Symposium Highlights New Social Science Research on COVID-19

On October 9, the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in collaboration with COSSA, the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, the Federation Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and SAGE Publishing held a seminar on “Responding to COVID-19: Emerging Insights from Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences.” The event included brief presentations from social scientists engaged in research on the impacts of COVID-19 and breakout sessions that paired these scientists and other experts with policymakers engaged in responding to the pandemic.

The first session, focused on education and health, began with a presentation from Dr. Abram Wagner, Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, who described his work on vaccine hesitancy in diverse communities and the potential implications for a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Roxane Cohen Silver, Professor of Psychological Science, Medicine, and Public Health at the University of California Irvine School of Social Ecology, shared her research on the collective trauma of COVID-19 and the association between stress and media coverage of the pandemic. Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU Steinhardt, discussed the research he has conducted on interventions to address educational disparities during the pandemic, such as integrating community supports and services into schools.

The second session featured research on the economy and workforce. It began with a presentation from Dr. Jeffrey C. Johnson, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida, who talked about the disruption on food supply chains and the ways the pandemic has reshaped the business models of independent restaurants and restaurant suppliers in particular. Dr. Enrica Ruggs, Assistant Professor of Management and the University of Memphis Fogelman College, shared details of her research on the ways the pandemic has impacted the working lives of people of color and other historically marginalized groups differently by exacerbating existing disparities. Lastly, Dr. Judy Chevalier, Professor of Finance and Economics at the Yale School of Management, shared details of her research using commercial cell phone data to follow the movements of nursing home staff and develop an understanding of the potential transmission networks between nursing homes.

A recording of the event will be made available on the National Academies website.

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