After the Fact

The Pew Charitable Trusts


After the Fact is a podcast from The Pew Charitable Trusts that brings you data and analysis on the issues that matter to you—from our environment and the sciences, to larger economic trends and public health. Experts from Pew and other special guests discuss the numbers and trends shaping some of society’s biggest challenges with host Dan LeDuc, then go behind the facts with nonpartisan analysis and stories.

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151 episodes

Mental Health in America: In Depth with Dr. Rahul Gupta

In this bonus episode of our “Mental Health in America” season, Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, talks about the intersection of mental health and substance use issues. Gupta, the first physician to lead the office, also explains how evidence-based treatments are curbing overdoses and discusses the importance of removing barriers such as stigma for those seeking treatment.

Dec 02
Mental Health in America: Building Healthy Communities

Access to mental health care is a rising concern in communities throughout the country—especially for groups already experiencing challenges connecting with primary care providers. In this episode, Mimi Narayan from Pew’s Health Impact Project outlines the factors that contribute to health disparities and how to make care more equitable. We also hear how immigrant and Indigenous community leaders—Orfelina Feliz Payne from Puentes de Salud and Tahlia Natachu from the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project—are addressing the growing demand for behavioral health services and educating their communities about healthy lifestyles.

Nov 18
Mental Health in America: The Intersection of Mental Health and Justice

Personnel from America’s emergency response systems are on the front lines answering calls from individuals experiencing mental health crises. In this episode of “Mental Health in America,” Julie Wertheimer, project director for Pew’s work on mental health and justice partnerships, discusses the current state of these response systems and their impact on our criminal justice system. Joseph Getch, CEO of PRS, a Virginia nonprofit that provides behavioral health services, and B.J. Wagner, senior vice president of health and public safety with the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute share how 988 and local 911 efforts are working to protect public safety while connecting people to the care they need.

Nov 11
Mental Health in America: Connecting Physical and Mental Health

The conversation on acknowledging, identifying, and treating mental health challenges has shifted during the pandemic as a growing number of Americans experience high levels of psychological distress. In this episode we speak to Alec Tyson from The Pew Research Center about how Americans are managing their mental health during difficult times. We’ll also hear from Laura Marques Brown, an ecotherapist, and Chelsey Luger, wellness advocate and author, about their work breaking down stigmas associated with therapy and prioritizing wellness. Luger will also speak about what indigenous knowledge can teach us about maintaining good mental health.

Oct 28
Mental Health in America: Battling Stigma

Stigma surrounds two growing public health problems in the United States: substance use disorder and suicide. In this episode of “Mental Health in America,” Sheri Doyle, who leads Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative, and Allison Corr, from Pew’s suicide risk reduction project, discuss the rise in these disorders. We also hear from Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, who explains how stigma limits access to treatment, and from Abby Coulter, who shares her personal journey to receive methadone treatment. And Dr. Kimberly Roaten, a clinical psychologist at Parkland Health in Dallas, describes how the hospital is expanding access to care through universal suicide screening.

Oct 14
Mental Health in America: Where Are We?

The pandemic increased concerns about mental health in America and exposed a lack of access to treatment and a growing demand for services—all issues that existed before the COVID-19 outbreak. In this episode of “Mental Health in America,” NPR health correspondent Rhitu Chatterjee and Catherine Ettman, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explore challenges facing the mental health care system. They’ll also explain the factors that contribute to poor mental health and how investments in the mental health care system can improve access to care.

Sep 30
Coming Soon: Mental Health in America

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a considerable toll on the nation’s mental health: The percentage of Americans experiencing symptoms of depression has tripled since 2020, and many of these people lack access to mental health care. In a new season, we speak with experts about how the national conversation on mental health is changing, and with people working in communities to find meaningful solutions to this burgeoning crisis.

Sep 23
Ocean, People, Planet: Conservation Across Generations

STAT: $2.5 trillion—The estimated GDP of the ocean, according to a 2015 report by the World Wildlife Fund, making it the seventh-largest economy in the world. STORY: In this episode, we speak with Ashlan Cousteau and Philippe Cousteau Jr., who, inspired by the legacy of Philippe’s grandfather, undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau, have dedicated their careers to ocean conservation. They discuss how they’re continuing that legacy through their work with EarthEcho International and educating the next generation about the vital role that the ocean plays in our planet’s health and the global economy. We also hear from a member of EarthEcho’s OceanEcho 30x30 fellowship, Salma Macías Torres, from Bahía de Los Ángeles, Mexico, about her efforts to engage youth to build a sustainable future for our ocean.

Jun 22
Ocean, People, Planet: Cultivating Conservation

STAT: 680 million—According to the United Nations, about 680 million people live in low-lying coastal zones around the world, a number expected to increase to 1 billion by 2050.  STORY: In this episode, we explore how communities that rely on a healthy ocean are working to create marine protected areas (MPAs) to preserve biodiversity—and their livelihoods. In addition to hearing from Ludovic Burns Tuki, a community leader on Easter Island, home to the Rapa Nui MPA, we speak with Johnny Briggs from the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy about the role of MPAs in restoring the ocean and safeguarding cultural traditions tied to the seas.

