Communication professor publishes book on medical controversy

By Staff

Lisa Keränen, associate professor of communication at the University of Colorado Denver, wrote a book published this summer by the University of Alabama Press: "Scientific Characters: Rhetoric, Politics and Trust in Breast Cancer Research." It chronicles the contests over character, knowledge, trust and truth in a politically charged scientific controversy that erupted after a 1994 Chicago Tribune headline, "Fraud in breast cancer research: Doctor lied on data for decade."

Moving back and forth between news coverage, medical journals, letters to the editor, and oncology pamphlets, Keränen draws insights from rhetoric, literary studies, sociology and science studies to analyze the roles of character in shaping the outcomes of the controversy. It's a study of what happens when scientists, patients and advocates are called to defend themselves in public concerning complex technical matters.

This fall, Keränen will give several talks related to the book at Anschutz Medical Campus, as well as Pittsburgh and San Diegol, and soon unveil a website about the book with teaching tools and discussion questions related to medical ethics, science and the public good.