After the Fact

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Stat: 30 percent—According to the Pew Research Center, 30% of Americans don’t intend to get a coronavirus vaccination. Story: There’s a light appearing at the end of a long tunnel in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic: the emergence of effective vaccines to prevent its spread. Yet, even with a solution in sight, public trust is still a hurdle—with an “infodemic” of misinformation occurring alongside the pandemic. In this episode, we discuss the facts about the science of the vaccines—and the importance of communicating accurate information to the public—with Dr. Rebecca Wurtz, infectious disease physician and associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Division of Health Policy and Management.
Stat: 70%: The percentage of debt collection cases that result in default judgment, or automatic win, to plaintiffs.   Story: Debt collection cases are the most common civil court cases today, but many Americans are navigating the civil legal system without legal representation and paying heavy consequences. In this episode we hear from Erika Rickard, who leads Pew’s work to modernize civil court systems, on the issues surrounding debt collection cases and how the pandemic is bringing some courtrooms online. We’ll also speak to Chief Justice Nathan Hecht from the Supreme Court of Texas about how data on debt collection cases is informing the state’s efforts to ensure the court process is open, fair, and transparent.
Stat: $1.24 trillion: The 50-state pension funding gap—the shortfall between what all the states have funded and what they actually owed public employee retirees—as of 2018. Story: Public employees count on pensions when they retire, but most states haven’t adequately funded their obligations. As of 2018, the funding gap for all the states totaled $1.24 trillion. Without sustainable funding, the cost of retiree benefits can mean less money is available for schools, roads, or public safety. In this episode, we hear from Greg Mennis, who leads Pew’s efforts to help states find innovative solutions to close the funding gap and save taxpayer dollars. We also speak with Marcie Frost, who leads the California Public Employees' Retirement System—the country’s largest public pension system—on how stress testing that pension fund helps policymakers understand potential costs and liabilities as they make decisions to help secure retirement benefits for 2 million public employees, retirees, and their families.   
Stat: $8 billion: The cost of vehicle collisions with wildlife each year in the U.S. Story: In America’s West, animal herds follow ancient migration routes that are bisected by roads and highways. In this episode, we hear from Matt Skroch, who leads Pew’s efforts to conserve wildlife corridors, and Jodi Hilty, of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, about innovative solutions that make roads safer for both people and animals.
Stat: 18%: The percentage of Americans with opioid use disorder who receive medication as part of their treatment. Story: As the coronavirus pandemic grips the world, the opioid epidemic continues to affect millions of Americans. Several states are developing innovative ways to tackle this public health issue. In this episode, we speak with Beth Connolly, who leads Pew’s research on substance use disorders, and Louisiana Representative Paula Davis, who helped ensure effective treatment in her state.
Stat: $850 billion: The damage caused by flood-related disasters in the U.S. since 2000. Story: Floods are the costliest natural disasters in the United States, but there are ways to prepare for the storms ahead. In this episode of our “States of Innovation” season, we hear from Laura Lightbody, who directs Pew’s work to better prepare communities for floods, about how states such as Texas and South Carolina are reducing their risks through innovative solutions. We also speak with South Carolina state Representative G. Murrell Smith Jr. and the Coastal Conservation League’s Laura Cantral about the state’s newly founded Office of Resilience and efforts to minimize the effect of flooding on taxpayers, communities, and the environment.
Stat: 12 million: The number of Americans who use payday loans each year. Story: Payday loans can help people facing an unexpected financial crunch—but can also bring unexpected problems. Ohio adopted an innovative new law to protect consumers who were being dragged into a cycle of debt by the very loans they thought would help them. We learn more from Nick Bourke, who directs Pew’s consumer finance work, and Pastor Carl Ruby, who saw the downside to the loans and helped lead the fight to change the law.
Stat: 67% of U.S. adults think local elected officials care about the people they represent, according to the Pew Research Center. Story: In the first episode of our season “States of Innovation,” Sue Urahn, Pew’s new president and CEO, discusses the role of state governments as “laboratories of our democracy,” where innovative thinking can be paired with policies informed by data to address long-standing problems.
In a new season of Pew’s “After the Fact” podcast, we look at innovative solutions to some long-standing problems, including how small loans can be more affordable for consumers, how communities can better prepare for floods, and ways for migrating animals to cross highways that keep them—and drivers—safe. These innovations are possible thanks to state leaders around the country who are working together to make people’s lives better. Join us as we bring you five stories about states of innovation—and meet Pew’s new president and CEO, Sue Urahn, too. She tells us about how these sorts of innovations occur when data and evidence give policymakers from all backgrounds the common ground they need to truly collaborate.  
In this bonus episode of our “Conversations on Science” season, Sudip Parikh, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, discusses the important pathways connecting science and society. From the coronavirus pandemic to relationship building with faith leaders, Parikh reflects on his career in the lab and the halls of Congress, and the impact that the 172-year-old organization he leads has on the scientific community and the world.
In this extended conversation with France Córdova, we hear how her passion for science and public policy took her on a quest for scientific truth in leadership positions at NASA and the National Science Foundation. Córdova also discusses the importance of collaboration and inclusiveness to the future of scientific discovery and how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the larger scientific community.
In this bonus episode of our “Conversations on Science” season, we share an extended talk with Carlo Rovelli, a theoretical physicist and bestselling author who believes science is just as creative as it is logical. “Science starts,” says Rovelli, “in the life of each scientist with wonder and a mystery.”
