I’m very excited to announce that we’re up and running and research is underway at UWM’s new Scientific and Medical Communications Laboratory (SAMComm). What’s SAMComm you ask? Well, I’m happy to tell you. Here’s the brief description from the website. (p.s. I’m also happy to announce the website is also up and running:

SAMComm is devoted to cutting-edge research into effective and ethical uses of communication in a variety of scientific, technical, medical, and policy contexts. SAMComm has a commitment to mixed methodological research and its members draw on an array of disciplinary traditions from technical communication, health communication, and argumentation studies. At the heart of SAMComm research is a state-of-the-art qualitative data analysis server which allows members to engage in comprehensive investigations of large communications data sets.

The first few months of the lab’s life have been devoted to physical improvements. SAMComm’s first home was a disused storage area. (I say first home because we’re actively pursuing new funding streams and have our eyes set on new digs in one of UWM’s two recent campus expansion projects.) Despite the humble beginnings, I think we’ve managed to transform the aforementioned storage disaster into a respectable workspace. But, of course, I’ll let you be the judge. The picture below gives you a nice sense of the rehabilitation.

Lab Rehab

With rehab complete, we’ve transitioned into our first round of RA training. SAMComm currently hosts to research assistants whose time is primarily dedicated to initial data analysis on our first major project: a systematic analysis of pharmaceuticals policy decision-making in FDA drugs advisory committees. Information on additional projects can be found (you guessed it) on the website.

I should mention that SAMComm is currently seeking additional collaborators and community partners. If you’re working in an area where working together might be a good idea, please feel free to drop me a line.