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Medical Evidence, Fall 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013 - Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Application deadline: September 13, 2013.

We will begin accepting applications on Monday, August 12. Visit to apply to this workshop.

One of the most difficult challenges facing journalists is the uncertainty of evidence in science, medicine, energy and environmental studies. Studies are hard to decipher, and sometimes appear to reach contradictory conclusions. But the public’s interest in health and science news, and the need for reliable information, is growing. To help journalists make sense of all this, we offer an intensive course on how to evaluate scientific and medical evidence.

The boot camp begins with an overview of clinical and epidemiological research methods, giving journalists the tools to understand and evaluate medical studies. Through lectures and discussions, we’ll look at science’s ways of studying different phenomena, from diseases to oil spills, from DNA to human migration. We’ll offer practical methods for getting the numbers in the news right.

We’ll explore how new drugs are tested, and look at how the FDA, the NIH and other agencies evaluate treatments, old and new. We’ll look at the rise of “evidence-based medicine” and why expensive care may not be good care. (Don’t be surprised to learn that a lot of what doctors do has little or no evidence to prove that it works.)

We select 10- 12 journalists to participate. If selected, we will reimburse you up to $750 of your travel expenses to Cambridge and provide lodging for two nights. We do not reimburse expenses for meals as we provide most during the boot camp.  (Travel reimbursement is by check in U.S. dollars only. Electronic transfers are not available. Reimbursement typically arrives 4 to 6 weeks after travel concludes.)

Sessions are held on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA. Participants are required to attend all sessions.