Ways & Means

Ways and Means is a small radio show featuring bright ideas for how to improve human society. The show is produced by the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.
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Ways & Means





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Oct 22, 2018

Season 4 of Ways & Means will be available in January.


(Music: Blue Dot Sessions)

Jun 6, 2018

For more than a decade, a multinational team of researchers has been exploring ways get mental healthcare to nearly 50 million orphans in Africa.

With a new, five-year $3.4 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, a team led by professors Kathryn Whetten at Duke and Shannon Dorsey at the University of Washington is testing a novel approach. They are training local people with no mental health background to provide Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in schools and community health centers, under the supervision of lay supervisors. And the idea is working.

Mar 28, 2018

More than 800 women die in childbirth every day in the developing world - often because doctors know what to do, they just don't do it. (There's even a name for this: the know-do gap.) In this episode, testing different types of incentives for getting doctors to do the right thing during the birth of a child.

Sponsor: Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment Fund.

Original Music by David Schulman.

Additional Music by Blue Dot Sessions.

Feb 25, 2018

Before the 1960s, colleges routinely used gender quotas to suppress the number of women on campus. Some colleges excluded women entirely. There's a curious backstory to how more women ended up in college, and it starts with the Soviet’s launch of the satellite Sputnik in 1957. In this episode: turning politics of crisis into a law that eventually opened the door to college to millions of American women.

Jan 31, 2018

Duke professor Philip J. Cook has been tracking the underground gun market in the U.S. for the last 15 years. For one project, his team went to one of the largest jails in the country and asked the inmates a simple question: "Where do you get your guns?" Also, former Chicago gang member "Samuel" talks candidly about his experiences with guns. Before his 15th birthday, Samuel had shot someone, and been shot himself.

Dec 15, 2017

We will be back next month with a new episode. In the meantime, take a listen to the most popular episode we've produced so far. If you're black with a college degree, your household will likely have $10,000 less in net worth than your white neighbor who didn't finish high school. A look at the racial wealth gap.

Nov 15, 2017

How diplomacy and public shaming are helping shine a light on a problem that depends on secrecy to survive. This episode is the second of a three-part series, New Ideas for Policy in the Developing World. 

Oct 18, 2017

Today, for our Season 3 premiere, we begin a three-part series, New Ideas for Policy in the Developing World. In this episode, high-tech meets high-need. How researchers are using Google Earth to find the undocumented slums of India.

Series supported by the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment Fund.

Sep 29, 2017

Season 3 will launch in October with a three part series - New Ideas for Policy in the Developing World. In the season premiere, we'll hear about how researchers are using Google Earth to find hidden slums in India.

May 22, 2017

Ahmed Ahmed is an American-Muslim comedian who was typecast as a terrorist. Khalid Latif is a Muslim chaplain for the NYPD who was saluted in uniform, but harassed as a civilian. Mona Haydar and Sebastian Robins fought Islamophobia with doughnuts and conversation. Episode also features David Schanzer of Duke University and Evelyn Alsultany of the University of Michigan.

Mar 23, 2017

John Rusnak was a currency trader in Baltimore when he was convicted of one of the largest bank frauds in American history. When he was finally discovered, the bank had lost close to $700 million dollars. We look at John Rusnak's case through an historical lens. It turns out fraud has been a key feature of American business from the beginning. Episode features Edward Balleisen. His new book is Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff.

Feb 7, 2017

Most of us prize stories of people who start with nothing in life, and then become rich. Americans even have a saying for it: pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.  However, new economic research is revealing how wealth is actually built in there US and how difficult it is for some people to gain wealth, even when they do everything right. 

Dec 19, 2016

Sexting, stranger danger, cyberbullying. We explore seven major concerns parents have about teens and phones. What does the research say? Featuring Candice Odgers of the Duke Center for Child & Family Policy.

Nov 4, 2016

Gerrymandering (drawing voting districts to favor one political party) has reached a whole new level in recent decades.We’ll hear about some stunning gerrymandering feats, and how reformers across the nation are trying to restore the power of your vote.

Oct 25, 2016

In the early 20th century many new immigrants to the U.S. had blonde hair and blue eyes yet were not considered “white.” In this episode: who’s considered “white” in America – how it’s changed, what it means and how it may be changing still.

Sep 14, 2016

Every four years, candidates promise change. But is change possible? Dan Ariely says resistance to change is actually hard-wired into human nature, yet bright pockets of innovation exist.

Jun 3, 2016

Here's a peek at Ways & Means season 2, which launches this fall.

Apr 21, 2016

On this episode we explore one of the most vexing issues in politics - how to get more ordinary people to run for office.

Mar 16, 2016

Public health advocates are waging battle against added sugar in our foods. And they’re taking pointers from another public health battle: the campaign against tobacco. New evidence suggests sugar, like tobacco, is addictive and harmful to long-term health. Duke's Kelly Brownell says the two fights have a lot in common.

Jan 19, 2016

The paradox of gender equality. We look at how women gained a political voice in the U.S. – and then (surprisingly) in some ways lost it. And we’re going to ask – what can women do to get their political voice back?

Dec 14, 2015

What do seniors really want when they’re dying? Asking them, and listening carefully to what they say, could lead – surprisingly – to cost-savings for big government systems like Medicare. Guests include a Duke health policy expert who asked terminally ill people: what if you had to choose between last-ditch therapies and the simple things? Their answers might surprise you. Also, a Durham, N.C., woman describes how she faced hard choices as she comforted her dying mom.

Nov 20, 2015

On this episode of Ways & Means we hear from the Daily Show’s resident fact-checker Adam Chodikoff. Also, Pulitzer Prize winner Bill Adair and a new movement of reporters going to great lengths to ensure we the people know the truth, especially when it comes to politics. We’ve got Republicans, Democrats and an upstart fact-checker from Iran, a country that has jailed numerous reporters.