Emory's 'Conversations with America' series continues with focus on opioid epidemic

Nov. 13, 2017

The “Conversations with America” series continued Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh. Peter D. Hart moderated an open discussion among a diverse and balanced cross-section of American citizens, exploring attitudes on the current state of our nation and paying particular attention to the opioid crisis.

Emory University is conducting the second installment in its “Conversations with America” series with a focus on the current opioid crisis. The series is part of Emory’s effort to advance and promote conversation and civil discourse on the most pressing issues facing our nation. 

This initiative is part of a collaboration with nationally renowned NBC/Wall Street Journal pollster Peter D. Hart. The focus groups are taking place in select locations across the United States to foster a deeper understanding of American views on critical issues such as immigration, public health and higher education.

The “Conversations with America” focus group on the opioid epidemic will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in Wilmington, North Carolina. Wilmington, like so many small towns in America, is struggling to address rising opioid addiction. One year since the U.S. presidential election, the focus group will also address the state of our country and the current political environment.

“We hope to expand our understanding of the opioid crisis by listening carefully to the members of one local community hit especially hard by this epidemic,” says Emory University President Claire E. Sterk. “'Conversations with America' explores a diverse cross-section of American opinions in order to advance civil debate on some of our country’s most serious challenges. Facilitating these conversations is part of Emory’s mission as an institution of higher education.”

Emory University kicked off its “Conversations with America” series in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 29. Hart moderated an open discussion among a diverse and politically balanced group of American citizens, exploring attitudes on the current state of our nation, while paying particular attention to the issue of immigration. The focus group revealed the underlying dynamics of participant attitudes on recent issues ranging from North Korea to Charlottesville, while probing their stance on immigration issues, including those impacting higher education. 

“Conversations with America” offers a valuable opportunity for Emory students, faculty and the public to pause and listen to a wide array of citizen voices to gain a broader perspective on critically important national issues, according to Sterk. The Hart research team will provide a full-length video to the Emory community and the public following each focus group.

Hart is regarded as one of the top analysts of public opinion in the United States. Since 1989, he has been the pollster for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal and is also widely known for his “Voices of the Voters” project for the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. Hart is the founder of Hart Research, which focuses on public policy and cultural issues. He has taught public opinion and public policy at Duke University, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley.