The 2013 World Stem Cell Summit this past week in San Diego was an amazing experience with so many positives to it.
Being the recipient of the National Advocacy Award for stem cells was certainly wonderful and exciting. The fact that Michael J. Fox was a past recipient of this same award blows my mind.
To me this award means that scientists can be advocates too for the field. I love the science deeply, but being an advocate is very important too.
It means that the stem cell field is about more than just research. It’s rightly about people too. Frankly, I think in the academic research field, some folks don’t fully appreciate how important stem cell research is to real, live people around the world. The World Stem Cell Summit really brings that home like no other meeting can.
It means that outreach, education efforts, and engaging the public are valuable uses of our time as scientists too.
I had an idea 4 years ago to be a social media voice for the stem cell field at least in part with this blog. It started small, but now is a very powerful voice for the stem cell field. I take that responsibility seriously. Of course there are other social media advocacy voices for stem cells too and they are awesome!
One lesson for me from all of this is that sometimes you have to go with your crazy idea, take the plunge, work really hard on it, and in so doing you can change the world for the better. Isn’t that what it’s all about?