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Dr Virginie Grzelczyk

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Reader/Associate Professor in International Relations
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Aston University
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Per Olof Arnäs

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Senior Lecturer
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Chalmers University of Technology
Expertise

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Spotlights

Read expert insights on a wide variety of topics and current events.

Covering the Great Debate Thursday? Our political expert can help you with every angle of your coverage

For political junkies, Thursday is like game seven of the World Series. Usually political debates are a requisite part of the usual campaign cycle ... but this time it is different.  There's a lot on the line and with a bitter history between Joe Biden and Donald Trump 0 it is going to be must-watch TV for most of America. And if you're a journalist covering the lead up, debate and the day after - we're here to help. Check out these ExpertSpots where Madison Distinguished Professor of Political Science & Public Affairs and Director of the Haire Institute for Public Policy at WCU, Chris Cooper weighs in with his thoughts on several topics. And if you're looking to connect with Chris - simply click on his icon now to arrange an interview today.

Christopher A. Cooper
1 min. read

SCOTUS Sides with Starbucks in Labor Dispute

Mary Anne Trasciatti, director of the Labor Studies Program and professor of rhetoric, talked to Newsday about a Supreme Court ruling that stated a higher standard must be met for the federal government to win court orders when a company is suspected of interfering with union campaigns. The ruling stemmed from a court case involving a labor dispute between Starbucks and its unionized workforce. The decision ruling will make it harder for the National Labor Relations Board to support Starbucks workers when a company is suspected of interfering with union campaigns. Dr. Trasciatti said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the court’s decision. “Starbucks is talking out of both sides of their mouth,” she said. “It really undercuts their stated commitment to building a positive relationship with their unionized workers.” Dr. Trasciatti is available to speak with media - simply click on her icon now to arrange an interview today.

Mary Anne Trasciatti
1 min. read
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Sunday is the anniversary of Brexit - We're here with expert insights if you're covering

The United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, commonly known as Brexit, stands as one of the most significant geopolitical events of the 21st century. This topic matters to the public because it encompasses profound implications for international trade, immigration, legal frameworks, and political alliances. The ripple effects of Brexit are felt not only within the UK and the EU but also globally, making it a critical issue for journalists to cover. Brexit's impact spans numerous sectors and societal issues, providing a wealth of story angles, including: The economic impact of Brexit on the UK, EU, and global markets Changes in immigration policies and their effects on individuals and industries The evolving political landscape in the UK, including the rise of nationalism and regional independence movements The legal challenges and adaptations post-Brexit, particularly concerning trade agreements and regulatory standards The social and cultural consequences of Brexit, including shifts in public opinion and societal division The future of UK-EU relations and their broader implications for international diplomacy and cooperation As we continue to navigate the complexities of Brexit, journalists have the opportunity to explore these diverse and critical narratives, offering in-depth insights into the ongoing and far-reaching impacts of this historic event. Connect with an Expert about Brexit: Dr David Lowe Senior Research Fellow · Leeds Beckett University Dr Oleksandr Shepotylo Senior Lecturer, Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship · Aston University Dr Patrycja Rozbicka Senior Lecturer · Aston University Dr Jo Michell Associate Professor of Economics · UWE Bristol Patrick L Young Executive Director · Derivatives Vision To search our full list of experts visit www.expertfile.com Photo credit: Rocco Dipoppa

2 min. read

Church Mutual® shares swim safety tips with Church Executive readers

With summertime in full swing, it's important to remember the different safety measures that should be in place before you take a group of people swimming. Eric Spacek, assistant vice president - Risk Control, answered questions from Church Executive outlining the best way to keep swimmers safe.

Eric Spacek, J.D.
1 min. read

MEDIA RELEASE: CAA Awards the Dedication and Compassion of a School Zone Safety Ambassador

CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is proud to recognize Sonia Preston, a teacher at Brookmill Boulevard Junior Public School in Scarborough, as an outstanding road safety ambassador and an integral part of the CAA School Safety Program (CAA SSP) – a program that teaches children life-long leadership skills on how to interact in a busy world with the confidence to be able to act in emergency situations. Preston is the winner of the CAA School Safety Patrol Supervisor of the Year and was nominated by Brookmill Boulevard Junior Public School Principal Helena Syptak.  For 21 years, Preston has been part of the CAA School Safety Patrol program, acting as a Patrol Supervisor and trusted member of the community. Going above and beyond her duties, she consistently maintains a visible presence during peak traffic hours, providing guidance and support to Patrollers as they fulfil their duties by conducting regular training sessions to equip Patrollers with the skills to handle various traffic scenarios with poise and precision. “Ms. Preston's volunteerism, commitment, dependability, and leadership are the cornerstones of our Safety Patrol program's success,” says Syptak. “Her efforts above and beyond the expected Patrol Supervisor role have made a lasting impact on our school community, enriching the lives of countless students and inspiring them to become responsible leaders and compassionate citizens.”  The CAA School Safety Patrol program was developed in 1929 to protect, educate, and empower elementary school children on safe road-crossing practices. With more than 90 years of proven experience in teaching road safety and children’s safety in school zones, the program gives Patrollers an acute awareness of road safety and gives them the tools to help them stay safe as they travel to and from school.   Preston's commitment to promoting pedestrian safety goes beyond the school grounds. She has actively engaged with local authorities and community stakeholders, such as the School Advisory Council, to address traffic concerns in the surrounding area, advocating for improved infrastructure and implementing strategies to mitigate potential hazards.  “Ms. Preston leads by example, demonstrating integrity, compassion, and resilience in everything she does,” says Syptak “Her ability to inspire and motivate others has a profound impact on patrollers, instilling in them a sense of purpose and pride in their roles. Under her guidance, patrollers not only fulfil their duties with excellence but also emerge as confident leaders and responsible citizens.”  We thank Sonia Preston for being a local hero in her community and advocating for road safety in her everyday life. Since its start, the CAA School Safety Patrol program has helped keep students safe in school zones. Every year, approximately 800 schools in Ontario participate in the CAA SSP program, which CAA SCO delivers with local partners. For more information on the program, visit www.caaschoolsafetypatrol.com

2 min. read

Expert Research: Hurricanes and Natural Disasters Linked to “Grocery Tax” for Lower-Income Americans

Research from Goizueta’s William Schmidt uncovers the disproportionate impact of natural disasters on low-income families’ access to essentials. Global warming is accelerating severe weather with cataclysmic outcomes for communities all over the world. In 2023, the hottest year on record, no fewer than 23 weather-related disasters struck the United States. These natural disasters claimed hundreds of lives and caused $57 billion in damage. Recently, the federal government has come under scrutiny for uneven aid response to communities affected by hurricanes, fires, and flooding in America. William Schmidt But might there be other factors at play that see disadvantaged groups more vulnerable to the impact of severe weather events? Weighing into this is award-winning research by Goizueta Business School’s William Schmidt, associate professor of Information Systems and Operations Management. He and Xabier Barriola from INSEAD Business School look at the effect of three major hurricanes in the U.S. in the last 20 years. They find evidence of higher paid prices for basic groceries in the aftermath of each storm that disproportionately impact lower-income communities in affected states. In fact, says Schmidt, when severe weather hits communities, these families end up paying anywhere between one and five percent more relative to high income households for essential food and goods. This puts a major strain on already-strained resources in times of massive disruption. "We see a spike in the prices paid for household groceries of up to five percent hitting low-income groups immediately after a major storm hits." William Schmidt “Then you have to factor in the reality that poorer households spend around eight times more of their disposable income on basic groceries than high-income households,” says Schmidt. “It becomes clear that the aftermath of severe weather is harder for them to bear. And in our research, this is an effect that lasts for months, not weeks or days.” Exposing Hidden Costs on Those Hit Hardest To get to these findings, Schmidt and Barriola worked from a hunch. They figured that in low-income areas, a lack of infrastructure, lower-quality construction, and fewer grocery store outlets could translate into supply shortages in emergencies. Ensuing stockouts might then lead to knock-on price inflation for customers. These are low-income families for whom inflation has serious and significant consequences, Schmidt says. "We know that inflation hurts poorer communities. High-income families have the option of switching between high and low-priced goods according to needs or preference. But families with lower incomes are already purchasing low-priced groceries." William Schmidt “When there are disaster-induced stockouts to their preferred products, those families are forced to substitute to higher priced groceries,” Schmidt continues. Then there’s retailer behavior. Following large environmental disasters, store managers may be unable to keep necessities in stock. Under those circumstances, it is difficult to justify running promotions or implementing planned price decreases. To test these ideas, Schmidt and his colleagues looked at data from the weeks and months following Hurricanes Katarina (2005), Ike (2008), and Sandy (2012). They decided to pinpoint those locations immediately impacted at the county level. To do so, they used major disaster declarations issued by the federal government at the time. Then they integrated this with detailed grocery store sales data provided by Information Resources Inc (IRI) with zip code-level household income and demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. With each hurricane, the researchers looked at IRI data covering 30 different product categories and around 200 million transactions over a 12-week period. Schmidt and his colleagues then ran a set of analyses comparing prices paid by communities before and after each hurricane. They also contrasted price increases paid by low-income and high-income households as well as communities outside of the areas affected by the storms. Crunching the Numbers “Doing this triple-difference regression analysis, we find that lower-income communities pay an average 2.9 percent more for their groceries. That’s in the eight weeks following each of these disasters,” says Schmidt. "The effect varies. But it is roughly commensurate with the overall economic damage wrought by each hurricane, with Katrina being the worst. Here low-income families were seeing a 5.1 percent increase in the cost of food and basic goods, relative to richer households." William Schmidt The study points to a variety of mechanisms driving these effects. As Schmidt and his co-authors hypothesize, there is evidence that the same disruptions lead to fewer price promotions. They also see more frequent stockouts of low-priced goods. At the same time, there’s a shift in household purchasing from low to higher-priced products. These effects are long-lasting, says Schmidt. According to the study, post-hurricane inflation in the prices paid by consumers continues to affect poorer families for eight or more weeks. This amounts to months of economic hardship for those least resilient to its effects. Schmidt calls this “permanent inflation.” Pursuing Equity in Crisis Operations managers and policymakers should factor these findings into emergency relief efforts, say Schmidt and his colleague. The goal should be to service communities more equitably. So, there should be more thought to the provision of essential food and household goods. Also, there should be a particular focus on those most vulnerable to natural disasters and their effects. Current disaster nutrition relief programs are typically short. Authorities might do better by vulnerable communities by also extending things like cash and voucher programs, says Schmidt. And they should prioritize the ordering, shipment, and warehousing of essential goods. “Our research shows that hurricanes cost certain groups of Americans more than others in the longer run. The permanent inflation on food stuff and household necessities that we find constitutes an additional burden on part of our national fabric. These are people who are least positioned to afford it.” Hurricanes and the economy are both sought-after topics - and if you're covering, we can help. William Schmidt is an associate professor of Information Systems & Operations Management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. His research focuses on understanding and mitigating operational disruptions, and applications of machine learning in operational decision making.  To connect with William to arrange an interview - simply click his icon now.

