July 31, 2023

Warriors in the Community, episode 16: Science Policy Network-Detroit

WWJ Newsradio 950.
Warriors in the Community is a radio segment that features short, insightful interviews with key figures from Wayne State University about the many ways in which the university and its programs make a positive impact on the metro area and on the lives of Detroiters.
In episode 16, we speak with Hilary Marusak, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the Wayne State School of Medicine, about student group Science Policy Network-Detroit. Known as SciPol-Detroit, the organization aims to advocate for science and evidence-based policies, provide science communication, advocacy, and career development opportunities, encourage community efficacy. Sci-Pol Detroit also seeks to bridge the gap between scientists, lawmakers, and the lay public.


Intro: This is “Warriors in the Community” brought to you by Wayne State University, and now to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our community, here is Darrell Dawsey.

Darrell Dawsey: Today I'm with Hilary Marusak Ph.D. She's an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

And more importantly, pertinent to this conversation. She's the faculty advisor for the Science Policy Network-Detroit. Tell us a little bit about SciPol-Detroit, as you call it, and why you do the work that you do.

Hilary Marusak: So I think like many scientists and many people, we were frustrated by the lack of science making its way into policy as well as, you know, the general public's conceptions.

Dr. Hilary Marusak, Wayne State University.
Dr. Hilary Marusak is one of the founders and the faculty advisor for Wayne State student-led group, Science Policy Network-Detroit.

I got together with a group of really motivated students to found SciPol-Detroit, which is a student led organization here at Wayne State University that's dedicated to improving science communications, talking with less jargon, making sure that the general public understands what we're doing, as well as advocating for science-based policies as it pertains to the students and their experience.

Darrell Dawsey: You know, what is the sort of aim for the program? What is it that you're hoping to teach the students as it pertains to crafting policy?

Hilary Marusak: We decided to tackle issues that are most relevant to Detroiters. And one of the issues that kept coming up was environmental justice. So we decided to tackle things like lead exposure, air pollution, gun violence, community violence and things like that.

So we want to equip students with the tools to be able to better communicate their science as well as advocate for science-based policies on federal, local and state levels. 

Darrell Dawsey: Is there a story that sort of gives us a sense of the impact that the program is making on the students or in the community?

Hilary Marusak: Our first trip to Capitol Hill last year was wildly successful. I think our students being able to talk with lawmakers directly and they actually led conversations with lawmakers and they were able to connect with lawmakers on really an emotional level in addition to a science level and speaking data.

Darrell Dawsey: Thank you so much for joining us.

Hilary Marusak: Thank you so much.

Extro: This has been “Warriors in the Community.” For more Wayne State News, please visit us online at today.wayne.edu/wwj and join us here next Monday at the same time for more warriors in the community.

Faculty spotlight


Darrell Dawsey
Phone: 313-577-1204
Email: Darrell.Dawsey@wayne.edu

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