For more than 10 years, faculty from UMass Medical School have helped bring science news to the visually impaired through their program on Audio Journal, a Central Massachusetts radio reading service for individuals who are print disabled.
Audio Journal is a service for those in the region—there are about 1,000 listeners—who want access to local and state news, but who, for a variety of reasons, have a print disability. Heather-Lyn Haley, PhD, assistant professor of family medicine & community health, said among the program offerings, the weekly Science Journal, which is hosted and staffed predominately by UMMS volunteers, airs weekly on Fridays at 6 p.m. “A lot of times people living right down the street don’t know what’s happening at the medical school,” Dr. Haley said. “This gives us an opportunity to share some of the work that we’re doing and to translate that in a way that makes more sense to the general public.”
Science Journal covers UMMS research as well as various health, environmental and science news topics. Recently, the Science Journal program was used as an opportunity to share news about the flu and Ebola. Several UMMS researchers are volunteers for the Science Journal; there are now up to 10 volunteers who read the science-related news. Michael Volkert, PhD, professor of microbiology & physiological systems, and Martin Marinus, PhD, professor emeritus of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, have been readers since the program began. “As part of my faculty appointment, I like to contribute to the educational mission of UMass and this seems to be a way for me to get involved,” said Alan Ehrlich, MD, assistant professor of family medicine & community health. Listeners can hear through a special transmitter, local cable TV or through the Audio Journal website.