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Policy Pub Returns with Hot Topics, Sparkling Conversation

Policy Pub, the college's popular public forum series at Backwoods Bistro, returns for a second season this fall with topics that address key issues affecting everyone’s lives. Three new monthly sessions of the Pub will feature brief, plain-language talks by our faculty, followed by questions and discussion from the public.

The fall 2017 series kicks off Tuesday, September 12, at Backwoods Bistro with a presentation by Assistant Professor of Geography Christopher Uejio: “Win/Win Opportunities for Improving Health in the Face of Climate Change.”

Uejio acknowledges that “win” is not a word that usually comes up in discussions about climate change – let alone twice.

“This is a very real environmental crisis,” he said. “We want to look at ways to strengthen our institutions and infrastructure in order to help society withstand and recover from disasters as well as climate change.”

Uejio is well versed in this topic. His research focuses on health effects related to climate change, including heat waves and diseases transmitted by mosquitoes (Zika) and water. He co-authored the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework and frequently works with health departments to understand and adapt to climate change.

In 2016, Uejio received a $1 million grant to help county health departments across Florida assess potential environmental problems that would affect public health and develop action plans to combat these issues. Earlier this year, he published research drawing a link between the impact of climate change and untreated drinking water on the rate of gastrointestinal illness in children.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and will last about one hour.

Policy Pubs take place in the relaxed atmosphere in the bar area of Backwoods Bistro at the corner of Tennessee and Gadsden streets. Guests can enjoy food and drink from the menu while listening to and talking about the evening’s topic. Because these events are very well attended, the public is encouraged to arrive early to get a good parking spot in the restaurant’s lot or surrounding streets and a good table inside.

The fall series takes place on the second Tuesdays of September, October and November. It continues October 10 with a presentation by Fran Berry of the Askew School of Public Administration, “Medical Marijuana and Same Sex Marriage Laws: Understanding State Choices.” Berry will focus on the issues of medical marijuana and marriage equality to illuminate the processes by which states determine the laws that will govern their citizens, sometimes at odds with federal laws and policy.

The final Policy Pub of the fall will feature Anne Barrett, director of the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, talking about “Ageism in an Aging Society: Why It Persists, Why We Should Care.” That session takes place November 14. The series will then take a break for the holidays and return in January for three more monthly sessions.

Policy Pub grew from an idea by Professor of Sociology Deana Rohlinger to bring policy experts and the public together for “hot topics and sparkling conversation." It began in fall 2016 with three sessions on various aspects of the national elections. The series continued to play to packed houses in winter 2017, featuring such topics as sea level rise, robot cars and the future of transportation, and the impact of public policy on the health of women and children.