ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

Posts Tagged: Lorrene Ritchie

UC Research to Policy Conference puts science into action

Jason Delborne described the roles of a scientist in policy as outlined in Roger A. Pielke, Jr.'s book "The Honest Broker": pure scientist, issue advocate, science arbiter and honest broker.
A diverse group of UC scientists working on agricultural, natural resources and food issues came together at the First Research to Policy Conference to explore how to use research to effectively engage in public policy. The event, hosted by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was held on the UC Davis campus on Oct. 12-13.

“We focused on fostering a good dialogue and facilitating co-learning among attendees,” said event co-chair Leslie Roche, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist in rangeland management. “We hosted university faculty, statewide CE specialists and academics, and county-based CE advisors—as well as local policymakers and leaders from non-governmental organizations and statewide programs.”

UC researchers who have successfully engaged in the public policy arena provided numerous models of linking research and policy. There were five key take-aways for scientists:

-          Honest broker role – Present policymakers with various policy options, based on sound research. Have a clear understanding of the science behind your messaging. Use qualitative data to tell the story of the hard quantitative data.

-          Active engagement – Be part of informational and oversight hearings. Empower communities to take action and foster community engagement.

-          Build coalitions – Collaboration is imperative. Develop unexpected allies and foster long-term relationships, realizing it may take some time to bear fruit.

-          Disseminate information – Share your data in user-friendly formats. Target local community, Legislature and state agencies to inform policies. Get your science into trainings and continuing education programs. Leverage your coalition to expand the circulation of your research results.

-          Target messages – Develop a strong, concise message to deliver your research. Use an emotional connection – “Old-growth oak woodlands” versus “oak woodland.”

Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted the multiple levels of engagement for researchers in the policy arena, with different roles matching different needs – some take a center stage, while others play imperative behind-the-scenes roles.

Keynote speaker Jason Delborne, associate professor of science, policy and society at North Carolina State University, encouraged engaging the public. “Science is a social process,” he said, noting that community and public engagement is often key to successfully applying research to policy. Delborne also touched on the tension between expertise and democracy, commenting that we can't always resolve it and often we have to learn to live with this tension.

From left, Mindy Romero, Lorrene Ritchie, Thomas Harter, David Lewis and Yana Valachovic, shared what they have learned from engaging in policy.

A diverse set of researchers shared their perspectives from experiences in engaging in policy. The panel included Thomas Harter, Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair in Water Management and Policy and UCCE specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis; Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute; Mindy Romero, founder and director of California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis Center for Regional Change; and Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor and county director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. They discussed the importance of building strong science-based programs, actively engaging local communities and building coalitions of support.

From left, Amrith Gunasekara, Tina Cannon Leahy, Anne Megaro, Rebecca Newhouse and Juliet Sims described how they use research to shape policy.

Guests from both government and non-government organizations who use research to shape policy shared their perspectives on translating science to decision-making.

“Science is the foundation for developing programs,” said Amrith Gunasekara, science advisor for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Tina Cannon Leahy, attorney with the State Water Resources Control Board, noted that policymakers and decision-makers are often looking for a clear, “black-and-white” answer, while for scientists, there is “no answer,” but rather information.

Anne Megaro, consultant to the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Rebecca Newhouse, consultant to the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, both emphasized the importance of making sure science is accessible and digestible.

Juliet Sims of the Prevention Institute explained how her organization uses both published scholarly literature and community stories to effectively inform its advocacy platform.

Keynote speaker Rachel Morello-Frosch, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, introduced the concept of moving from “translational research” to “transformational research,” a shift that requires deep community engagement in meaningful ways to effect policy change.

During a breakout session, participants discuss current research that has policy implications.

In the afternoon, four breakout sessions were offered: “Policy structures and opportunities for engagement” with Robert Waste, “Relational approaches to science communication and engagement” with Faith Kearns, “Putting it into practice–UC ANR case studies” with Dave Campbell, Clare Gupta and Lucas Frerichs, and “Navigating policy engagement: Education vs advocacy,” with Adrian Lopez and Kit Batten. These training modules helped participants build technical skills and analytical frameworks for successful policy engagement.

The Research to Policy Conference was a forum to exchange ideas and share perspectives, continuing to bridge the gap between science and policy communities. It challenged attendees to be open to new ways of thinking, shared innovative outreach methods and showcased how research can have an impact in the policy arena.

“The event brought cross-fertilization and co-learning between disciplines – nutrition, forest management, water quality – and there were common themes that resonated for all participants,” said event co-chair Gupta, assistant UCCE specialist in public policy and translational research.

VP Glenda Humiston wrapped up the policy conference by saying, "Good science is vital for good policy. It's great to see UC folks enhancing these skills to bring science together with policy."