Expert Prediction: Possible Decline in Voters This Election

Dr. Meena Bose, professor of political science, executive dean of the Public Policy and Public Service program, and executive director of the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, talked to Newsweek about a possible uptick in Americans who choose not to vote in the 2024 election. A CBS News/YouGov poll found that only 80% have definite plans to cast ballots. “Voter outreach, active campaigning and encouraging party members to vote are all key strategies to building political support for the presidential campaign,” Dr. Bose said. Dr. Meena Bose is Executive Dean of Hofstra University’s Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs. She is available to speak with media - simply click on her icon now to arrange an interview today.

Meena Bose
1 min. read

One week to go - Let's look at the role debates play in US Elections

US Presidential debates are a cornerstone of American democratic tradition, playing a critical role in shaping public perception and voter decision-making during election cycles. This topic is not only newsworthy because of its historical significance but also due to its influence on political discourse, media coverage, and the democratic process. The evolution of these debates reflects broader societal changes, technological advancements, and shifts in political strategy. Furthermore, presidential debates provide a platform for candidates to present their policies and personalities, thereby directly impacting election outcomes. Key story angles include: Historical Evolution of Presidential Debates: Exploring the origins, key moments, and changes in format and style of presidential debates from the Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960 to the present day. Impact on Voter Perception and Behavior: Analyzing how debates influence public opinion, voter turnout, and the overall electoral process. Media's Role in Shaping Debates: Investigating the role of media in organizing, broadcasting, and moderating debates, including the influence of television, social media, and real-time fact-checking. Debate Strategies and Candidate Performance: Examining how candidates prepare for debates, notable performances, gaffes, and their impact on campaign momentum. Civic Engagement and Public Discourse: Discussing the role of debates in promoting civic engagement, political education, and public discourse on key issues facing the nation. Technological Advancements and Future Trends: Exploring how technology has transformed debates, from live streaming and interactive features to virtual debates and the use of AI in analysis. These angles offer journalists a comprehensive framework to explore the historical significance and ongoing impact of US Presidential debates on American politics and society. Connect with an Expert about the history of Presidential Debates: Jingsi Christina Wu Associate Professor of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations · Hofstra University John Koch Senior Lecturer and Director of Debate · Vanderbilt University Kevin Wagner, Ph.D. Professor and Department Chair · Florida Atlantic University Juliana Fernandes Assistant Professor · University of Florida Sandra Pavelka, Ph.D. Expert in political science and justice · Florida Gulf Coast University To search our full list of experts visit www.expertfile.com Photo credit: Library of Congress

