2022 in Review: Duke Faculty Offer Expertise in Media Briefings
Kay Jowers, director for Just Environments at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, commenting on Oct. 26 about how climate change is linked with so many other public policy issues.
“Climate is just interwoven with everything. It’s big, and it’s easy to get apathetic. But people getting apathetic doesn’t mean they don’t care about it. It means they don’t necessarily see a way of affecting change. But you can affect change on climate through immigration policy, through local implementation of funds around affordable housing. You can incorporate climate into many of those issues because it is inextricably linked with them.”
Political scientist Kerry Haynie commenting Sept. 13 about the impact of the Hispanic vote in North Carolina’s midterm elections.
“It remains to be seen what the ground game is, and that’s the biggest issue. Who’s out there trying to motivate these Latino populations to vote. They’ve historically been aligned with the Democratic party; there’s been some weakening of that alignment, but [they] still tend to be a Democratic-leaning constituency. But they have to be asked to vote, and Democrats have fallen down on that.”
Dr. Beverly Gray, an OBGYN, commenting Aug. 16 on the phrase ‘late-term abortion,’ that abortion opponents use often.
“A ‘late-term abortion’ is not a medical term. It’s not a term that we physicians use. It’s a term that’s very politicized, that politicians use to make it appear that the vast majority of abortions are happening in the late second, third trimester. Which is absolutely not the case. We know the vast majority of abortion care that occurs in our country happens in the first eight weeks of pregnancy.”
In the same Aug. 16 briefing, Dr. Maria Small, a maternal and fetal medicine specialist, discussed the tendency of politicians to discuss important matters outside their areas of expertise.
“You have conditions where legislators are determining when you can and can’t act on condition in pregnancy. This is not their role. And many of them have shown us over and over again by their statements have no clue about pregnancy and women’s health.”
“It really is sad and disturbing that we are fighting so hard to decrease maternal mortality rates and yet we have conditions where people are wondering, ‘Can I intervene in this condition that usually is associated with maternal death, like an ectopic pregnancy?’”
Lavanya Vasudevan, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Global Health Institute, commented Jan. 24 about the continued importance of vaccines as the world moves out of the pandemic.
“We need to focus on messaging around the importance of vaccines. Our goals are two-fold: They are to prevent deaths, preserve life and to reduce the societal and economic impact of COVID-19. All the data that we have right now continue to point to vaccines right now as our most powerful and effective tool.”
Dr. Nathan Copeland, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, commented July 13 on how the pandemic exacerbated a mental health crisis among young people.
“We saw increased loneliness. Increased isolation. Increased parental distress. Increased substance abuse disorders across the entire population. The murder of George Floyd exacerbating racial trauma and highlighting the systemic racism that so many individuals experience. And we’ve just seen that temperature rise.”
Ashley Ward, a climate health scientist, commented Aug. 11 on how extreme heat wasn’t just an issue during the daytime.
“When overnight temperatures remain high, what we’re seeing is the body doesn’t have a chance to recover from any heat exposure during the day, which starts to trigger a cascading set of events that results in heat-related illness, heat stroke, usually over a matter of days sometimes.”
War in Ukraine
Simon Miles, a public policy professor, commented March 15 on how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine appeared to be backfiring.
“One of the ironies of this entire disaster has been that in many ways Putin has gotten the opposite of what he wanted. He wanted a fractured West that was just squabbling over sanctions; he’s gotten the opposite. He wanted Germany sitting on the sidelines; he’s provoked a revolution in German foreign policy. He wanted Ukraine never in NATO, never in the European Union. I think both of those are fair game at this juncture."