SPIA Faculty Awards: Honors Week 2021

Dr. Amanda Abraham, associate professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy, is a top researcher in the field of addiction health services. She studies sociological dimensions of addiction treatment, ranging from organizational change to the impact of government policy on treatment accessibility and quality. She has identified crucial policy questions involving the opioid epidemic, pursued new research approaches, and offered evidence-based policy recommendations that could change the epidemic’s trajectory. Her research has documented what type of insurance coverage matters most for gaining or restricting access to needed medications and services during the epidemic. Her studies also highlight where serious gaps in treatment occur for Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. She pinpoints particular geographic areas, such as the Southeast, with the largest gaps between opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment need and estimated treatment capacity for Medicaid enrollees. Her research also reveals a serious shortage of OUD medication providers in Medicare and highlights implications for access to needed treatment.

Dr. Leah Carmichael, a lecturer in the Department of International Affairs, creatively reimagined her popular study abroad course “The International Politics of Food” by focusing on issues that drive participation in study abroad programs. Originally scheduled to take place in Verona, Italy, in summer 2020, the new online class was restructured to study how students’ personal food preferences tied in with national, religious, political and economic phenomena. She received her Ph.D. in International Affairs from the University of Georgia and her B.A. from Guilford College. Dr. Carmichael’s research agenda focuses on food insecurity. Topics within this agenda include: improving upon existing measurements of food insecurity, examining what motivates leaders to address food insecurity issues within their states, studying which domestic and international policies effectively address food insecurity issues, understanding the origin and salience of the “right to food” noted in international law, and examining when and how food may serve as a weapon of war.

Dr. Cas Mudde, Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor in the Department of International Affairs, is recognized as one of the world’s leading social scientists writing on populism and far-right politics. Instead of viewing radical-right parties as fleeting or outside modern democracy, he has argued that they are part of modern democracy, even if their existence could threaten democratic ideals. He has conceived of populism as a “thin-centered ideology” that views society as split between a corrupt elite and a virtuous people, and as an illiberal but somewhat democratic response to liberal but somewhat undemocratic governance. In eight authored or co-authored books and 58 journal articles, he has influenced a new generation of scholars who apply his insights to a wide range of political phenomena. His recently co-authored book is an original, empirical study of contemporary Israeli settlers as a social movement and of their impact on Israeli politics and society.