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Former Science and Technology Fellows are using their experience to advise the MOST Policy Fellows program

Published on March 19, 2020

Drs. Casey Canfield and Beth Prusaczyk, former science and technology fellows in Washington, DC, are sharing their experiences and guiding the MOST Policy Fellows program by serving on our advisory board. 

“Former fellows bring a wealth of information to the advisory board since they have experienced a science policy fellowship first hand,” said Rachel Owen, MOST Policy Initiative’s Director. 

Dr. Canfield is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. She has a doctorate in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University. After completing her Ph.D., she spent a year and a half as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. In that role, she was involved in managing programs and designing future funding solicitations.

She said her experience as a science and tech policy fellow gave her a broad perspective on the importance of integrating technical knowledge in the policy-making process. “I’m excited for Missouri to benefit from Ph.D. level expertise in supporting legislation on science and technology,” she said. “Being a MOST Policy Fellow is an opportunity for PhDs to learn how laws and policies are made. You can make a difference.” 

Dr. Canfield designs, tests, and models human-centered approaches for big data, artificial intelligence, and automation to better understand uncertainty and risk. By combining analytical frameworks with user-friendly decision tools, she aims to improve system outcomes in complex infrastructure systems, such as energy, healthcare, and broadband. Broadly, she aims to increase data-driven decision-making at both individual and organizational levels.

Dr. Prusaczyk is an instructor at the Institute for Informatics and in General Medical Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She has a doctorate in social work from Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, completing her postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. During her postdoctoral training, she spent a year as a Health and Aging Policy Fellow in the Senate Special Committee on Aging for Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA).

“Scientists are trained to communicate to other scientists, but if we want to see the real-world impacted by our science then we have to be able to communicate with policymakers and help bridge the science-to-policy gap,” she said. “There is no better way to do this than to be embedded with policymakers and serve as that connector.”

The MOST policy fellowships offer researchers the unique opportunity to see how policy is made from the inside and bring their scientific expertise to the ones who can turn it into action, Beth said. “The skills policy fellows will learn will serve them well in whatever type of position they pursue after they finish the program, whether that is academic, industry, or non-profit.”

Her research interests include broadly what are the strategies to improve the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based healthcare practices for older adults both to policymakers and healthcare providers. 

MOST Policy Institute is currently accepting fellows applications. The deadline is March 25, 2020. More information can be found at https://mostpolicyinitiative.org/fellows.

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