Dear friends & family,
As you probably know (because I talk about it incessantly), I have found my professional passion in knowledge translation/knowledge exchange, i.e., efforts to put stuffy, inaccessible academic knowledge about drugs and addiction to actual, good, practical USE. As part of these efforts -- which I have to practice "off the side of my desk" because I haven't managed to integrate them into my actual-job yet -- I recently landed myself on the organizing committee of the 2013 Club Health conference (http://www.clubhealthsf2013.org), which is intended to "bring together experts from a wide range of fields to exchange information on the latest research, policy and practice on protecting and promoting health in nightlife settings." The program includes drug use/harm reduction/education/outreach themes that have been very important to me for a very long time -- And in fact I submitted an abstract and it was accepted, so I will be giving a talk on the neuroscience of novel synthetic drugs (bath salts, spice, research chems, etc.) as part of the Legal Highs session in hopes of helping shape education/outreach/awareness initiatives, harm reduction approaches, and maybe even a policy or two.
Here's the problem. The conference is in San Francisco, and my involvement/attendance has nothing to do with my actual-job, so there are no lab funds to support my travel. I tried to find small travel grants from various addiction/mental health organizations, but had no luck. And under normal circumstances I would just suck it up and eat the cost, but because of recent visa issues (lost my status in the shuffle) I was essentially unemployed between January and last week. This forced me to pretty much clear out my savings (already modest b/c as a postdoc i'm not exactly rollin' in it), so for the next while, any earnings will need to be allocated to things like rent, taxes (I expect to owe close to 5 figures), and paying my credit card back down. Trust me, I wouldn't ask what I'm about to if circumstance didn't dictate.
So here comes the question: Will you help me cover my flight so I can go talk about drugs and brains -- the one thing that consistently brings me joy professionally -- at a conference whose mission is really important to me? I have already bought the flights and am posting the cost below so you don't think I'm trying to make a profit -- I'm not; I just recognize the potential to impact and benefit my community, and i need to actually DO it in order to get others to believe I'm behind it, but it happens to overlap with a clunky financial situation in which $500 is nothing to sneeze at, so I need to recoup as much as I can of the cost. ANY amount toward the final bill will be helpful. And rest assured, I feel appropriately weird doing this, and wish it weren't so damn important to me, too. But I can't NOT go, can I...
Thank you in advance. If there is a way to anonymize donations, I would say do that, just to minimize the weird. But yeah, let's see how this goes...
TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013
From Detroit, MI 7:41 PM
To Oakland, CA 11:21 PM
Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations (Carrier Fee) $2.00
Passenger Usage Fee (Carrier Fee) $16.99
September 11th Security Fee $2.50
Passenger Facility Fee $4.50
Segment Fee $7.80
US Transportation Tax $8.30
Sun 02-Jun 2013
From San Francisco, San Francisco Int'l (SFO)
To Toronto, Pearson Int'l (YYZ)
Departing Flight - Flex 262.12
U.S.A Transportation Tax 18.08
U.S Passenger Facility Charge 4.73
September 11 Security Fee 2.63
Total airfare and taxes before options (per passenger) 295.44
Grand Total - Canadian dollars $295.44
Regular Baggage Allowance 1st bag: $25 CAD + taxes