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National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Science Policy (OSP) Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee (NExTRAC)

Community Engagement

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The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Science Policy (OSP) works across the biomedical research enterprise to ensure that federal policy evolves in tandem with rapidly advancing science and technology. OSP’s Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee (NExTRAC) Working Group on data science and emerging technology is charged with examining the most pressing research questions that may be advanced by using personal health data.

OSP identified our team to develop and facilitate a series of community conversations across the country to facilitate discussions with diverse community members to explore how they feel about the use of emerging technology and the sharing of personal health data to improve health outcomes and how they consider the benefits and risks. These convenings generated robust discussion and rich insights. Key to these outcomes was the approach the team used which included: an iterative process for developing the content and methodology for engaging community members in these conversations, identifying and partnering with trusted community members in each area as co-hosts to create safe spaces; bringing the NIH and Working Group members to their communities to hear insights first-hand; connecting with participants multiple times prior to each convening to ensure understanding of the project.

In 2023, a Pyxis Partners cohort participated as panelists at a scientific convening to discuss community insights obtained from across the country. The rich insights shared by these communities will be used to help inform deliberations related to the NExTRAC report which will be released in 2023. It also created a sustainable and replicable model for OSP to continue to engage diverse communities in conversations to help inform the NIH Office of Science Policy’s ongoing efforts to ensure public engagement is at the foundation of policy development.

The image above is courtesy of Union Settlement Association-Youth Services
A set of three murals were produced by the youth community of East Harlem's Washington Houses through the Union Settlement Hub Program. Thrive Collective was hired to oversee the project. Youth worked in the Cherry Tree Park near where Lamar lost his life to gun violence in July 2020. The Hub was funded by The Manhattan DAs Office. The complete mural shows Lamar as a child and as a teenager, and Lamar’s father, who also lost his life to gun violence (images pictured on this website).

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