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Krulwich Communicates Extraordinarily

More than 550 people filled Masur Auditorium recently for the launch of the Extraordinary Communicators Lecture Series and Award, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The series, dedicated to the memory of Eleanor Nealon, was created to honor outstanding communicators who have advanced the science of communication or the communication of science through their professional or personal experiences. ABC News Special Correspondent Robert Krulwich, who regularly appears on Nightline and Good Morning America, was the inaugural awardee.

NCI director Dr. Richard Klausner (r) presents Robert Krulwich with the first Extraordinary Communicators Award.

Attendees experienced firsthand the creativity and insight that Krulwich incorporates into his news stories to help audiences grasp often technical scientific topics. "The idea is to make concepts that seem a little remote, and a little hard to get, totally comprehensible to an ordinary person," said Krulwich. He captivated the NIH audience as he described how a virus enters a cell, how cancer cells divide, and how various cancer therapies act on a cell. Using balloons, pillows and even an ice pick, Krulwich demonstrated how he attempts to give his audience a "hook."

"I work as hard as I possibly can to give you something to remember visually so that you can attach a thought to it...It's about giving you some hook that will help you remember the words attached.

"You have a hit when someone remembers something you said. It is the best thing."

The audience was also shown a moving segment that Krulwich recently produced: the story of Porter Colley, a woman diagnosed with neurofibromatosis who goes to Harvard Medical School every year to share her personal experiences with students. By the end of the class and the piece, the medical school students were lining up to give her hugs and to offer their support and comfort. The segment evidently touched the NIH audience, too.

The lecture is available through NIH's videocast system at http://videocast.nih.gov/PastEvents.asp.


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