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Published on: Feb 4, 2021

The Evidence-to-Impact Podcast, from Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute, asks the question: How can academia and government work together to tackle our country’s biggest problems?

In its newest series, aptly titled “The Pandemic Perspective,” the Evidence-to-Impact Podcast aims to bring together Penn State researchers and government partners to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed, collided, and even collapsed parts of our society, systems, and institutions. By bringing together these two communities, the conversations aim to bridge the gap between research insights and real-world solutions in Pennsylvania and beyond.

Hosted by Michael Donovan, associate director of the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative and director of Policy and Outreach for the Penn State Administrative Data Accelerator, and produced by Melissa Krug, public relations specialist for the Social Science Research Institute, episodes explore relevant policy issues such as the opioid crisis, health care in rural communities, and our aging population..

“We have had the opportunity to introduce members of the research, policy and practitioner communities to each other, and help find common ground,” said Donovan. “With our newest series, we explore how the pandemic has impacted a variety of important areas and vital issues such as special education delivery to K-12 students, for example, or how local and state governments have adapted to shifting their services virtually at the drop of a hat.”

In Episode 8 and Episode 9 of the series, Donovan moderates a two-part discussion with Commissioner Mike Pipe, Centre County chair of the Board of Commissioners and co-chair of the Election Board of Centre County, and Chris Witko, associate director of the School of Public Policy and professor of public policy and political science. The episodes cover how local and state governments responded to COVID-19 as well as vaccine distribution, unemployment, health care messaging and the 2020 Election.

The Evidence-to-Impact podcast has already showcased a diverse group of researchers from the colleges of Health and Human Development, Agricultural Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Education, along with the School of Public Policy and researchers from Commonwealth Campuses. In addition, the variety of government partners and practitioners come from a range of agencies such as the Bureau of Special Education from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Office of Health Equity for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

“It’s been a great opportunity to forge new connections with government partners and practitioners,” said Krug. “They come to our table with decades of experience and institutional knowledge, so it is exciting to hear all of the insight come out of the exchanges with Penn State researchers.”

The series is produced and recorded in partnership with the Social Science Research Institute, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, and the College of Health and Human Development

Episodes are released monthly and made available for multiple platforms including Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Blubrry and more. Find previous episodes on the podcast’s website or follow the podcast on Twitter for updates.

News Topics: EIC Podcast, COVID-19