San Juan, PR—Aquí Nos Cuidamos, a community project of the non-profit organization Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), was one of 20 winners of the prestigious international competition Falling Walls Engage, based in Germany. It was chosen among 189 initiatives from 80 countries. It is the only project from Puerto Rico to win since the beginning of the competition in 2018. This year, it is also the only project to represent the Caribbean.
Aquí Nos Cuidamos (ANC) engages vulnerable and marginalized communities in Puerto Rico with user-friendly educational and scientific resources relevant to their realities to promote COVID-19 prevention and community wellness. The project, which turns one year old in September, consists of several multimedia educational campaigns on topics related to the pandemic—including the science of coronavirus transmission and prevention, COVID-19 vaccination—and community wellness such as mental health. ANC also incorporates community engagement aspects such as a Community Ambassador Program, workshops, and partnerships with nonprofits and other entities.
"It is a great honor that Aquí Nos Cuidamos is being internationally recognized as a model for putting science in service of vulnerable and marginalized communities," said Dr. Mónica Feliú Mójer, director of communications for CienciaPR and leader of the initiative. "For us, science provides tools and realistic hope, not only to get us out of the pandemic, but to devise solutions with and for Puerto Rican communities, to address their long-term needs and priorities. This award recognizes the work of the ANC team, the scientific community, but above all, it recognizes the tireless and often anonymous work of community leaders in Puerto Rico. We dedicate it to them," she added.
Feliú Mójer will be presenting Aquí Nos Cuidamos in front of an international jury (virtually or in person, as allowed by COVID-19) at the Falling Walls Science Summit, to be held November 7-9, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. The project will be competing to be named as one of 10 "breakthroughs of the year" in different categories.
Falling Walls is an international platform—inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989—for leaders from the worlds of science, business, politics, the arts and society that seeks to break down barriers between diverse sectors. In particular, Falling Walls Engage connects creative individuals and organizations that actively engage the public with science to generate mutual benefits for science and society worldwide.
About Ciencia Puerto Rico
Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR, www.cienciapr.org) is a global community of more than 15,000 scientists, students, educators and allies who believe that science can empower people with the knowledge, capacity and agency to improve their lives and society. The organization leverages its rich and diverse community—the largest collective of people interested in science and Puerto Rico in the world—to democratize science, and transform science education and professional training for scientists. Since 2006, CienciaPR has successfully engaged and trained scientists, students, and educators, and created culturally relevant resources and educational experiences that improve students' attitudes and interests toward science and self-confidence in their scientific abilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CienciaPR has been making Puerto Rican experts visible, informing and educating the Puerto Rican public, and keeping the response to the emergency accountable. CienciaPR's efforts over the past decade have garnered multiple recognitions, including being named a "Bright Spot" for Hispanic education by the White House in 2015 and a "Science Defender" by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2018.
About Aquí Nos Cuidamos
Aquí Nos Cuidamos is a project of Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR) that promotes COVID-19 prevention and the well-being of vulnerable and marginalized communities in Puerto Rico through science and solidarity. Among its efforts is the Aquí Nos Cuidamos Toolkit, a series of public service campaigns with educational content on science and public health. The Toolkit is based on the most recent scientific data contextualized to the Puerto Rican reality and culture. It has been developed by experts in science, public health and communication, with input from leaders, community organizations, non-profit entities, and the deaf community. The Aquí Nos Cuidamos Toolkit consists of infographics, animations, videos, audios, and written materials that present science in accessible and practical ways. All content in the Toolkit is available for open access use at www.aquinoscuidamos.org. Aquí Nos Cuidamos also includes collaborative partnerships with organizations such as the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust, Taller Salud, Mercy Corps, and the Puerto Rico Psychology Association, among others; community outreach efforts such as workshops and a Community Ambassadors Program, which supports 10 Puerto Rican leaders in their efforts.