For more information on applying research to policy, contact Frerichs, UC ANR government and community relations manager, at (530) 750-1218 or lfrerichs@ucanr.edu, or Research to Policy Program Team contacts Gupta at cgupta@ucdavis.edu and Roche at lmroche@ucdavis.edu

UC students assist ANR’s Global Food Initiative efforts

Gemma DiMatteo
For the 2016-17 year, ANR has selected five UC students as Global Food Initiative fellows: UC Berkeley graduate students Gemma DiMatteo, Reid Johnsen, Alana Siegner and Laura Ward and UC Davis graduate student Mingxuan (Elaine) Liu. The GFI fellows will work with ANR academics and staff to address the issue of how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach 8 billion by 2025.

DiMatteo, a UC Berkeley graduate student in the School of Public Health, is working closely with Lorrene Ritchie, Nutrition Policy Institute director. DiMatteo will help analyze data on the foods provided to young children in early care and education settings to help inform policies related to healthful eating in this age group. She will also work on the evaluation of newly developed nutrition standards being piloted in family child care homes.

Elaine Liu
Liu, a UC Davis graduate student in communications, is working with ANR's Strategic Communications unit to produce materials for nutrition outreach. For one project, she will work with Marisa Neelon, UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Contra Costa County, to develop a series of “Money Talks” nutrition-education fact sheets for teachers.

Reid Johnsen
UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidates Johnsen and Ward and UC Berkeley graduate student Siegner, are participating in the Graduate Students in Extension pilot program, sponsored by UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources and ANR. For students interested in careers in Cooperative Extension, they will organize seminars, workshops and training opportunities to improve graduate student preparedness for extension, outreach and applied research. The fellows will conduct an assessment to document best practices and lessons learned from the GSE program, which is in the last year of its three-year pilot. To share the outcomes and accomplishments of the GSE program, they will also develop a publication, policy recommendations and coordinate a complementary seminar.

Alana Siegner
The class – the third since UC President Janet Napolitano launched the Global Food Initiative Student Fellowship Program – has participants from all 10 UC campuses plus Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and ANR.

Laura Ward
In addition to their individual projects, the students are invited to participate in systemwide activities designed to enhance their leadership skills and enrich their understanding of the food system in California. In January, UCOP will provide leadership training for the GFI fellows. In April, the group will take a field trip to the Central Valley to learn about UC Cooperative Extension projects.

For more information about the UC Global Food Initiative student fellows, read the article at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/news/student-fellows-help-shape-future-food.

UC World Food Day Video Challenge

To raise awareness of the depth and breadth of food-related research and outreach being performed across the UC system, the Nutrition Policy Institute partnered with the World Food Institute at UC Davis to sponsor the UC World Food Day Video Challenge. Students from all UC campuses were invited to submit videos up to three minutes long that featured UC research. UC Davis students Carlos Orozco-Gonzalez and Umayr Sufi won with a video about advancing the science behind drying and storing food to improve food safety in developing countries.

“We are wasting a lot of food, regardless of where we are in the world,” said Irwin Donis-Gonzalez, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis, who is featured in the video. “With Carlos and Umayr, we are combining biological and engineering sensing concepts that can be applied to solving world issues.”

The winning team received $1,000 and a trip to attend the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in Des Moines.

To view the top five videos, visit http://worldfoodcenter.ucdavis.edu/nutrition/uc-davis-teams-awarded-top-prizes.html.

Umayr Sufi, Irwin Donis-Gonzalez and Carlos Orozco-Gonzalez. Photo by Karin Higgins/UC Davis

Higher education collaborates to fight student food insecurity

Representatives of the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems met in Fresno on Sept. 6 to discuss food access and basic needs security for students.

As part of UC's Global Food Initiative, the Nutrition Policy Institute recently published a report based on a survey of food security among UC students at all 10 campuses. The “Student Food Access and Security Study” includes the survey results and UC's plans for addressing food security issues. CSU is currently conducting a systemwide survey of its student population and CCC is planning to conduct a survey of its students. UC was represented by Ruben Canedo of UC Berkeley, Tim Galarneu of UC Santa Cruz, and NPI's Ritchie and Suzanna Martinez.

After CSU and CCC complete their surveys, the group will meet again in December to discuss best practices to ensure food security in California public higher education.

ANR cohosts food drive

In recognition of World Food Day, National Food Dayand the UC Global Food Initiative, ANR, UCOP Staff Assembly and UCOP Professional Community have partnered with the Alameda County Community Food Bank to help feed the hungry. From Oct. 17 to 31, we are collecting food items in bins located near the elevators on each floor of UCOP's Franklin building, and on UCOP floors at the Kaiser, Broadway and 20th St. buildings in Oakland.

There are two ways you can participate:

  • Donate non-perishable food items to the bin located near the elevators on the 10th floor of the Franklin building
  • Donate online via the ACCFB Virtual Food Drive website set up for UCOP at
    www.vfd-accfb.orgSelect “UCOP” in the dropdown menu on the right side of the page and choose "10th floor Franklin building.

Donations will be collected and counted at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31. The floor that collects the most donations will win a $100 gift basket from the Oakland Farmers Market.

For more information, contact Suzanna Martinez, Nutrition Policy Institute, at suzanna.martinez@ucop.edu

 
E-mail
 
Webmaster Email: jewarnert@ucanr.edu