Stat: 54%: The share of Americans who view scientists as good communicators. Story: In the last episode of our science season, we explore how scientists communicate: What is the state of our national conversation on science, and who is doing the talking? Guests include Laura Lindenfeld, executive director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, and Shirley Malcom of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Stat: 60%: According to the Pew Research Center, 6 out of 10 Americans say scientists should take an active role in policy debates about scientific issues. Story: As we continue our “Conversations on Science” season, we talk to Esther Krofah, executive director of FasterCures; Molly Irwin, vice president, research and science, at The Pew Charitable Trusts; and Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, about the intersections between scientific research, the public, and policymakers today.
Stat: 79%: Percentage of the U.S. population that agrees that science has made the world a better place. Story: Scientific discovery shapes the world—from our medical care to how we live, learn, and work. In this episode, we explore the process of discovery and how it is playing out during the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll hear from leading experts on the science of the coronavirus, the pipeline for potential vaccines and treatment, and how these times are changing the way we conduct science.
Stat: 35%: The percentage of Americans  in 2019 who report a great deal of confidence in scientists to act in the public interest, up from 21% in 2016. Story: Public trust in science is front and center today as researchers seek to learn more about the coronavirus. In this episode, France Córdova, former National Science Foundation director, discusses confidence in scientific research, and Cary Funk, the Pew Research Center’s director of science and society research, shares survey results on how the public perceives scientists. We’ll also hear from Sudip Parikh, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, on how speaking with precision and jargon creates separation between scientists and the public.   
Stat: 79%: The percentage of people who agree that science has made life easier for most of us. Story: Science may sometimes seem abstract, but its benefits can be seen everywhere—from the technology in smartphones to the medicines we take. In this episode, we explore what science really is (and what it’s not) with Ira Flatow, host of the popular “Science Friday” radio program, and Carlo Rovelli, a world-renowned physicist and bestselling writer.
Stat: 78%: The percentage of Americans who say it makes sense that studies on the coronavirus may present conflicting advice because research is constantly improving. Story: In the first episode of our new season “Conversations on Science,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discusses the importance of science in our daily lives, especially amid the pandemic, and shares his own story about how he fell in love with science.
In a new season of Pew’s “After the Fact” podcast, we talk about science: what it is, how it’s conducted and explained to the public, and how it affects our lives. We speak with scientists and researchers—from Dr. Anthony Fauci and Pew biomedical scholar Pamela Bjorkman, who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, to “Science Friday” host Ira Flatow and physicist and bestselling author Carlo Rovelli, who speak about the scientific process and why it matters. Join us as we explore science and envision how what’s happening today may shape the future of our world.  
Story: With summer heating up, we’re again sharing our conversation with Pew biomedical scholar and Princeton scientist Lindy McBride about one of the peskiest and deadliest insects on the planet: the mosquito. Listen in for the facts about mosquitoes and why they find some people tastier than others.
Stat: 78 percent: About 8 in 10 adults feel that libraries help them find information that is trustworthy and reliable. Story: Everybody knows what happened on the Fourth of July, but what about the First of July? That’s the anniversary of America’s first free library. Established in 1731 by Ben Franklin, it marked the democratization of information. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden—the first woman and African American in that role—talks about how libraries and librarians continue that mission to this day.  
Stat: 87 percent: Americans who say they are following news about the coronavirus outbreak fairly or very closely. Story: According to the World Health Organization, people are not only living through an epidemic but also an “infodemic”—a surge of information about COVID-19 that has made it hard for people to know which news and guidance about the virus is accurate. In a conversation with Alan Miller, founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project, we discuss how to sort fact from fiction today.
Stat: 48% of U.S. adults have cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. Story: What do zebrafish have to do with human health? As it turns out, they can help researchers understand how and why heart disease happens. We spoke to Pew biomedical scholar (2002) Steven Farber at the Carnegie Institution for Science to learn more about his work, which is revealing new strategies to combat heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Stat: 21 million: The number of Americans not connected to broadband internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Story: While most Americans are managing remote work, learning, and even participating in social gatherings online during the pandemic, there are still millions of Americans who don’t have access to high-speed internet where they live. Kathryn de Wit, manager of Pew’s broadband research initiative, explains who’s not online and shares what some states and communities are doing to bridge connectivity gaps.
Story: With schools and universities closed and millions now learning and working from home because of the coronavirus, Pew’s latest edition of Trend magazine focuses on the topic of learning. In this rebroadcast featuring two Stanford University researchers with an essay in the magazine, you’ll hear about how breakthroughs in neuroscience and technology have given us insights into the human mind and how those findings are being applied in classrooms today.
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Podcast Details

Created by
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Podcast Status
Active
Started
Jan 9th, 2017
Latest Episode
Mar 12th, 2021
Release Period
2 per month
Episodes
118
Avg. Episode Length
18 minutes
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic
Language
English

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