It has been something of an axiom in nutrition science that confusing communications result in confused consumers. Recently, several organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, have drawn attention to erroneous, miscommunicated, irreproducible, or outright fraudulent scientific studies in the biomedical area and have raised the twin issues of trust and credibility in science and science communications. In this article, the authors describe and explore the ramifications of trust issues in the current nutrition and biomedical science environment. They offer perspective on how these issues may be impacted by the evolving communications environment and they review some modest proposals for enhancing nutrition and other science credibility and hence public trust and understanding.
Sylvia B. Rowe, MA, is currently president of SR Strategy pursuing communications and issues management consulting on a broad range of health, nutrition, food safety, and risk issues. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Nick Alexander, BA, is a former senior media counselor for the IFIC Foundation, Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor’s of arts degree from Harvard University. A former network correspondent with ABC News, he has been tracking and writing about science communications issues and the evolving challenge to public acceptance of credible science for the past decade.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Sylvia Rowe, MA, 1100 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 430, Washington, DC 20036-4120 (firstname.lastname@example.org).