These experts from the UW-Madison faculty and staff have agreed to comment on breaking news, ongoing developments and trends in their areas of expertise. If you need help arranging interviews, email University Communications.
Experts on today’s news…
Nancy Wong on: Karl Lagerfeld legacy
Pioneering fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld died at the age of 85, leaving behind a legacy of pioneering designs and devotion to all things fashionable. Nancy Wong, an expert on luxury marketing can comment.
"I think Lagerfeld is truly a 'fusion/visionary' in the design/retail scene in his ability to merge couture/ready-to-wear/more recently mass market (H&M)," Wong says. "He is a polyglot not only in languages but also art forms and medium, which is what makes his work boundaries spanning and ever changing. He reminds me of an aging academic, who may 'retire' from his/her job but returns to the lab everyday to work with graduate students and continue to publish because learning and work is an integral part of his life."
Erin Barbato on: Trump declares national emergency to build wall
Erin Barbato, an expert on immigration law and director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic, can comment on President Trump's announcement that he would declare a national emergency in order to get funding for a wall between the United States and Mexico.
Barry Burden, an expert on American politics and director of the Elections Research Center, can also discuss. "Democrats at all levels will oppose this action, so the interesting responses will be among Republicans who had previously criticized President Obama for taking unilateral executive actions without congressional approval."
Tracy Saladar on: Vaccinations
Tracy Saladar, an expert on pediatric primary care, can discuss vaccinations. While all states require immunizations for children to attend school, 47 states -- all but California, Mississippi and West Virginia -- allow parents to opt out of vaccines if they have religious beliefs against immunizations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Among those 47 states, also allow parents to opt out of vaccines if they have personal, moral or philosophical beliefs against immunizations. Washington and Oregon are two of those states and both are experiencing a measles outbreak. The other 16 are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Vermont.
"Vaccines are shown by scientific evidence to be safe and effective," Saladar says. "When the vast majority of the population is vaccinated, it creates what is known as 'herd immunity.' This means that high vaccination rates offer protection to individuals who are not vaccinated because they are too young or too vulnerable. The best way to protect yourself and your children from infectious diseases like measles is to be fully vaccinated."
Lisa Cadmus-Bertram on: Staying active in winter
Cold weather, icy sidewalks, and short daylight hours can make it hard for people to stay as physically active as they should be. Physical activity expert Dr. Cadmus-Bertram says it’s critical to find activities that you truly enjoy and focus on near-term benefits like stress reduction so that exercise doesn’t feel like a chore. "Engaging your family and friends to exercise with you is another great way to stay on track," she says and suggests looking for free or low-cost indoor options at local community centers, schools, and shopping malls. Dr. Cadmus-Bertram is available to comment on any topics related to getting and staying physically active, including the role of technologies such as fitness trackers and smartphone apps.
Hilary Dugan on: Environmental impact of road salt
Road salt helps keep our streets and sidewalks clear each winter, but it comes with a cost - North America's freshwater lakes are getting saltier. What does that mean for the plants and animals that call them home? Can we put winter road maintenance on a "low-salt" diet? Hilary Dugan, an expert on lake water quality, can talk about what can be done to be "salt smart," and how innovative advancements and low-tech approaches are helping solve the problem.