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Both at the bench and in the clinic, communication and collaboration are vital. Symposia and lecture series are an effective means of disseminating ideas and generating innovative discussion within the scientific community but are often limited in their reach due to geography or institutional constraints. In the past, the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine has reported on the proceedings of several symposia and lectures conducted at Yale, such as the 2009 StemCONN conference on stem cell research , the 2009 Society for Medical Anthropology Conference , the 2005 Ethical Aspects of Avian Influenza Pandemic Preparedness , and the Yale Medical Student Council Lectureship . Past contributions of this kind have come from notable authors, including Senator Edward Kennedy  and the philosopher Ernst Cassirer .
In this issue, the YJBM inaugurates its new Symposia Contributions section, which aims to share the content of Yale’s conferences and notable lectures with our readership, both across and beyond the university, on a regular basis. The YJBM hopes to broaden the distribution of important scholarship in the fields of biology, medicine, and health that might not otherwise be promptly disseminated to the rest of the world. Articles will come from students, faculty, and lecturers and will take the form of the text of the lectures and discussions themselves, review articles, opinion pieces, interviews centered on themes generated at the symposia, and news reports of the proceedings.
In the first installment of this section, we provide coverage of two recent and very relevant meetings. Healthcare 2010, hosted by the Yale School of Management in April, brought together economists, businessmen, clinicians, and researchers to address the future of healthcare in the wake of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in March. Neel Butala reviews various perspectives on the efficiency and quality of care, while Ian Evans’ editorial outlines the future of biologics. Both are inspired by the conference’s breakout sessions. Meanwhile, April’s Neuroscience 2010 conference, partly organized by the Yale Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health Education Program, fostered a different type of topical discussion. A review of non-caloric sweeteners and their neurobiological effects, contributed by Qing Yang, was inspired by this conference and has implications for the current obesity epidemic. Taken together, these two symposia present timely discussions that we look forward to sharing with our readership.