Science and health innovation do not exist in a vacuum. The cultural, social and political climate can indeed have a profound effect on funding priorities, public acceptance of new technologies and mandates, and the larger questions around individualism versus the greater good. In an open society where a marketplace of ideas and academic freedom reign, we need to be collectively vigilant that good science, in the service of humanity, can thrive. To that end, what is the role of policy leaders to unabashedly address anti-science factions of society? How can innovation flourish when the public does not always receive credible messages from the media or other pop culture “opinion leaders?” What tactics will embolden innovators so that new solutions can address the challenges of tomorrow?
There is perhaps no topic more emblematic of these considerations than the world of vaccines. In a unique and dynamic salon-style event, Scientific American Custom Media, in partnership with Immunomic Therapeutics Inc., will explore this tricky landscape and the future of vaccine technology in light of some of the most pressing and significant social, political and cultural challenges. Leaders from science, policy, the media and other spheres will convene tomorrow, June 13, to explore the multi-faceted components of this critical conversation. Proceedings will be shaped into a content piece debuting at the end of 2017 on ScientificAmerican.com.