2 min. read

First in Delaware to Offer MR-Guided Ultrasound for Treatment of Essential and Parkinson’s Tremor

Revolutionary technology gives patients immediate relief from debilitating tremors without the need for invasive surgery. ChristianaCare is the first health care provider in Delaware to offer FDA-approved focused ultrasound treatment for people suffering from essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease. The new option – called MR-guided focused ultrasound – uses sound wave energy to destroy precise areas of brain tissue that is the source of the tremor. No surgical incision or anesthesia is necessary, and many patients experience immediate and significant reduction in tremors, which can make daily activities challenging. Dr. Martello explains that the procedure involves the use of high-frequency sound waves directed with pinpoint precision by magnetic resonance imaging to ablate, or burn, the focal point deep within the brain that is causing tremors. “This minimally invasive technology dramatically improves the lives of patients with essential tremor and tremor-dominant Parkinson’s who haven’t fully responded to traditional treatments,’’ said Justin Martello, M.D., director of the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Programs, and Focused Ultrasound Program at ChristianaCare. What is tremor? Tremor is a neurological condition that includes involuntary shaking or trembling movements in one or more parts of the body. It most commonly affects the hands and can make daily tasks such as writing, eating and using a computer or phone extremely difficult. Tremor affects approximately 1% of the population overall and 5% of adults age 60+. It is expected to increasingly impact Delawareans as the state’s population ages. Essential tremor is the most common type of tremor. It can occur at any age but is most common in older adults. Tremor is also the most well-known symptom of Parkinson’s disease. An estimated 1.5 million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects movement and can also affect speech, balance and cognitive function. A newer, better option for patients who don’t respond to medications The procedure of MR-guided focused ultrasound involves the use of high-frequency sound waves directed with pinpoint precision by magnetic resonance imaging to ablate, or burn, the focal point deep within the brain that is causing tremors. Patients are fitted with a frame affixed to a specialized helmet that combines the focused energy of more than 1,000 high-frequency sonic beams directed through the skull. The treatment does not require cutting through the skull, or radiation, as in gamma knife technology. “Today, there are basically three options for managing tremor,” said Pulak Ray, M.D., of Delaware Neurosurgical Group and associate director of the Focused Ultrasound program. “The first is medication, which is effective and affordable for many patients, but its effectiveness tends to diminish over time. The second is deep-brain stimulation, which is the most invasive and costly treatment option. The newest is MR-guided ultrasound, which tends to be the preferable option for most patients who do not respond well to medication, because it is a simple, non-invasive outpatient procedure that is highly effective, safe and produces instant results.” Benefits of MR-guided Focused Ultrasound MR-guided focused ultrasound reduces tremor immediately, with shorter recovery time, lower risk of side effects and lower associated health care expenses compared to surgical alternatives. This treatment dramatically improves patient experience and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. For many patients, MR-guided ultrasound reduces their dependence on caregivers to assist with activities of daily living. Candidates must first undergo a CT scan to ensure a skull density sufficiently thick to accommodate the procedure. The patient is awake during the procedure and situated within an MRI machine for real-time imaging of the brain. The physician tests the precise location by heating the area, then ensuring the patient is able to control tremors by tracing lines on a spirograph. At that point, the physician then permanently ablates the focal point, usually a sphere a few millimeters in length. “Our team is very excited to bring this technology to Delaware and to open up access to potentially life-changing treatment that until now has required long wait times and significant travel for patients,” said Kim Gannon, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the comprehensive stroke program and physician executive of Neuroscience Service Line at ChristianaCare. “Many tremor patients have suffered for years or even decades with this debilitating and progressive condition and helping them live a more active and independent lifestyle is extremely rewarding.” MR-guided focused ultrasound is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.

Justin Martello, M.D.
3 min. read