CHDS faculty Eve Wittenberg discussed how families can use decision analytic methods in the real-world context of making Thanksgiving travel plans during the second holiday season of the pandemic. Holiday travel is a balancing act described in a recent American Heart Association (AHA) news article.
Wittenberg explains the risk-benefit tradeoffs inherent in family-level decisions: “… families have to make a calculation. On one side is risk: Nobody wants to expose a frail grandparent or, for that matter, a friendly flight attendant, to the coronavirus. On the other is the benefit of family connections. The best way to approach that decision, Wittenberg said, is openly. Families should be ‘very clear and straightforward about what the risks and trade-offs are,’ she said – not to pressure people, but to identify ‘the little levers’ that drive everybody’s choices.” Isolating the decision-critical values that drive decisions is paramount in all decision analysis and in the family context, too.
Wittenberg’s research focuses on measuring family outcomes with the goal of improving decision making, for families and for policy that includes a family-centric perspective.