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.
Dec 23, 2020
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.
Dec 18, 2020
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.
Dec 11, 2020
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.
Oct 9, 2020