Jun 08
Ocean, People, Planet: A Wildlife Refuge On The Brink

STAT: 2.1 feet—Scientists have forecast an increase of as much as 2.1 feet in the Chesapeake Bay by 2050. STORY: In this episode, we travel to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, where the refuge is losing ground to climate change and rising sea levels. Through interviews with experts—including Joseph Gordon, who directs Pew’s work on coastal marine life in the U.S.; Marcia Pradines Long, manager of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge; Kristin Thomasgard,  program director with the Department of Defense; Julie M. Schablitsky, chief archaeologist at the Maryland Department of Transportation; and Kate Larson, a historian and author—we explore the threats facing this refuge because of the changing climate, and the path ahead for its environmental, cultural, and economic future.

May 06
Ocean, People, Planet: The Impacts of Climate Change

STAT: 51% of Americans say the U.S. is doing a very bad or somewhat bad job of addressing climate change. STORY: Amid growing public concern about rising seas, extreme weather, and disappearing biodiversity, we speak with Michael Oppenheimer, the Albert G. Milbank professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University and a longtime participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. He explains the science behind the planet’s changing environment, its effects on the ocean, and possible solutions to avoid “the climate danger zone.”

Apr 22
Ocean, People, Planet: Preventing Ocean Plastic Pollution

STAT: 11 million metric tons—the amount of plastic that enters the ocean each year. STORY: We continue our “Ocean, People, Planet” season with a discussion of one of the largest threats facing the ocean: plastic pollution. Winnie Lau, who is the project director of Pew’s preventing ocean plastics project, and Richard Bailey, professor of environmental systems at Oxford University, discuss ways to reduce the amount of plastic entering the ocean and highlight a new analytical tool that nations can use to take action.

Apr 08
Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders— Navigating the Pandemic

STORY: “Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders” is produced in partnership by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the . In the series, leaders from across the social sector share insights about how they are innovating during challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic shook the world, challenging public health systems and communities. In this final episode of this special series, Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, share how they’re redefining the role of philanthropy in addressing public health crises and preparing for future pandemics.  

Mar 10
Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders—Economic Opportunity in America

STORY: “Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders” is produced in partnership by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the . In the series, leaders from across the social sector share insights about how they are innovating during challenging times. The increasing wealth gap is a symptom of larger inequities facing Americans today. And 61% of Americans say there’s too much economic inequality in the U.S., according to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey. In this episode, Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, discuss the origins of wealth inequality and its impact on American democracy. They also share how their institutions are creating new pathways for all communities to access secure and vibrant futures.

Mar 03
Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders—Climate Solutions

STORY: “Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders” is produced in partnership by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the . In the series, leaders from across the social sector share insights about how they are innovating during challenging times. In this episode, Tonya Allen, president of the McKnight Foundation, and John Palfrey, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, address the growing threat of a changing climate. They discuss how they’re answering the global call for solutions that promote equity and protect vulnerable communities, and encourage others in the philanthropic sector to act at this critical time.   

Feb 11
Part II: The State of Our Ocean With Sheila (Siila) Watt-Cloutier

STAT: 3 times: The Arctic is warming three times faster than the planet as a whole. STORY: The ocean is important for the health of the planet, and coastal communities around the world rely on it for their way of life. In Part II of “The State of Our Ocean,” we speak with Sheila (Siila) Watt-Cloutier, an environmental, cultural, and human rights advocate, about the value of the ocean to the Inuit in the Arctic and how challenges such as climate change and rising tides affect her community and its traditional ways of life. “What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” says Watt-Cloutier. Many of the threats emerging in her people’s culture from climate change are reflected across the world in other coastal towns.

Feb 08
Part I: The State of Our Ocean With Callum Roberts

STAT: 30%—More than 70 countries support the call to protect and conserve at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030. STORY: The ocean is central to all life, providing oxygen, nutrition, and recreation, and supporting economic livelihoods for coastal communities around the globe. But this essential resource is facing multiple threats, including climate change, overfishing and illegal fishing, and plastics pollution. In this new series, “Ocean, People, Planet,” we focus on the connection between the health of the ocean and the health of the planet. We’ll examine the state of the ocean, the challenges it faces, and offer potential solutions based on data, science, and traditional ways of knowing. In this first episode, we speak with Callum Roberts, marine biologist and oceanographer, about our human history with these waters and how we might chart a better course for our collective future.

Feb 08
Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders—Race and Diversity Today

STORY: “Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders” is produced in partnership by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the . In the series, leaders from across the social sector share insights about how they are innovating during challenging times. In this episode, Crystal Hayling, executive director of The Libra Foundation, and Sonal Shah, founding president of The Asian American Foundation, discuss their organizations’ work toward transforming the way race is discussed in America and how to improve understanding about racial concerns to lead to a more inclusive society.

