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McNair Scholar 2015Dave A. Sukharan

Dave A. Sukharan is a junior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in microbiology with a minor in public health. From the South American country of Guyana, he is interested in how indigenous or minority populations interact with the health system.

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Find the work in this world that only you can do. It took me two years of college to find my passion for communities, culture and communication. I will continue to claw my way to a doctorate in public health and make sure to look back to help others as others have helped me.

Research project

University Research Centers Struggle to Disseminate Findings: Social Media as a Promising New Pathway

Abstract: Recent research shows that less than half of healthcare research carried out for practice is ever implemented (Glasgow and Emmons, 2007). In fact, this gap between research and implementation is widespread: the Knowledge Gap. Social media is new, powerful and inexpensive communication: a dream of an opportunity for public relations practitioners. However, barriers exist. Organizations do not value, know how to measure or understand the field of social media. Here, the literature of strategic public relations and non-profit public relations strategies is combined with literature on science communication. The lessons are applied to the Center for Urban Regional Affairs (CURA) and its fledging Facebook page. Promising initial findings show that a social media campaign designed using literature can greatly increase engagement in research dissemination by the public. There is a focus on arming practitioners in other research centers or non-profits with the best articles and information to amplify their social media voice. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Sara Axtell holds her doctorate in the Psychology of Learning which she received from the University of Minnesota. Currently, however, she uses her skills in learning, ways of knowledge and communication as the Community-Campus Health Liaison of the university. Cultural and community knowledge is often misunderstood or neglected in the march of science and progress. Axtell’s work focuses on consolidating the knowledge of the university and community to create powerful, healthy collaborations. Axtell’s projects include the Community School Connections Project, the Healing Roots community, and extensive work and involvement in the Cultural Wellness Center in Minneapolis.