Dr. Barbara Gastel, professor in the Veterinary Integrative Biosciences department at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award.
Instituted by the international research society Sigma Xi, the award is named after John P. McGovern (1921-2007), a distinguished American physician, and recognizes individuals who are prominent spokespersons for the public understanding and appreciation of science.
Past winners include Condoleezza Rice (former United States Secretary of State) and Norman E. Borlaug (father of the Green Revolution).
Gastel will receive the award at the 2010 Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and International Research Conference to be held next November in Raleigh, North Carolina. The award includes an honorarium of $5000, the McGovern Medal, a Certificate of Recognition and the opportunity to deliver the John P. McGovern Science and Society Lecture, the highlight of Sigma Xi’s annual meetings.
“It’s exciting to be recognized for contributions to this field,” said Gastel, who was also nominated for the award last year.
Long-standing editor of Science Editor, the journal of the Council of Science Editors (CSE); organizer of workshops on scientific writing for international researchers; and author of books and journal articles on science writing, teaching and editing-Gastel has had a rich and varied career, which began with degrees in medicine and public health from Johns Hopkins University and the decision in her final year of medical school to pursue medical communication.
In addition to the award presented by the Southwest chapter of the American Medical Writer’s Association (AMWA) in 2006 for excellence in medical communication (also named after John P. McGovern), Gastel has received AMWA’s Harold Swanberg Distinguished Service Award for extensive contributions to the field of medical writing and CSE’s Distinguished Service Award. She has also been named Honored Editor in the Life Sciences by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.
Gastel has also worked actively to promote science communication abroad. For the 12 years of its existence, she served as the US coordinator for the China Medical Board Program in Biomedical Writing and Editing, based in China. The program aimed to train editors in leading Asian medical schools and to help Asian biomedical scientists publish their work in English-language international journals. She also served as visiting professor of technical communication for two years at Beijing Medical University (now Peking University Health Science Center), Beijing, China. She has also led delegations of medical writers to Russia and Estonia and to China and Mongolia as part of the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program.
Gastel’ s latest effort to improve biomedical communication abroad is her involvement in AuthorAID-an international endeavor to help researchers in developing countries publish their research in scientific journals, in part by pairing them with “mentors” with substantial experience writing or editing scientific papers. The most extensive AuthorAID project is based at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), a UK charity, and Gastel serves as the Knowledge Community Editor for the project. Her main responsibilities in this role are to provide weekly blog postings, create and compile web resources for authors and others and conduct workshops on research writing about three times a year in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Angela G. Clendenin
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