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Kristan Uhlenbrock

Kristan Uhlenbrock


Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Dialogue & Deliberation Fellowship

Kristan Uhlenbrock is a communicator, scientist, and policy expert. As the Director for the Institute for Science and Policy, a project of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, her objective is to ensure science has a respected role in public discourse and policymaking.

She serves on the Board for the Science Writers Association of the Rocky Mountains and the Environmental Sustainability Committee for the American Meteorological Society, among other leadership positions.

Community Partner

The Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) – The Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) is a local media resource hub that serves Coloradans by strengthening local journalism, supporting civic engagement, and ensuring public accountability. COLab focuses on collaboration, training for journalists, increasing trust by building connections between newsrooms and underserved communities, and driving the evolution of local newsrooms.

The Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation – The Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation aims to improve the way Coloradans deliberate on complex issues by increasing access to quality information and skilled facilitators to help communities reach important decisions.

Project Description

Misinformation and disinformation spread when people do not have trust in reporting and the news. Misinformation can be especially harmful when it’s about societal and scientific issues (COVID-19, climate change, environment, health). The larger sociological impacts of misinformation in marginalized communities can be characterized by unequal access to accurate learning resources which exacerbates inequalities.

This project, Navigating Misinformation in Our Community, brought together community leaders and media professionals to advance the conversation, build and rebuild relationships, and identify opportunities for action. The project connected with underserved populations, including members of the Black, Latino/a/x, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native and Indigenous communities and allies. More than 70 community members and journalists participated in the two events.

The first session helped participants discover and engage in tensions around misinformation, improve understanding, and gather ideas of potential actions. This information was then used to frame the second session, which focused on specific actions. Participants worked together to identify ways to help tackle misinformation in Colorado, uphold and amplify marginalized voices, create and strengthen cross-community partnerships, and build trust in reporting, particularly around scientific issues. Building on these discussions, the project team developed an issues framework and discussion guide individuals can use in their communities, and published a report focused on actionable next steps for community members, the media, funders, and policymakers.