SciCommer Interview: Muriah Umoquit

By Fancy Comma, LLC Team

“There is no straight path to SciComm work,” says @MuriahUmoquit. We talked to the qualitative health science researcher and science communicator about her #SciComm experiences and advice for aspiring #SciCommers.

We were lucky to chat with Canada-based health SciCommer Muriah Umoquit about her SciComm experiences and advice for SciCommers. Muriah is a social media, knowledge translation, communications & thought leadership expert. She is trained in qualitative health science research, having earned a Specialist degree in Sociology from the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree in Sociology from McMaster University. 

photo of muriah umoquit
Muriah Umoquit. Image credit: @MuriahUmoquit on Twitter.

Currently, Muriah works at Cochrane Collaboration and Cochrane Library, where she serves as Cochrane’s Communications and Analytics Officer. In her work, she develops easy-to-understand science content to inform healthcare decision-making. She also helps train SciCommers about ways to engage their audiences with plain language health science information. Muriah has collaborated with Lifeology to produce a course for science communicators about how to talk about vaccines to anyone.

Keep reading for our interview with Muriah!

Fancy Comma: Where are you based? What do you do as a SciCommer?

Muriah Umoquit: I’m based in Niagara Falls, Canada.  I have a Masters in Sociology from McMaster University and am a huge research methods nerd. I oversee the SciComm for Cochrane Collaboration & Cochrane Library who produce health evidence synthesis.

FC: What is the scope of SciComm in your region?

Muriah: Here in Canada, we talk about knowledge translation a lot; going beyond just SciComm to changing behavior, practice, and policy. Kevin Sauve explains knowledge translation in this video and Cochrane Train has a free training module on this topic. 

Muriah recommends this seminar for anyone interested in learning more about knowledge translation. Source: YouTube.

The scope of Cochrane Collaboration’s SciComm is vast! Cochrane Library’s plain language summaries involving the public with our work via Cochrane Consumer — a citizen scientist platform involving some of our other initiatives such as Cochrane Crowd Advocacy and Cochrane Convenes — is a project that I’m so proud to be working on!

FC: How did you get into SciComm? Which aspect of SciComm is your favorite, why?

Muriah: There is no straight path to SciComm work! I started as a health qualitative researcher and found more and more of my work was leaning towards communications. I’ve written journal articles and book chapters, but I’ve also done blog posts & TikToks!

“In SciComm it is key to adapt the message for the target audience – I enjoy that challenge,” says @MuriahUmoquit.

In SciComm it is key to adapt the message for the target audience – I enjoy that challenge! One of my favorite projects was developing a Lifeology LIFE App with Abbey Morris to give researchers practical advice and confidence to advocate for science – check it out here

FC: What’s your advice for those interested in getting into freelance SciComm?

Muriah: If you want to do freelance SciComm, treat yourself as a brand and act as a thought leader. Ask yourself: what’s your tone? Your colors? Also remember to do Twitter and LinkedIn banners! Share successes and promote yourself! Offer guidance and insights! Demonstrate your expertise but also share it with others!

About Muriah Umoquit

Muriah is the Communications and Analytics Officer for Cochrane Collaboration. There, she manages the Cochrane social media accounts and helps keep the public educated about evidence-based health care. Muriah has training and experience in qualitative health research including conducting focus groups, interviews, and ethnographies. She has published a number of exhaustive reviews and analyses of health science literature on a variety of topics related to health science communication, data collection, and research, policy, and practice.

Learn more about Muriah by following her on Twitter @MuriahUmoquit or checking out her work with the Cochrane Collaboration.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: