All Press Releases for June 20, 2014

LabTV, University of Georgia, Combine Resources to Create Visible Role Models

Medical researchers inspire women and minorities to join the field.

Innovation is the key to the future, and we need ideas from everyone. If science is thought of as a place where only some people flourish, we all lose. LabTV is working to change this.

    STAMFORD, CT, June 20, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- LabTV announced it has begun work with the University of Georgia's filmmakers and medical research personnel to create human-interest video profiles to inspire the leaders of tomorrow. Together, the two institutions will create role models, with a focus on women and minorities, to encourage more students to pursue a career in medical research.

"Innovation is the key to the future, and we need ideas from everyone. If science is thought of as a place where only some people flourish, we all lose. LabTV is working to change this," says Professor Patricia Thomas, Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism from Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. "I've been in hundreds of labs during my long career as a science and medical journalist, and I've seen first-hand that women or people of color are in short supply."

LabTV's online video platform showcases short videos of young medical scientists, the "human faces of medical research," to inspire today's students to consider becoming a medical scientist themselves. Engaging film students like April Bailey to profile researchers like Hillary Danz, a doctoral candidate who was researching infectious diseases at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, will impress upon youth to use their interests to enter the field. Bailey's stunning video not only inspired the next generation, but also won a top ten prize at the Tribeca Film Festival from LabTV.

"Our goal," said LabTV founder Jay Walker, "is to help students find role models they can identify with - young scientists who are people just like themselves, and who share their dreams and passions."

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has repeatedly stated that America needs visible role models in medical research. "I am concerned that the best and brightest in this nation may be drawn to all kinds of things, but biomedical research maybe seems a little out of reach. Not quite sure what goes on there. Not quite sure they know somebody who works in that space. This is what LabTV is designed to do."

Accordingly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is encouraging universities to open their doors to LabTV so that both professional and student filmmakers can create the videos that will celebrate young scientists and excite today's students.

The University of Georgia allowed the LabTV inspired filmmaker into their leading research institution with over $23 million dollars in funding from the NIH and 61 awards for research project grants just this year. They are Georgia's largest comprehensive research university and have specializations in Cancer Research, Infectious Disease, Biomedical Health Sciences as well as an impressive division in Veterinary Research and Tropical and Emerging Diseases.

"Medical research is the greatest science adventure of our time, but almost nobody knows about it," said LabTV Executive Producer David Hoffman. "On LabTV our short videos are about people, not about science. The medical scientists we profile are passionate young men and women from every background, every nation and every ethnic group. They both find medical research incredibly exciting and rewarding and are eager to encourage today's students to enter the field."

To that end, LabTV is sending amateur and professional filmmakers to 40,000 NIH-funded medical research labs across America. LabTV filmmakers are creating short video profiles of tens of thousands of young scientists.

Universities that wish to have their young scientists profiled on LabTV at no cost to the university or the lab may contact LabTV's Debbie Pranckitas

David Hoffman is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker of more than 150 television documentaries and multi-part series for PBS, Turner, A&E and Discovery. Mr. Hoffman has produced more than 200 television programs, five feature-length documentaries, and hundreds of Youtube "movies" that together have over 10 million views.

Jay Walker, the founder of LabTV, is also the chairman of Patent Properties and curator of TEDMED, the health and medicine edition of the famous TED conference. A noted entrepreneur, Mr. Walker has founded three companies that serve more than 50 million customers. He is best known as the creator of Priceline, which brought a new level of value to the travel industry.

LabTV, in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health, inspires STEM-oriented students, particularly women and minorities, to consider a career in medical research. LabTV does this by having filmmakers, primarily undergraduates, interview young medical scientists, and post their interviews on where viewing students can find and connect with successful young medical scientists just like them.

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