Experts Guide

Talking About Grief and Tragedy

Laura Wheat, assistant professor of counselor education and coordinator of the Grief Outreach Initiative, can discuss ways to talk about tragedy with your children. Read more.



Robert LieberthalRobert Lieberthal is an assistant professor in the department of public health. His research focuses on health economics with a particular emphasis on the efficiency and effectiveness of health insurance.

He can speak about what the proposed Affordable Care Act changes would mean for health insurance markets, especially in Tennessee; how the rate of uninsured might change, especially in Tennessee; and how the burden of premiums and out of pocket costs would change for individuals.

He is the author of “What is Health Insurance (Good) For? An Examination of Who Gets It, Who Pays for It, and How to Improve It.” Read more.

Hurricane Season

Kelsey Ellis is a physical geographer specializing in meteorology and climatology. Her research focuses mainly on extreme and hazardous weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and extreme temperatures and precipitation. Read more.

Jon Hathaway, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and a nationally recognized expert in flooding, storm water runoff, and other water-related disasters in urban areas. Topics he can discuss include what measures can be taken to control/mitigate flooding; health concerns in the wake of such events; storm effects on infrastructure; how urban design worsens flooding; why dams release water in the middle of floods; what can be expected when the waters clear; and ideas for how to prevent such issues in the future.

Hathaway has worked with national, state, and local government agencies in flood-related projects, and has been honored by the National Science Foundation for his work.

Contact David Goddard at 865-974-0683 or to arrange an interview with Hathaway.

Gasoline prices are on the rise as supply chains often are disrupted after storms. Matthew Murray, director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and associate director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, is an expert in fuel costs and taxes. Read more.

Ashley Maynor is an assistant professor and serves as the digital humanities librarian. Her research focuses on how communities commemorate and manage public tragedies. She can discuss how to donate to communities without burdening them with unneeded stuff. Read more.

Ted Stank, professor of supply chain management and Harry J. and Vivienne R. Bruce Chair of Excellence in Business, is an internationally recognized expert in supply chain strategy, including risk management. Topics he can discuss include what measures can be taken to manage food, water and electrical disruptions caused by natural disasters; how companies structure their supply chains to make sure natural disasters do not cause supply shortages in unaffected areas; and how FEMA and other aid agencies determine the areas in greatest need of basic supplies like food, clean clothing, etc.

Stank has worked with companies like Lowes, Walgreens and Walmart, who are frequently asked to participate in disaster relief, as well as more than 60 others, including the U.S. Marine Corps, on preparing for and preventing supply chain disruptions. Read more.

North Korea

North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program and recent missile tests have heightened tensions between the East Asian nation and the United States. Are we careening toward a clash?

“Conditions have changed a bit as the rhetoric between Kim Jong-un and President Trump has escalated. I don’t necessarily think our options to deal with North Korea have changed all that much, but it is conceivable that missteps could pull us into violent conflict with the North Koreans,” said Brandon Prins, a UT professor of political science who studies international relations. Read more.

Military Surplus to Police Forces

On Monday, the Trump administration announced it is lifting limitations on the program that were put in place by the Obama administration.

Matt Harris, assistant professor of economics and research assistant professor of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in UT’s Haslam College of Business, was part of a team of researchers that found that the acquisition of surplus military equipment through the US Department of Defense Law Enforcement Support Officers 1033 Program does not cause police to be more aggressive. Read more about his research.

Public Monuments of the Civil War

Derek Alderman, head of the Department of Geography, is an expert in cultural and historical geography, specifically related to public memory, heritage tourism, the civil rights movement, and African-American history. Read more.