Imagine: the year is 1890. While strolling the streets of Paris, you stumble into a small bistro. The room is alive with discussion. Coffee in hand, artists, doctors, teachers, and tradesmen are all engaged in a spirited current affairs debate.
More than 100 years later St. Joseph’s is keeping this traditional alive. In the spirit of 19th century coffee houses, Lawson Health Research Institute’s "Café Scientifique" series engages the community in discussion with local scientific experts. The series has quickly generated a following and seats can be hard to come by. Guests are delighted to join hospital researchers for an evening of learning, listening – and always a few laughs.
In 2012-2013, Lawson received funding to host two Café Scientifique events:
- "Food and Disease: Dispelling the Myths"
- "Rheumatic Diseases: When Your Immune System Attacks Your Bones"
The events featured experts in probiotics, cancer, neurology and autoimmune diseases, and sparked lively discussion from the audience.
Also this year, Lawson’s Café Scientifique kindled an early interest in science among young bright minds. For the first time, an event was held at a local high school. Forty Mother Theresa Secondary School students were inspired to learn how diet and exercise can impact cancer. The event was hosted in partnership with the Partners in Experiential Learning Program, which places local high school students in Lawson labs to gain hands-on experience in science.
Thanks to this exciting look inside health research, one of these students may one day be leading their own Café Scientifique.
In total, about 160 individuals took advantage of the Café Scientifique events this year. The series generously supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).