Experts Guide

Trade and Tariffs

Matthew Murray

Matt Murray, associate director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, specializes in public policy and government tax policy and has conducted economic forecasting for the state and forecasting for the TVA region for over 20 years. According to Murray, escalating trade wars are taking a larger and larger bite out of economic growth in Tennessee and across the United States. Tariffs raise business and consumer costs and unsettle investor expectations. Together, these impacts diminish spending and investment, which in turn reducing the demand for workers.  As the economy slows due to other influences on the economy—such as fading fiscal stimulus—tariffs have the potential to impose considerable damage to the state and national economies. To arrange an interview with Professor Murray, contact Amy Blakely at 865-974-5034 or

Voter Turnout

Katie Cahill, associate director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, studies public health, health policy, social policy, and policy challenges in low-resource settings. To arrange an interview with Professor Cahill, contact Brian Canever at 865-974-0937 or

Heat Wave and Severe Weather

Lisa Reyes Mason

Lisa Reyes Mason, associate professor of social work at UT, studies how extreme weather, including heat waves, affect the basic fabric of people’s lives. She is particularly focused on the impact felt by vulnerable populations (people in poverty, racial and ethnic minorities, older adults, etc.) She and colleagues have studied how weather impacts different Knox County neighborhoods and how summer heat waves affect lower- and moderate-income resident in Knoxville. To arrange an interview with Professor Mason, contact Amy Blakely at 865-974-5034 or

Back-to-School Topics

Nan Gaylord

The start of a new school year is here and children are back together in classrooms. How can teachers and parents keep children healthy and prevent them from spreading germs to each other? Professor of Nursing Nan Gaylord can talk about best practices for heading off back-to-school illnesses. To arrange an interview with Professor Gaylord, contact Andrea Schneibel at 865-974-3993 or

Speeding up hallway transition times may be the key to reducing hallway disruptions by elementary school students. School psychology researchers, including Professor Christopher Skinner, in UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences recently developed and tested a gamelike intervention which successfully reduced disruptions by up to 74 percent. To arrange an interview with Professor Skinner, contact Brian Canever at 865-974-0937 or

Brian Wilhoit, clinical professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling and the director of the Korn Learning, Assessment, and Social Skills Center, and Carolyn Blondin, a licensed psychologist with the KLASS Center, can discuss how to make the transition back to school easier for children, including for children with autism.

Chelsi Cardoso, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and research associate in the Department of Nutrition, can discuss healthy homemade school lunches. She conducts research in lifestyle interventions for pediatric and adult weight management. She is currently working on a National Institutes for Health 5-year grant to study childhood obesity. To arrange an interview with Professor Cardoso, contact Andrea Schneibel at 865-974-3993 or

Amy Broemmel

Amy Broemmel, associate professor of theory and practice in teacher education, and Kristin Rearden, clinical professor of science education, in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, can discuss homework tips for students and parents, age-appropriate reading goals, and issues around overscheduling in children’s activities. To arrange an interview with Professor Broemmel or Professor Rearden, contact Brian Canever at 865-974-0937 or

Rana Abudayyeh, the Robin Klehr Avia Professor of Interior Design, can discuss how interior design in schools and classrooms can help—or hinder—student and teacher success. Abudayyeh says, “The last two spring semesters, the program in my studio was a design for a MicroSchool. We worked with a PhD student from the College of Education to address flexible spaces for learning and the changing nature of education altogether.” To arrange an interview with Professor Abudayyeh, contact Brian Canever at 865-974-0937 or

Tension over Iran

Krista E. Wiegand, a specialist in international relations, holds a joint faculty appointment with the Department of Political Science and the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy. Wiegand’s research covers territorial and maritime disputes, conflict resolution/management, war and militarized interstate disputes, terrorism and political violence, bargaining strategies, international mediation, arbitration, and adjudication of interstate and civil conflicts, and foreign policy strategies of states in East Asia and the Middle East. To arrange an interview with Professor Wiegand, contact Brian Canever at 865-974-0937 or


Mary Held

Mary Lehman Held is an assistant professor in the College of Social Work. Held’s research is centered on the mental health and well-being of vulnerable populations, including Latino immigrants.

Stephanie Bohon

Stephanie Bohon is an associate professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences and is the founder and co-director of the Center for Social Justice. She is best known for her work on the growth and needs of the Latino immigrants in the South. 

Opioid Lawsuits

From the Washington Post: In Ohio, Cuyahoga County and nearby Summit County soon will be at the center of the most important legal test of how much responsibility drug companies bear for the opioid epidemic. Barring a settlement, the two counties are scheduled to go to trial in October as the first case among the consolidated lawsuits brought by about 2,000 cities, counties, Native American tribes and other plaintiffs.

Zack Buck

Zack Buck is an assistant professor of law who specializes in health care law and policy, bioethics, and tort law. He can discuss how outcomes from trials against drugmakers may affect Tennessee. To arrange an interview with Professor Buck, contact Brian Canever at 865-974-0937 or

Opioid Epidemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States. From 1999 to 2017, more than 702,000 people have died from a drug overdose. In 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Of those deaths, almost 68 percent involved a prescription or illicit opioids.

Department of Psychology Professors Ralph Lydic and Helen Baghdoyan study how opioid use changes brain chemistry. To arrange an interview, contact Andrea Schneibel at 865-974-3993 or

Sharon Davis, clinical assistant professor of nursing, teaches providers about addiction as a chronic brain disease and the importance of reducing healthcare provider stigma, a known barrier to care. She is a member of the Knox County Board of Health, a member on the Metro Drug Coalition’s Board of Directors, and an interdisciplinary team member of the Knox County Prescription Pain Abuse Coalition. Davis is also the project director of the Rural Counties Opioid Response Program – East Tennessee Consortium, a $200,000 one-year grant to analyze data and develop a strategic plan, workforce plan, and sustainability plan to address the chronic disease of addiction. To arrange an interview with Professor Davis, contact Andrea Schneibel at 865-974-3993 or

Shandra Forrest-Bank

Shandra Forrest-Bank, assistant professor of social work, has expertise in the transition to adulthood, risk and resilience, and positive youth development. Her main focus is understanding how poverty and racism are factors impacting young adult trajectories. Read more.

Aaron Brown

Aaron Brown, a PhD student in the College of Social Work, is studying opioid addiction and relapse prevention. He has worked as a residential tech at a group home, then as a case manager, and later as a counselor and LCSW. His clinical practice was focused on the treatment of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and substance use disorders. Read more.

David Patterson

David Patterson, Cooper-Herron Endowed Professor in Mental Health Research and Practice, is the director of the College of Social Work’s DSW program.  He has developed curriculum related to evidence-based substance abuse treatment and is the principal investigator for HUD’s Knox Region’s Homeless Management Information System. Read more