Skip to main content

Media advisory: UW-Madison experts address back-to-school topics

August 25, 2021

MADISON – It’s the start of another school year with things still feeling far from normal. Experts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison are ready with tips and expertise to help us navigate.

Easing anxiety

Dr. Marcia Slattery, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and director of the UW Anxiety Disorder programs, can offer tips on helping children who are anxious about the start of the school year. Contact: Andrew Hellpap,, (608) 225-5024

Talking through fears

Dr. Ryan Herringa, a child psychiatrist who studies how trauma affects children, can offer tips on talking to children who are worried about school violence and other fears, such as bullies. Contact: Andrew Hellpap,, (608) 225-5024

Healthy eating and keeping active

This school year it may be hard to predict just when students are physically in school, participating in online education, or doing some of each. That means parents may need to be flexible while planning meals and snacks for their children during the week.

Beth Olson, associate professor and extension specialist in the UW–Madison Department of Nutritional Sciences, can offer tips on how to shop and to eat healthy even when in-person versus home-schooling may be unsettled, as well as ways to involve children in the planning and cooking process.

Contact:; (608) 265-2108 (please leave a voice message)

Camila Martin, UW Health pediatric registered dietitian, can offer tips for providing healthy meals and snacks during the day.

“Poor food choices and habits in childhood are associated with decreased academic performance and poor health outcomes later in life,” Martin says.

Contact: Emily Kumlien, (608) 516-9154,

Cassie Vanderwall, a clinical nutritionist with UW Hospital and Clinics, can offer tips on how to keep your kids active and eating healthy during the school year. UW Health Chef Julie Andrews can suggest delicious ways to make meals more nutritious. Contact: Emily Kumlien at 

Cindy Kuhrasch, the head of UW–Madison’s physical education program and a faculty associate in the Department of Kinesiology at the School of Education, can discuss why keeping kids active is so important – and offer creative ideas to make it fun.


Managing screen time

Heather Kirkorian, an expert on the impact of screen media on young children and an associate professor of human development and family studies, is available for interviews about how parents and caregivers can re-think how much screen time is appropriate for children with the approach of a new school year in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.

“To manage screen time, families should establish clear and consistent expectations about when, where, how, and with whom screens can be used. A good family media plan will focus on educational content, healthy social connections, and lots of conversation about what kids are doing on screens.”


Tags: media tips