UChicago Launches New Master’s in Biomedical Sciences with CTSA-led Science Communication Track

UChicago Launches New Master’s in Biomedical Sciences with CTSA-led Science Communication Track

UChicago Launches New Master’s in Biomedical Sciences with CTSA-led Science Communication Track

Course on Battling Misinformation Makes Media Headlines

Students from around the world have the opportunity to both dive into biomedicine and build science communication skills through a new one-year Master’s program at The University of Chicago.
The Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MBS) is now accepting applications for its first class that will kick off in Fall 2023. The new degree offering is a collaborative effort between the Office of Master’s Education and several UChicago members of the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM) Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program hub, and features opportunities to choose concentrations in biomedical data science, health systems science, and science communication.
“The ITM is thrilled to champion this with our UChicago partners,” said Julian Solway, MD, Founding Director of the ITM and Dean for Translational Medicine at UChicago. “We’ve seen the power of combining training in science and communication and how it helps our faculty and trainees connect with the community, and we’re excited to help extend this education along a bigger stretch of the translational science spectrum.”
The ITM is a partnership between the University of Chicago and Rush in collaboration with Advocate Aurora Health, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, and NorthShore University HealthSystem. ITM-UChicago members who created the new BMS program include Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP, Dean for Medical Education at the Pritzker School of Medicine; Valerie Press, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics; Sara Serritella, ITM Director of Communications and UChicago Lecturer, and Samuel Volchenboum, MD, PhD, Dean for Master’s Education, ITM Associate Director, and Associate Chief Research Informatics Officer.
“This program gives students the unique opportunity to experience many facets of biomedical science as well as the communications tools necessary for their knowledge to impact individual people, health systems, and the world at large,” said Arora, Founding Director of BMS.
UChicago Launches New Master’s in Biomedical Sciences with CTSA-led Science Communication Track
An accelerated science communication course on battling misinformation taught by Arora and Serritella recently made newspaper, television, and radio headlines. The course gave professionals across medicine, pharmacy, and nursing skills to identify and address the wave of misinformation they said they’re seeing across health care.
“This course really provided medical professionals like myself with the ability to become trusted messengers, to understand what misinformation is, how it spreads and turning social media on its head so that we as clinicians can advocate for getting the correct information out to the public and set some rumors straight,” said course alumna Michal Germain, RN, during an interview with Chicago’s NPR station.
The course on harnessing the power of storytelling, infographics, and social media to fight misinformation is just one of the science communications courses available to students in the new Master’s program. It comes at a time when the U.S. Surgeon General has deemed misinformation a threat to public health. And with almost 90 percent of adults lacking the health literacy they need to navigate the healthcare system, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Serritella said science communications skills are critical to improving people’s health and creating public policies that work.
“You can’t have health equity without health literacy, and students here can learn and experience biomedical science as well as how to engage the public and communicate clearly to a variety of communities at different reading levels,” said Serritella, Faculty Leader of the BMS Science Communication Concentration.
The BMS program is designed to give students from a variety of backgrounds powerful experiences across basic lab, clinical, biomedical data, health systems, and communication science.
“This program allows everyone to explore biomedicine and the ways it can open doors into several booming career paths,” said Volchenboum, Dean for Master’s Education. “While you do need to be a strong applicant, you do not have to have majored in science to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Register here to meet the faculty and join a dynamic online Q&A session from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Nov. 7. Early applicants who submit by Jan. 15 will benefit from waived application fees. For admission inquiries, contact the Office of Master’s Education at bsd-masters@uchicago.edu.

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