The future of our health is at a dangerous crossroads as more people reject science and medical research, leading to an increase in preventable diseases. At the heart of this intersection between science and the public lies popular media, who love to make a splash with black and white statements about science research: “Coffee causes cancer!” “Coffee prevents cancer!” In reality, science creeps along incrementally, until we can synthesize many small discoveries into a big one that impacts our health and the way we see the world. This misrepresentation of science in the media creates a distrust in research and interventions like vaccines. Our health is therefore at a crossroads. We will either be able to build a bridge between science and the public–leading to better trust and therefore better health–or we will continue down this path of science denial and the unraveling of the health progress we’ve made in the last century.

Nina Martin is founder of Public Health United, an organization dedicated to improving science & public health communication to the public via podcasts, articles and outreach. Through her podcast, she has discussed the difficulties of translating complex science into accessible concepts for the public with leaders in science and public health research.