The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Why Public Engagement?

As citizens and as scholars, we have an interest in today’s debates about public policy, conversations about the state of the world, and imagining a different future. Read more about the Public Engagement Projects' Mission and Vision

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Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article reporting on conflicts that have arisen when medical providers chose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article reporting on conflicts that have arisen when medical providers chose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19, sometimes telling patients incorrect information about vaccine efficacy or safety. Greyson says, “Spreading doubts and concerns when there isn’t actual evidence to back it up and it’s in contradiction of the best evidence, it’s pretty concerning and arguably irresponsible if you’re a health care professional.” Read more at Columbia Missourian.

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, wrote a column calling for more equality in economic development toward LGBTQI+ programs, and better inclusion of LGBTQI+ projects on crowd-funding platforms

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, wrote a column calling for more equality in economic development toward LGBTQI+ programs, and better inclusion of LGBTQI+ projects on crowd-funding platforms. Lee Badgett explains, “Economic fairness and human rights mean that this work is not an option — it’s essential for meeting LGBTI people’s needs. By combining the pandemic sense of urgency with practical economic concerns, we can jumpstart direct investments in improving LGBTI livelihoods.” Read more at The Advocate.

Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, is quoted in a pair of articles about COVID vaccination communication efforts

Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, is quoted in a pair of articles about COVID vaccination communication efforts. About the impact misinformation pertaining to fertility fears surrounding the vaccine is having among women, Greyson says, “They are largely just recycling things that scare people about previous vaccines onto these new vaccines, whether or not it makes scientific sense." In the second article, about pediatricians’ efforts to persuade parents to vaccinate their children, Greyson says pediatricians “are trusted by parents more than medicine or science in general.” Read more at VTDigger, and Yahoo!News.

Erin Baker, 2017 PEP Fellow, and Matthew Lackner, 2018 PEP Fellow, write that the U.S. government’s approval of the country’s first big offshore wind farm, to be located near Martha’s Vineyard, is a breakthrough for the industry

Erin Baker, 2017 PEP Fellow, and Matthew Lackner, 2018 PEP Fellow, write that the U.S. government’s approval of the country’s first big offshore wind farm, to be located near Martha’s Vineyard, is a breakthrough for the industry. They write, “Every year of delay for a large-scale wind farm costs the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars in climate benefits. The Biden administration calculates that its new wind power goal would avoid 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, roughly equivalent to taking 17 million cars off the road for a year.” Baker and Lackner are both faculty with the Wind Energy Center at UMass. Read more at The ConversationNew Haven RegisterThe Register CitizenSingularityHub, and Australian Times.

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, writes that the U.S. spends substantially less on early education and childcare than comparable nations, citing data that middle-class families spend 14% of their income on childcare each year

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, writes that the U.S. spends substantially less on early education and childcare than comparable nations, citing data that middle-class families spend 14% of their income on childcare each year. She says the Biden administration’s American Families Plan, which calls for higher government spending on early education and childcare, "could dramatically change the lives of working families, improve the long-term life trajectories for many Americans and strengthen the U.S. economy.” Read more at The Conversation.

Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, comments on the U.S. and Canada’s vaccination rate

Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, comments on the U.S. and Canada’s vaccination rate.  Greyson says that vaccine hesitation doesn’t fully account for why fewer people are getting vaccinated now compared with last month. Greyson explains, “Even where people are eligible, there are barriers that range from online enrollment systems to language barriers to transportation,” she said. “They get in the way of people receiving vaccines, and access barriers themselves can sort of see hesitancy.” Read more at Global News.

Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, comments in an article reporting that Governor Charlie Baker plans to close the four mass COVID-19 vaccination sites in the Boston area by the end of June

Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, comments in an article reporting that Governor Charlie Baker plans to close the four mass COVID-19 vaccination sites in the Boston area by the end of June. Greyson says, “The vaccine landscape has changed. We need to shift from this phase of rationing vaccine to a phase where we’re ensuring access to all.” Read more at NBC Boston.

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, answers questions about President Biden’s proposed family leave benefit

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, answers questions about President Biden’s proposed family leave benefit. She says, "Researchers have found that paid leave is good for business. It increases worker retention, productivity and loyalty, while also allowing smaller businesses to compete more fairly with big companies. Public opinion polls and surveys have long found that most Americans, including small-business owners, support paid family leave." Read more at The Conversation.

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In appreciation of their generous support, the UMass Public Engagement Project would like to thank the Office of the ProvostUniversity Relations, and the Colleges of Natural SciencesSocial and Behavioral Sciences Humanities and Fine ArtsEngineeringPublic Health and Health Sciences, and Education.  The UMass Public Engagement Project also recognizes and appreciates in-kind contributions and collaborations with the Center for Research on Families and the Institute for Social Science Research