The University of Massachusetts Amherst


2018 PEP Fellow, Elizabeth Evans, research on obstacles to treating opioid use disorder with medication featured in Medicine News Line

In an effort to find ways to improve long-term outcomes for people with opioid use disorder, 2018 PEP Fellow, Elizabeth Evans set out to study the obstacles to treating this chronic condition with an effective medication, buprenorphine-naloxone. “Very few people with opioid use disorder ever get treatment for it – 10 percent or less,” says Evans in a Medicine News Line story. “Of those who do, few remain in treatment long enough to really benefit from it.” In a newly published paper in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, lead author Evans and colleagues identify factors that inhibit the long-term use of buprenorphine, which was approved in 2002 by the FDA to treat opioid use disorder. Story also featured in News Medical Life SciencesScience CodexBusiness WestHealio, MassLive, and Boston Globe.

Julie Brigham-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, participated in “On Point” discussion about climate changes in the Arctic

Julie Brigham-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, participated in the radio program “On Point” on Aug. 16 as part of a discussion of climate changes in the Arctic. According to the program, the accelerated sea loss caused by the warming planet has raised the stakes for the region.

2019 PEP Fellow, Mike Knodler, featured in NEPR story on the use of “zipper merge” technique to relieve highway congestion

Drivers who confront lane closures or other merging situations should use the “zipper merge” technique says Mike Knodler, 2019 PEP Fellow in a NEPR news story.  With the zipper merge, drivers use all open lanes as long as possible and then take turns at the merge point. Knodler and other traffic engineers say the zipper merge is safer and keeps traffic flowing. Story also featured in Maine Public.

Julie Brigham-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, comments in Science Magazine news story about the increasing ship traffic in the Arctic

Julie Brigham-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, comments in a Science Magazine news story about the increasing ship traffic in the Arctic seas off Alaska in recent years, partly due to climate change and melting ice. “The overall picture is mixed,” she says. “We’re opening up an entire environment that has otherwise been cut off from human influence.” She also notes that funding for research in that region is relatively limited so the increased activity may be limited.

2017 PEP Fellow, Erica Scharrer, quoted in Western Mass News story on the role of video games in mass shootings in the U.S.

In a Western Mass News stories on mass shootings in the U.S., 2017 PEP Fellow, Erica Sharrer, responds to politicians who blame violent video games saying it is impossible to trace a link between video games and mass shootings. She also says that other countries consume the same video games as the U.S. and don’t have the same rate of mass shootings.

2015 PEP Fellow, Michael A. Rawlins, quoted on WWLP TV about the record warm July temperatures in Western Massachusetts.

A local weather reporter from WWLP TV notes that Western Massachusetts experienced the sixth warmest July on record and quoted Michael A. Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow, saying Amherst tied with last year as the eighth warmest July on record with an average temperature of 74.2 degrees.

2018 PEP Fellow, Donald T. Tomaskovic-Devey, writes an essay in The Conversation discussing President Donald J. Trump's political strategy of promoting white racial resentment

2018 PEP Fellow, Donald T. Tomaskovic-Devey, and colleague write an essay in The Conversation where they look at why promoting white racial resentment is an effective political strategy for President Donald J. Trump, but it does little to address the issues of low wages and job insecurity that are the sources of tension. They say economic factors that are used to divide people by race have negative effects on all low-wage workers. Reprinted in the Houston ChronicleChicago Tribune and Honolulu Civic Beat.