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COVID-19 Experts Available for Interview

To arrange an interview with an RTI expert, please contact RTI News at news@rti.org

Misinformation: Brian Southwell, PhD

Brian Southwell is an expert in communication and human behavior, as well as misinformation and how it spreads. He can speak to tactics for communicating to the public the importance of getting a seasonal flu vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic. He can also speak to the rapid spread of misinformation that we've seen throughout the pandemic and how to counter it.

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Epidemiology: Pia MacDonald, PhD

Pia MacDonald, Epidemiologist and Senior Research Director of Public Health, is using her experience from past pandemics to track the potential spread and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. MacDonald can provide insights and recommendations for best practices for effective COVID testing, contact tracing and screening processes to curb infection rates and protect lives.

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COVID-19 Screening: Meera Viswanathan, PhD

Meera Viswanathan is the Director of the RTI-UNC Evidence-based Practice Center. Dr. Viswanathan is available for comment on her findings in a recent publication, which suggests that screening methods are highly likely to miss people infected with COVID-19. She can discuss the key measures that could make COVID-19 screening more effective.

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Chronic Diseases and COVID-19: Rachel Nugent, PhD

Rachel Nugent, Vice President and Director of RTI's Global Center for Noncommunicable Diseases, is available to speak to the severe consequences of COVID-19 when paired with a pre-existing chronic disease.

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Learning Loss: Joseph DeStefano

Joseph DeStefano is a Senior Director in RTI's International Education program. He can speak to the impact of COVID-19 related school closures around the world and the simultaneous learning loss expected. RTI's learning loss research aims to inform re-opening plans taking into consideration students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

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Education in Africa: Benjamin Piper, PhD

Benjamin Piper, PhD, is the Senior Director of RTI’s Africa Education program can speak to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on academic systems across low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Piper can share more on what the school year will look like for students throughout Africa, the disparities they face, and the expanding education crisis because of COVID-19.  

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Addiction Treatment: Tami Mark

Tami Mark, an internationally known health economist and expert on behavioral health care financing, is available to comment on the challenges posed by COVID-19 for people seeking treatment for substance use disorders.

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Racial Disparity: LaShawn Glasgow, DrPH

LaShawn Glasgow is the Director of Community and Workplace Health at RTI. Dr. Glasgow is available to comment on COVID-19’s impact on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups across the U.S.

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International Development: Paul Weisenfeld

Paul Weisenfeld is the Executive Vice President for International Development at RTI. He can speak to initiatives and policies that could be used to combat a hunger crisis overseas.

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Domestic Food Safety: Ellen Shumaker, PhD

Ellen Shumaker is an expert in food safety, food science, and risk communication. Dr. Shumaker has worked on developing food safety training using immersive technology to provide innovative training solutions. Innovative technology could be used as a solution to continue to ensure food safety across the nation throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Domestic Food Waste and Supply: Mary Muth, PhD

Mary Muth conducts research studies to analyze the impacts of policies, regulations, and other initiatives affecting food and agriculture. Dr. Muth’s work has been published widely, and she can speak on a range of topics involving food in relation to COVID-19, with an emphasis on food waste.

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Domestic Food Security: Andrea Anater, PhD

Andrea Anater’s work focuses on behavioral, cultural, and environmental factors and social constructs that influence health behavior change, relative to nutrition-related chronic disease prevention and food insecurity. She can speak to the impact COVID-19 will have on food security across the U.S.

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Wearable Technology: Robert Furberg, PhD

Robert Furberg, a Research Health Informaticist, is available to comment on the benefit of wearable technology and sensors for public health research in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Infectious Disease Prevention & Control: Richard Reithinger, PhD

Richard Reithinger, Vice President of Global Health at RTI, is available to comment on infectious disease prevention and control, and the importance of essential health services in relation to COVID-19.

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Education: Angela Quick, EdD

Angela Quick, Vice President of Education and Workforce Development at RTI, is available to comment on the impact and challenges the COVID-19 pandemic will bring to K-12 and higher education schools, districts, and systems.

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Epidemiology, Zoonotic Diseases: Donal Bisanzio, PhD

Donal Bisanzio, a Senior Epidemiologist, is available to comment on zoonotic diseases—infectious diseases passed from animals to humans—in relation to COVID-19.

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Courts and Corrections: Matthew DeMichele, PhD

Matthew DeMichele, Director of the Center for Courts and Corrections Research at RTI Iis available to comment on potential challenges inmates may face while under the recently mandated in-cell quarantine and adversely, the risks of re-entry if released from incarceration early.

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Gender-Specific Risks: Wendee Wechsberg, PhD

Wendee Wechsberg, Director of RTI International’s Global Gender Center, is available to comment on the potential risks vulnerable populations—specifically women—may face throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Justice System, Intimate Partner Violence: Tasseli McKay, MPH

Tasseli McKay examines domestic violence in marginalized communities and relationships. Findings from her recent study evaluates instances of domestic violence following a male partner’s return from incarceration. These results are applicable to the impending release of incarcerated individuals in light of COVID-19.

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Telehealth: Saira Haque, PhD

Saira Haque is a Senior Health Informaticist and the Director of Telehealth Research at RTI International. Dr. Haque is available for interviews regarding telehealth and technology. She has recently written two blogs for the peer-reviewed journal Medical Care on using telehealth to combat COVID-19.

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Global Food Insecurity

Tracy Slaybaugh-Mitchell is an agriculturalist focused on building resilience and food security. She can speak to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the global hunger crisis.

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