What does it mean to be a leader in science, and how can we cultivate and inspire leadership in clinical and research scholars? These were some of the questions that Linda Fried, dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, addressed in her talk about leadership and communication in science and health.

The talk took place on January 14 on the NIH main campus in Bethesda, marking the beginning of the 2016 Lasker Lessons in Leadership program. The lectures are developed in collaboration with the International Biomedical Research Alliance and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program.

Linda Fried introduced her thesis on what leadership in science and medicine entails by pointing out that “leadership has many flavors; it’s not just about being a dean or a department chair.” She then added that “leadership is developed at every single stage of what you do.”

One key aspect of scientific leadership, Fried asserted, is the ability to communicate new knowledge and discovery in science and medicine: “It only ultimately matters if you can tell others what you’ve learned through your research, if you can change the way others think, and if you can change how we use that knowledge. That is when science becomes leadership through communication.”

The morning talk was followed by a panel discussion during which students asked questions about communicating science to the public, translating complex scientific facts into an effective and clear message, and communicating research advances to people who are skeptical about the merits of science. In addition to Linda Fried, participants in the panel included Michele Hogan, Tom Wynn, and Linda Huynh. See Mentor Panel Bios.

In the afternoon, Linda Fried, who is a leader in the fields of epidemiology and geriatrics, gave a scientific talk titled “The Science of Frailty: Towards Understanding Loss of Resilience with Aging.”

The next Lasker Lessons in Leadership lecture will be given by Lasker Juror Craig Thompson, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The event will take place on March 31, 2016, on the NIH main campus.