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Tip: The 12 days of experts

December 11, 2013 By Jenny Price

For many, the holiday season brings joy, fun and cookies. Lots of cookies.

But it also represents a complex mash-up of family, religion, shopping, stress, and unintended weight gain.

Over the next 12 days, UW–Madison faculty and staff experts can discuss those myriad topics and more. For more experts, visit the University Communications experts website or email


  • Bruce Gladstone, associate director of choral activities at UW–Madison, can discuss choral music, carols and traditions associated with the holiday season. Gladstone can be reached at 608-263-9297 prior to Dec. 18 and at throughout the month.
  • Jim Leary, professor of folklore and Scandinavian studies and an expert on the folklore/culture of diverse peoples in Wisconsin, can discuss Wisconsin holiday traditions, including: bygone house visits by masqueraders in old time Cornish, Polish, Norwegian, and Swedish rural communities (especially the Scandinavian “julebokkers” also known as Christmas fools) and “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas,” the million-selling Scandihoovian dialect song by Yogi Yorgesson that remains popular more than 60 years after its release. Leary can be reached at, 608-262-8107.
  • Charles Cohen, professor of religious studies and director of the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions, can discuss how people of non-Christian faiths, especially Jews and Muslims, navigate the Christmas holiday season. Cohen can be reached at, 608-263-1956.


  • Bob Enright, professor of educational psychology and an international expert on forgiveness, can discuss using forgiveness to navigate family conflicts. Enright can be reached at, 608-222-0241.


  • Beth Olson, an associate professor of nutrition and UW-Extension specialist, can discuss how to make healthy food choices during the holiday season. Olson can be reached at, 608-265-2108.
  • Tara LaRowe, a nutritional sciences researcher at the School of Medicine and Public Health, can also discuss healthy eating during the holidays. LaRowe can be reached at
  • Shilagh Mirgain, a health psychologist with UW Health, can discuss managing holiday stress, effective goal-setting for the New Year, mindful eating during the holidays, and creating a winter survival plan with exercise goals. Mirgain is available prior to Dec. 18. For interviews, contact Gian Galassi, 608-263-5561,
  • Seth Dailey, chief of laryngology at the School of Medicine and Public Health, can discuss the phenomenon of patients yelling while watching football games on TV resulting in cases of “Packer polyps.” For interviews, contact Susan Lampert Smith, UW Health Public Affairs, 608-890-5643,
  • Adam Rindfleisch, an integrative medicine practitioner and professor of family medicine at the School of Medicine and Public Health, can discuss how volunteerism during the holidays can lead to better health. Rindfleisch can be reached at or for interviews, contact Mike Klawitter, 608-265-8199,


  • J. Michael Collins, faculty director of the UW Center for Financial Security and an assistant professor of human ecology, can discuss sticking to a gift-buying budget during the holiday season. Collins can be reached at, 608-262-0369.
  • Jerry O’Brien, executive director of the Kohl’s Center for Retailing Excellence, can discuss retail trends and the holiday shopping season. O’Brien can be reached at, 608-263-7996.


  • Jonathan Martin, professor and chair of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, can discuss snow and winter storms during the month of December. Martin can be reached at, 608-262-9845.

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