OK so this is a shameless plug for the University of Michigan Risk Science Center Unplugged series of discussions (if you’ll forgive the pun) – and specifically the live/webcast event we’re having on the health impacts of the Gulf Oil Spill on April 14.

But I actually think the series is good enough for a bit of a plug here – not that I’m bias!

Fist a confession though: I get really bored with hour-long PowerPoint presentations and talking head monologues (sometimes, even when I’m the speaker!).  More significantly, I think there are better ways of exploring contemporary issues than just watching a series of slides and listening to someone drone on.  So when we were thinking about a format for the Risk Science Center to start tackling knotty human health risk-related issues, we tried to come up with something a little different.  The thought process went something like this:

  • Lets ditch slides, because they’re tedious.
  • And while we’re at it, let’s avoid long expositions from dull speakers.
  • Rather, why don’t we get a bunch of experts from different perspectives to discuss issues candidly…
  • …in a way that’s engaging to a wide range of people…
  • …with the opportunity for the audience to throw their questions into the mix…
  • …and with a strong moderator to keep things on track and stop them getting boring.
  • And why not make things web-interactive – with on-line resources, questions and answers, video streaming, ever a Twitter hookup?

The result was the Risk Science Unplugged Presents series – interesting people talking about interesting stuff, without the hassles of PowerPoint.  And fully web-interactive, so that people can watch and participate, even if they are not in Ann Arbor.

I’m rather excited about the series – but then I guess I would be.  Our first one was on nanotechnology.  The next – coming up on April 14 (10 – 11 am Eastern Time) is on the human health impacts of the Gulf Oil spill – and we have a stellar lineup, including:

  • The deputy Director for Program from NIOSH,
  • a PI on the recently launched NIEHS GuLF STUDY,
  • an MD
  • and an environmental lawyer.

So please check out the series, and join us if you can on the 14th – either in person, or via the webcast.  And please spread the word around – come September we will be kicking off a new series of Unplugged events.

And just to make things as easy as possible for you, there are the key links: