University of Pittsburgh
February 12, 2013

Pitt Experts Available to Comment on Issues Related to State of the Union Address


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh experts are available to discuss gun control, political communication, and immigration issues related to tonight’s State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama. 

Gun Control and Rhetoric
Pitt communication professor Gerald Shuster, an expert on presidential rhetoric and political communication, expects gun control issues will be prominent during the State of the Union address. “So much so, that the President, for the first time in the modern presidency, will have guests in the gallery actually promoting a particular cause—in this case, gun control issues,” he said. Shuster is an expert on the rhetorical styles and strategies of modern presidents—from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama; he studies the public comments and speeches presidents use in their attempts to achieve particular objectives with Congress, the general public, and other audiences. Shuster’s insights and opinions are frequently sought by national and international media. Contact Gerald Shuster at 412-624-5199 (office), 724-664-3258 (cell), or

Immigrants at Both Ends of the Economic Spectrum
Laura Macía, project coordinator with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, is available to comment on the current realities of migrants on both ends of the economic spectrum: undocumented low-skilled workers and doctoral graduates. She also can address how the plans laid out by U.S. senators and President Obama compare with other recent initiatives aimed at immigration reform. Macía earned her PhD in anthropology from Pitt in 2012. Her dissertation, “Dealing with Grievances: The Latino Experience in Pittsburgh,” won an honorable mention in the 2011-12 Eduardo Lozano Memorial Dissertation Award competition. She can be reached at 412-383-8982 or

Immigration and Public Health
Patricia Documet, assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, is available to comment on the public health consequences of illegal immigration and the likely effects of reform. These consequences can include illegal immigrants’ unwillingness to seek treatment for fear of deportation, as well as anxiety and depression stemming from immigrants’ illegal status, potentially leading to substance abuse. Documet, a native of Peru, has conducted extensive research on Latino males in the Pittsburgh area, and she completed her dissertation on Latino health care access in Southwestern Pennsylvania. She can be reached at 412-624-1601 or