Jan 18
Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders—Political Polarization

STORY: “Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders” is produced in partnership by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. In the series, leaders from across the social sector share insights about how they contend with challenging times and societal division. In this episode, Susan Urahn, Pew’s president and CEO, and Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, discuss the deepening political polarization, increasing misinformation, and growing mistrust that has affected public debate—and how they find common ground to forge meaningful change for the good.

Dec 14, 2021
Coming Soon: Crisis and Change: Conversations With Leaders

Political polarization. Climate change. Racial reckoning. Income inequality. A global pandemic. Since 2020, all five of these immense challenges have emerged or deepened, commanding our attention and prompting major societal and cultural shifts. In this special series produced in partnership by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the , we talk with leaders from across the social sector. They take us behind the scenes, sharing approaches and case studies of innovation and resilience during these unprecedented times. 

Dec 07, 2021
Event Rebroadcast: A Conversation on Race and Research

STAT: 4 in 10: U.S. Census data from 2020 shows that 4 in 10 Americans identify with a race other than White. STORY: The demographic landscape in the United States is changing rapidly. In this virtual event rebroadcast, guests from our “Race and Research” season discuss how the country’s growing diversity is driving a new national conversation about race and ethnicity. The event panelists also highlight the challenges and opportunities researchers face when applying a racial and equity lens to data.

Nov 12, 2021
The Facts Behind the COVID-19 Delta Variant

STAT: 93%—93% of new COVID-19 cases were caused by the delta variant in the United States by the end of July 2021. STORY: The battle against the COVID-19 virus seemed almost won, but the delta variant is now responsible for a new surge of cases. In this episode, we turn again to infectious disease physician Dr. Rebecca Wurtz to learn more about this new variant and what it means for both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

Aug 27, 2021
Race and Research: Charita Castro on Increasing Diversity in the Sciences

Charita Castro, a social science researcher and ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science IF/THEN Ambassadors program, speaks about how to recruit more women and people of color to the STEM fields¾science, technology, engineering, and math¾to strengthen innovation

Jul 12, 2021
Race and Research: Driving Diversity in Economics with Fanta Traore

In this conversation with Fanta Traore, we hear about her work to support and empower Black women in economics, finance, and data science fields through The Sadie Collective. She shares the latest data on how increasing diversity in the economic workforce can help encourage innovative problem solving for society. 

Jul 07, 2021
Race and Research: In Depth With Dr. Marie Bernard

In this bonus episode of our “Race and Research” season, we share an extended talk with Dr. Marie Bernard, chief officer for scientific workforce diversity at the National Institutes of Health, on her experience as a Black female physician and efforts to improve diversity within health care, from at a patient’s bedside to medical research.

Jul 02, 2021
Race and Research: What’s Next?

STAT: 68%: The percentage of technology experts who express doubt about ethical standards in artificial intelligence systems. STORY: Technology driven by artificial intelligence and other data science will lead to life-changing innovation in the coming years. But much of the historical data those innovations will rely on could be biased. In this episode, Lee Rainie, director of internet and technology research at the Pew Research Center, reports on the growing ethical concerns of technology experts about the use of artificial intelligence. And Jeannette Wing, who leads the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, discusses ways scientists are confronting bias and how to use “data for good.”

Jun 25, 2021
Race and Research: Higher Education and Diversity

STAT: 33%—The percentage of people of color who make up America’s STEM workforce. STORY: In this episode, we consider the pipeline to the research workforce—higher education. In a conversation with Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and its vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Katharine Cole, we explore how the university supports undergraduate and graduate students from a range of backgrounds and prepares them for STEM careers.

Jun 17, 2021
Race and Research: Data and Our Neighborhoods

STAT: 99%: The percentage of census tracts in the United States where young black men end up having lower incomes than their white counterparts even though they grew up with comparable family incomes and resources. STORY: In this episode of our season on race and research, our guests examine the impact of race on economic mobility. David Williams, of Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights, describes research tools that can help communities improve economic outcomes for families and kids. And the Brookings Institution’s Andre Perry outlines research showing the systemic undervaluing of homes in black neighborhoods and its implications for family wealth, the health of minority-owned businesses, and the tax bases that fund community needs.  

Jun 11, 2021
Race and Research: The Gaps in Health

STAT: 5%—The percentage of Black physicians and surgeons in America. STORY: Continuing our look at race and research, we turn to health care. We hear from Dr. Marie Bernard, who heads efforts to increase diversity in the research workforce at the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Stephanie Brown and Kristen Azar of Sutter Health, a nonprofit California health care provider. They discuss the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, how to build trust in the medical system among those communities, and other ways to improve patient care.

Jun 04, 2021
Race and Research: Representation in Data

STAT: 46.8 million: The number of people in the United States who identify as Black. STORY: The census shows that the U.S. is growing more diverse racially and ethnically, and reflecting this evolution in research data has become even more essential. In this episode, Mike Dimock, president of the Pew Research Center, describes how the Center is addressing these changes in public opinion polling and why examining the nuances behind these demographic shifts helps us better understand society’s diversity. And Yolanda Lewis, who heads The Pew Charitable Trusts’ public safety and justice work, discusses why inclusive research is vital in informing how the criminal justice system handles mental health issues.

May 28, 2021