Weekdays Noon-2:00 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370, FM 107.5, and WRUR 88.5 FM in Rochester, WEOS 89.5 FM in Geneva

Evan Dawson talks about what matters to you on ConnectionsEvery weekday from noon-2 p.m. Be part of the program with questions or comments by phone - 1-844-295-TALK (8255), email, Facebook or Twitter


First hour: Juneteenth 2021

Second hour: Discussing U.S.-Russia relations

According to the Women of Color Network, approximately four out of every ten non-Hispanic Black women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. Racial disparities in economics, education, criminal justice – as well as cultural factors – contribute to those rates. They also lead to challenges when it comes to victims seeking and accessing support services.

This hour, we discuss how racial disparities and social determinants affect rates of domestic violence, and our guests weigh in on what they would like to see in terms of support and resources. In studio:

Rochester City Council will vote on the proposed budget on Tuesday. Before they do, several members discuss the budget on Connections: how much money for policing? How large of a police force? How much money for the Police Accountability Board? What about the Person In Crisis teams, social services, community building, and more?

Our guests:


First hour: Members of Rochester City Council on the city's proposed budget

Second hour: Discussing how racial disparities affect rates of domestic violence

Founders of the Me2/Orchestra say it is the only classical music organization in the world created by and for people with mental illness and those who support them. The conductor, Ronald Braunstein, is an internationally renowned maestro who reinvented his career after struggling with his own mental health diagnosis. Now, the orchestra has branches in several cities around the world.

The story of Me2/Orchestra is told in a documentary called "Orchestrating Change." It will be screened as part of the Reel Mind Film Series and the Eastman Performing Arts Medicine program next week. But first, the orchestra's founders, one of the filmmakers, a member of the orchestra, and a mental health professional join us to discuss how a project like this can help break down the stigma tied to mental illness. Our guests:

  • Ronald Braunstein, co-founder and music director of Me2/Orchestra
  • Caroline Whiddon, co-founder and executive director of Me2/Orchestra
  • Marek Lorenc, Me2/Orchestra (Burlington) clarinetist 
  • Margie Friedman, co-executive producer and director of "Orchestrating Change"
  • Laurence Guttmacher, M.D., director of psychiatry residency education, and professor of clinical psychiatry and clinical medical humanities and bioethics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

What does the future of dating look like? Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara think they have an idea. A project at the Computational Mate Choice Lab at USCB involves uploading personalities and relationship ideas and then allowing simulated characters to play out their relationships in the virtual world. Assistant professor Daniel Conroy-Beam says what happens in that virtual space could predict what may happen with couples in real life. His goal, he says, is to help people build happier relationships.

Would you put your relationship to this kind of test? If you're single, would you trust this kind of technology to help you make dating decisions? Is this all too "Black Mirror"? Our guests discuss it:

freeimages.com/Shamseer Sureach Kumar

First hour: Can technology predict if relationships will be successful?

Second hour: How Me2/Orchestra is working to eliminate stigma tied to mental illness

NPR reports that there has been a "sharp, 'off the charts' rise in alcoholic liver disease among young women." Experts say pandemic stressors have led to a rise in drinking, and pop culture has validated drinking as a coping mechanism. Survival rates for alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis, which are types of alcoholic liver disease, can be as low as ten percent.

This hour, we talk about the rise in the disease, the psychological components tied to it, and what experts say can help people experiencing these challenges. Our guests:

  • Marie Laryea, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology/Hepatology; Department of Surgery, Transplant; and associate chair of diversity, equity and inclusion in the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Myra Mathis, M.D., senior instructor in the Department of Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Sean Yantz, certified peer recovery advocate, and certified addictions recovery coach

Local engineer Chris Thompson wrote this week about his experience with homelessness. He was a teenager in high school when he was pulled out of class and told that he and his mother were being evicted. Thompson writes that too often, society looks at someone and assumes they understand what that person has been through -- based on the look of their clothes or the way they act.

His story of being without a permanent place to live holds lessons, and he joins us to discuss it. Our guest:


First hour: Chris Thompson on his experience with homelessness

Second hour: Discussing the rise in alcoholic liver disease