.
  • [10:00] Jeff talks about how he connected Ariana Grande’s dog to human rights.
  • [11:30] How did Jeff get involved with public policy issues?
  • [14:30] Should scientists stay out of politics?
  • [16:20] The best public policy is driven by data.
  • [18:00] Jeff’s advice for scientists who want to get published.
  • [22:30] How did Jeff get involved with supporting entrepreneurial efforts in social justice?

Connect with Dr. Jeff Toney

Resources & People Mentioned

Making science and policy work relevant in everyday life

Which classes stood out to you the most when you were in high school? Did you look forward to gym class where you could show off your physical prowess? Or did you enjoy that class with the teacher who made even the dullest subject roar to life with relevance? It’s no secret that a vast chasm separates science and policy work from the popular consciousness. We need educators, scientists, and policymakers who can bridge the divide and help make these vital topics engaging for the average person. 

Surveying this divide, Dr. Jeffrey Toney continually looks for ways to engage his students and help bridge the gap. With the understanding that the average scientist struggles in the area of communication, Dr. Toney makes it a point to mentor his students and help them overcome this significant barrier. Seeking to connect his passion for human rights advocacy with popular culture, Dr. Toney wrote an article for Huffington Post that received a lot of positive attention. Check out the link to his article located in the resources section at the end of this post.

The best public policy is driven by data

With the recent mid-term elections, science and policy decisions have been thrust into the headlines once again. As the debates rage on at Capitol Hill, the question remains, what is the best way to develop public policy? Dr. Toney states that the best approach to public policy is to focus on data. Scientists are trained as Dr. Toney puts it, “to be agnostic about outcomes.” They don’t chase after something that they already think is true; they follow the data to establish new truth. 

While Dr. Toney doesn’t advocate for a partisan approach, he sees the value of bringing scientific expertise to bear on policy decisions. Dr. Toney’s engagement in policy work isn’t just theory; he’s actively engaged in important advocacy work on multiple fronts. From his work addressing human rights issues to serving on the advisory board of SurgiBox, it is clear that Dr. Toney doesn’t just talk about advocacy work, he’s actively engaged in it. 

Learn more about Dr. Jeffrey Toney’s fascinating perspective by listening to this engaging episode of When Science Speaks.

Connect With Mark and When Science Speaks

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