Research Day at Brigham and Women’s Hospital: An opportunity to engage the community in research

by Lesley Solomon, director of strategy and innovation at the Biomedical Research Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), we are constantly thinking about new ways to create conversations around our work—what it means to us, our patients and the community, and how we can strive to do better. It is in this spirit that we hosted our first annual Research Day on Thursday, November 15.

The goal of Research Day was to increase awareness of the breadth and depth of the outstanding research that happens at BWH. With more than 1700 attendees consisting of our patients, employees, researchers, clinicians, donors, and industry friends, we qualified the day as an incredible success and , participants agreed, according to the feedback they shared in a  post-event survey.

Highlights included a poster session with more than 150 posters and ten mini-symposia featuring “TED-like” talks and panel sessions on a variety of research topics; a keynote address from Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, on the importance of collaboration in developing innovative solutions to today’s health care challenges; a visit from Joseph Selby, MD, MPH,  executive director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute; and the announcement of Dr. Robert Green as the winner of the $100,000 BRIght Futures Prize – an innovative hospital effort that used crowdsourcing to determine the winner. Of the three finalists, Dr. Green was named the winner after nearly 6,500 people from around the world voted online.

If you we unable to join us for this exciting event, we encourage you to check out this great short video summarizing the day’s activities. Videos from the different symposia on various topics from aging to obesity to cancer are also available on our website.

My sentiments, as I walked from one packed room to another on Research Day, are best echoed by one of our poster presenters who noted:

“Lay people interacting with poster presenters and speakers was my favorite [part of the day]. It snapped me out of my focused little research box and made me look at the problems we are trying to solve in a different light.”

Engaging our community and the public in our research is a priority for us. Our next Research Day will be in November 2013. Stay tuned for details!