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Experts available for comment on State of the State address, legislative issues

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Several West Virginia University faculty, administrators and staff members will be available to comment on issues addressed by Gov. Jim Justice in his third State of the State address Wednesday (Jan. 9). These experts will be available after the speech and throughout the 84th legislative session. 

Campus Safety
W. P. Chedester, chief and director of the University Police and Office of Emergency Management, is available to speak about issues of preparedness, campus safety and emergency communication. He can be reached at

Javier Reyes is the Milan Puskar dean of the John Chambers College of Business and Economics and vice president for Start-Up West Virginia. He can be reached at

John Deskins is director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He can be contacted at 304.293.7876 or

Brian Lego is a research assistant professor and economic forecaster for BBER. He can be reached at 304.293.7829 or

James Wood is the interim director of WVU’s Energy Institute. His areas of expertise include clean coal, the power industry and sustainable energy and trade. Media inquiries should be made through Tracy Novak at 304.293.6928 and

Timothy Carr is the Marshall Miller professor of geology and is working to develop energy resources that will be required in the future, while protecting the environment, including CO2 storage. He can be reached at

Health and quality of life
Dr. Clay Marsh, the vice president and executive dean of health sciences, leads the academic health sciences center of WVU. Marsh has concentrated his efforts in determining how to help individuals stay healthy and how to create ecosystems to make this easy. Media requests should be directed to Tara Scatterday at 304.293.0630 or

Tara Hulsey is the vice president of health promotion and wellness and the dean and E. Jane Martin endowed professor at the School of Nursing. Her areas of expertise include identifying key stakeholders with wellness programs and/or capacity to deliver wellness-related programming. Hulsey can be contacted through Wendi McKay, 304.581.1772 or

Dr. Ali Rezai is the director of the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute and is a board-certified neurosurgeon whose clinical expertise include the neurosurgical and neuromodulation management of patients with Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, chronic pain, brain and spinal cord injuries and severe mood and anxiety disorders.

Dr. James Berry is an associate professor and the medical director of both the Chestnut Ridge Center and the Inpatient Acute Dual Diagnosis Program. His specialties include behavioral medicine and he has special training in the treatment of addiction and substance abuse. 

Dr. Marc Haut is the chair of the WVU Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry. He also serves as psychology section chief, program director of neuropsychology, research advisor and professor in the departments of behavioral medicine and psychiatry, neurology and radiology. 

Media inquiries for Rezai, Berry and Haut should be directed to Angela Knopf, 304.285.7259 or

Dr. Jeffrey Coben is the associate vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Public Health. He also has an appointment in the School of Medicine and co-chairs the University’s Substance Abuse Task Force. Media inquiries for Coben should be directed to Kimberly Becker, 304.293.1699 or

Michael McCawley is a clinical associate professor in the department of occupational and environmental health sciences in the School of Public Health. He can offer commentary on air quality, miners’ health and water assessment. He can be reached at 304.293.8042 or

Ryan Claycomb, acting dean of the Honors College and founding director of the Humanities Center at WVU. He is available to talk about quality of life issues. Claycomb can be reached at 304.293.8406 or

Higher education, public education and administration 
Joyce McConnell is the provost and vice president for academic affairs at WVU. All media inquiries for the provost may be directed to Ann Claycomb,

Donna Peduto is the executive director of the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative which is composed of various educators that have come together to champion public education from early childhood to post-secondary levels. Her contact information is 304.293.5447 or

Gay Stewart is the director of the WVU Center for Excellence in STEM Education which works with partners and WV Department of Education to opportunities grades K-20. She can be reached at 304.293.5032 or

Erin McHenry-Sorber is an assistant professor in higher education in the College of Education and Human Services and can comment on the state’s teacher shortage and rural school-community conflict. She can be reached at 304.293.2090 or

Matthew Campbell is an assistant professor of secondary math education in CEHS. His research focuses on teacher education, including policies and programming that support teacher recruitment and retention. His contact information is 304.293.4714 or

Rob Alsop is WVU’s vice president for strategic initiatives. He can be reached at 304.293.5772 or

Hota GangaRao is the Maurice A. and Joann Wadsworth distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. His research focuses on civil infrastructure, including design, development, production and implementation of fiber reinforced polymer composites. He can be contacted at 304.293.9986 or

Law and public policy
Simon Haeder is an assistant professor in the department of political science in the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics, and a Fellow in the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program. Haeder, who can offer insights on the Affordable Care Act and other public health policies, is available at

Jesse Richardson is the lead land use attorney in the WVU College of Law Land Use Clinic. Richardson is an expert in the legalization of hemp and medical marijuana. He can be contacted at 304.293.9460.

James Van Nostrand is the director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the College of Law. Van Nostrand can be contacted at 304.293.4694 or

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVUToday.



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