Scientific society that is...
My BlogSis Scicurious has extensively blogged the recent Experimental Biology meeting, and I just found a great post of hers on the reciprocity, or lack there of, between scientists and their professional societies. I suggest you go and read it. now. I can wait...
I was posting a comment about my own activities with my various societies and how I try and do my bit. It grew a little unwieldy so I reproduce here instead (I'm a firm believer that any comment over 2 paragraphs needs to GYOFB'd).
My comment, now blog post is below.
[Excellent post Sci.] I am as active as I can be with a couple of different groups. My local SfN chapter is dead in the water and I've emphasized this time and again to anyone who'll listen, but nothing gets done. I'm not prepared to run it myself because I'm no longer a practicing bench scientist, let alone neuroscientist. Recently the Society sent out a questionnaire about how to engage their membership and was quite vocal in my free-text responses. We'll see what happens.
Of course, SfN also run their "blog the conference" gig and its been...an empty genuflection to the new 'fifth estate' (us).
With the American Heart Association I respond to all their calls to action (they can afford to CapWhiz), and in addition I've spoken with my local AHA advocacy reps. I'm Facebook friends with one, and we email now and then about issues. Essentially I ask occasionally what I can do to help, and also send him tidbits of information I find on the 'choobs he might not have seen yet.
I volunteered recently to work with the advocacy and outreach groups of the American Medical Informatics Association (my prime society nowadays). We'll see what happens. It seems to me their "lobbying" efforts are more focused on big picture issues like EMR adoption, and "opt in" vs "opt out" clauses for patients.
Finally, I bombard my Congresscritters with emails and phone calls. This is done via the CapWhiz actions of AHA and SfN mostly. But the National Postdoc Association sent a call to arms late last year and I called my Representative's office in Washington and spoke to his staffers (I got a 'real' thank you letter in reply too).
When it comes to State level actions I'm more bereft. My local Senator is on emotional sabbatical and TBH doesn't have the best political history. TN is voting on a "don't say gay" bill and only just tabled a "freedom of education" bill - this bill would give protection to teachers who wish to give the teaching creationism and other bullshit and equal footing in the science classroom. Ostensibly this happens as "counter balancing the theory of evolution". I am trying to increase my local outreach efforts, but it's also a matter of finding time and a few prime causes to invest in.
One of our local museums, The Pink Palace, does a lot of outreach and I kind of know the Director, so I need to get on that...
And now I reiterate Sci's questions: What do you do for your Society and our society? What efforts do you make, or if you don't, what do you think are the principle reasons for not getting involved?