PCATS team brings presentation to Puerto Rico

March 21, 2018

For more than 10 years, Kevin Weinfurt, PhD, and Steve Grambow, PhD, have presented their seminar, “Presenting Clinical & Translational Science” (PCATS), to Duke students and researchers. In February, they were invited by the University of Pittsburgh to present as part of the Leading Emerging and Diverse Scientists to Success (LEADS) Summit in Puerto Rico, a conference for junior faculty and post-docs who belong to underrepresented groups.

Kevin and Steve created PCATS to help teach students and researchers techniques for developing and delivering effective scientific presentations. The workshop focuses on everything from how to create slides and present data to effective presentation tips.

The summit was hosted by LEADS, a program at the University of Pittsburgh designed to serve junior faculty and post-docs at partnering Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) as defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). One of the MSIs the program works with is the Universidad De Puerto Rico in San Juan, where the summit took place. After seeing a video of their presentation online, a representative from LEADS reached out to Kevin and Steve about participating in the summit.

“Getting the opportunity to present this workshop for new students sounded intriguing,” Kevin said. “These scholars are doing really important work, and it felt good to contribute to this session with them.”

Along with their presentation, Kevin and Steve participated in a panel discussion on NIH grant reviews and led a mock grant review session. They also attended the poster session, where they got to mingle with conference participants and discuss their projects, something they rarely have time for when they present at conferences.

PCATS was designed particularly with junior faculty in mind, and that was the primary audience in Puerto Rico. Kevin and Steve got the idea to develop PCATS based on their own experiences attending conference presentations.

“We felt most people had accepted the fact that many conference presentations are bad,” Steve said. “We got the sense that presentation guidance was important to provide to people, and it’s been well received and appreciated so far.”

While the information they’re sharing is valuable to conference attendees, Kevin and Steve also approach these presentations as learning opportunities for themselves. Even after more than a decade, they’re always looking for ways to improve PCATS to make it as beneficial and engaging as possible.

“Getting to spend time with the participants was so valuable, and it made us feel more satisfied with the work we did,” Kevin said. “We have a great time doing this together, and we hope we get more opportunities to take our workshop beyond Duke.”