• Public Engagement with Science

    Highlights of my public engagement work, including COVID-19 efforts and partnerships

    Laboratorio de Ciencia Comunitaria (CienciaCoLab)

    Laboratorio de Ciencia Comunitaria (Community Science Laboratory or CienciaCoLab) is a collaborative space to support communities in Puerto Rico and their leaders in leveraging science to create and implement sustainable projects, systems, and processes, that address their needs and priorities. Currently in its pilot phase, CienciaCoLab consists of a series of in-person and virtual workshops, peer learning and discussion sessions, case studies, and other resources in three core areas: science as a community tool, civic design, and sustainable project development and management. I am one of the co-leads and founders of CienciaCoLab.

    A group of participants and staff of CienciaCoLab smile for the camera while making the I love you sign in ASL
    A deck of project design cards from CienciaCoLab sits at a table

    Aquí Nos Cuidamos

    Aquí Nos Cuidamos (which translates to "here, we take care of each other"), is an award-winning community-centered project to promote COVID-19 prevention and mental health amongst marginalized communities in Puerto Rico through culturally relevant multimedia education and public engagement. Aquí Nos Cuidamos was named the 2021 Breakthrough of the Year in Science Engagement at Falling Walls. I am director and founder of Aquí Nos Cuidamos.

    A holiday vignette featuring two musicians playing the plenero hand drums in the country side. A man and a woman, they are wearing masks to prevent COVID.
    Different groups of people spending time together by the bbq, sitting around a table, and a gazebo at the beach, while wearing face masks and keeping their physical distance.
    Different people young and old wearing masks. Some are holding a vaccine card, others show off the band-aid on the arm where they just got vaccinated, others are actively getting the COVID-19 shot.
    A word cloud with mental-health related phrases in Spanish like: seek help, relax and breathe, you are not alone, mental peace, etc.

    Posters from Aquí Nos Cuidamos' campaigns (top to bottom, left to right): "Haz un bembé digital" (promoting strategies to avoid COVID-19 during the holidays), "Distancia física, no social" (promoting prevention and explaining COVID-19 science), "Vacúnate, por ti y por mí" (encouraging vaccination and answering vaccine FAQs) and "Salud mental es plenitud" (promoting mental health and self-care). Aquí Nos Cuidamos included more than 200 multimedia assets like images, posters, infographics, audios, and videos in Spanish and sign language (see below).

    Sample public service announcements from Aquí Nos Cuidamos about the importance of preventing infections to avoid new variants of the coronavirus (left) and with a breathing exercise for self-care).



    A rumor tracking program led by Mercy Corps Puerto Rico in partnership with CienciaPR, Puerto Rico Public Health Trust (PRPHT), Ciencia en Tus Manos and Internews. The project monitored social media between March and June 2021, and worked collaboratively with 14 community leaders across Puerto Rico to collect rumors about COVID-19 and vaccines, and create and provide science- and needs-based information in real time to address them. I was CienciaPR's lead for the project, serving as scientific and science communication advisor. Read more about our approaches and results HERE.

    A patient and a doctor chat. The text in Spanish reads: You have probably heard or read about someone who has gotten COVID-19 after being vaccinated, why does that happen?
    Why should we keep practicing preventive measures even after getting vaccinated for COVID?
    How a new vaccine is developed, approved and monitored

    Sample content from "Infórmate, protégete, vacúnate" (from left to right) explaining why vaccinated people can still get COVID-19, why it's important to keep up other preventive measures after getting vaccinated, and how a vaccine is developed and approved.


    Public service campaign created by Puerto Rico Public Health Trust (PRPHT), Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), and Mercy Corps Puerto Rico in the fall 2020 to encourage young adults between 20-39 years of age (who have had the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Puerto Rico) to adopt behaviors to minimize their risk of infection. The campaign included social media content, public service announcements, and conversations between scientists and influencers about COVID-19 prevention. I was CienciaPR's lead for the campaign. Find all the content for "Cuídate, Cuídame" HERE.

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