The COVID-19 pandemic presents a new challenge to how Congress conducts business, writes Prof. Quentin Hodgson. How can the United States leverage existing technologies so lawmakers can continue to work safely and securely?
As physical distancing becomes the new norm, so too does telework. But Prof. Kathryn Edwards and RAND colleagues ask, should federal agencies maintain their remote operations for the long haul? As those involved with national security agencies, operations, and workforce issues know, this is not a decision to make lightly.
There's widespread agreement that incarceration has adverse effects on health and health equity, not just for prisoners but also for families and communities, writes Prof. Douglas Yeung. That's one important reason why incarceration in the United States needs to be reduced.
The working and living conditions of farmworkers make practicing social distancing, self-isolation, or quarantine impossible, writes Dean Susan Marquis. In the food supply, farmworkers are the first responders who keep the supply chains going. FEMA, the CDC, and state governments should include farmworkers and agricultural communities in their emergency response plans.
With COVID-19 spreading across the United States, the fate of the Affordable Care Act is once again up in the air, hanging on the outcome of a Supreme Court case. If the law is overturned, writes Prof. Christine Eibner, upwards of 20 million people could lose their health insurance during one of the deadliest pandemics in modern history.
Children's needs extend beyond the purely academic, write Prof. Elizabeth Steiner and RAND colleagues. It is important that their social and emotional well-being is supported as instruction moves online during the COVID-19 pandemic. A whole-child view of what students need could benefit them now more than ever.
The global COVID-19 pandemic will have a dramatic impact on economies across the globe, but the Middle East may be particularly affected given the simultaneous fall in oil prices, writes Prof. Howard Shatz. The economic consequences of this pandemic are also likely to affect U.S. interests in the region.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, hospitals are bracing for a surge of patients requiring critical care. To meet the demand, Prof. Christopher Nelson says U.S. health care facilities may need to fundamentally change the way they allocate space, staff, and equipment.
The COVID-19 pandemic should lead to a further strengthening of the national and international response capacity, writes Prof. Krishna Kumar. The alternative of erecting barriers and closing America off to the world would leave it more vulnerable to the next big shock.
For the 14.3 million American households already experiencing food insecurity, COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions have created new layers of hardship, write professors Tamara Dubowitz and Andrea Richardson. Tremendous efforts are already underway to make sure the food insecure aren't forgotten in the midst of so much other disruption. But the weeks to come will surely demand more creative solutions from the public and private sectors, particularly for the most vulnerable in our communities.
Colleges and universities have turned to online courses to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But distance learning may also hold promise as a long-term strategy to help make higher education more accessible and affordable, write Professors Charles Goldman and Rita Karam.
There are many things hospitals and health systems could be doing in the coming weeks to best prepare for the advancing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Prof. Christopher Nelson says evaluating their surge response plans will be critical.
Cities are not signing international treaties, nor do they have embassies around the world, write Sohaela Amiri (cohort '16) and Professor Rafiq Dossani. But cities can engage in all kinds of negotiations, reach agreements, and influence world politics. The State Department could tap into this power to further enhance U.S. diplomacy, global image, and influence.
Complex, opaque technologies like AI, machine learning and other algorithm systems provide significant benefits to society, writes Professor Osonde Osoba. They help speed up complex decisions, enable wider access to services, and in many cases make better decisions than humans. But those benefits do not obviate the need for accountability and transparency.
Those at the bottom of the European agricultural supply chain are vulnerable to horrible abuse. But Dean Susan Marquis explains that the same was true in the tomato fields of Florida in the United States until not too many years ago, and the solution developed there may offer a roadmap for doing right by those who put food on the market shelves.
A big factor in the rise of college costs is the traditional seat-time model requiring undergraduate students to spend a specified amount of time in classrooms, frequently with doctorally qualified faculty. Prof. Charles Goldman argues that alternative models such as online education could enable colleges and universities to offer degrees more efficiently and affordably.
Americans are facing a new reality in global great power relations that will define the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy for the foreseeable future. Prof. Cortez Cooper argues that understanding China's threat perceptions, while remaining clear-eyed regarding differences in objectives, is essential to developing strategies to deter conflict.
More than 130 Americans die every day after overdosing on opioids. So when one of the most popular shows on network television made opioid misuse a major plotline, alum Bradley Stein (cohort '97) and Prof. Sarah MacCarthy paid especially rapt attention to how the show would present this public health crisis. How closely would it mirror reality? Pretty closely, for the narrow slice of the opioid crisis it addressed.
Patients who try to stay within their insurers' networks can be hit with surprise bills when they unknowingly receive care from out-of-network physicians. Erin Duffy (cohort '15) and Profs. Chapin White and Mark Friedberg ask how much a physician should be paid for providing a service that is critical but rendered without the patient's ready ability to choose an in-network provider.
California's Human Right to Water Bill declares that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” One clear barrier to reaching this target is the sheer number of small water utilities that pose service sustainability and public health risks to their customers.
As drought and population growth place increasing pressure on water supply, the need to save and efficiently manage Southern California's water resources becomes increasingly critical. Student Jalal Awan (cohort 17) and professors Miriam Marlier and Michelle Miro suggest that a single information and communication technology platform could go a long way toward moving water utilities from reactive to proactive maintenance practices.
Advances in the information available on groundwater quality and contamination could help community water systems avoid health hazards and better ensure a safe drinking water supply, write Alexandra Huttinger (cohort '17) and professors Michelle Miro and Miriam Marlier.
Prof. Douglas Yeung, a social psychologist at RAND, discusses how any technology reflects the values, norms, and biases of its creators. Bias in artificial intelligence could have unintended consequences. He also warns that cyber attackers could deliberately introduce bias into AI systems.
As technology and the ability to gather ever-growing amounts of data move further into the realms of biology and human performance, Prof. Tim Marler writes, communication and transparency become increasingly important. Scientists should consider whether they are using the words, examples, and models that connect with a broad audience most effectively.