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Honors and Awards

Gerontology Honors Student Elaine Roh wins 1st Prize in the University’s Undergraduate Symposium

By Featured, Honors and Awards, Mitochondria, Student Profile

With guidance from Dr. Sean Curran and Dr. ShanShan Pang of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, gerontology honors student, Elaine Roh made a lasting impression on the judges with her study entitled: Adaptive Capacity to Bacterial Diet Modulates Aging in C. elegans. [ Read a Summary of her Research]

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USC Leonard Davis MSG Student, Alexander Woodman, receives Academic Support Peer Achievement Award

By Diversity, Featured, Honors and Awards, Student Profile

Alex Woodman's Picture

Alexander Woodman, a student in the Master of Science in Gerontology program was recently awarded an Academic Support Peer Achievement Award for significant contributions advising and tutoring students who craved the opportunity to transfer to USC from other colleges and universities around the world. As a former Bruin who has flourished at USC, Alexander enjoys opening the door of opportunity for ambitious people who want to join the Trojan family.

Prior to coming to USC, Alexander built his career developing and facilitating culturally and socially-diverse intercultural discussions among academics studying social justices and cultural diversity. He worked closely with scholars from Thailand, Cambodia, France, and the United Arab Emirates to develop research papers studying public health and social issues facing local populations and migrants to these countries now facing minority status. He gained a passion for Autopathography, an experience where older adults explore how their health issues affect their daily lives. This experience opened his eyes to the reality of aging, and inspired his interest in research on aging.

Alexander is writing a research paper now, in collaboration with Dr. Aaron Hagedorn, analyzing data he collected in Thailand using surveys that investigate the health and social needs of migrants in Thailand accessing local health care resources. He plans to eventually become a scholar focused on issues of gerontology, global health, and life –span development. Alexander will spend his summer at Harvard University working collaboratively with faculty at Harvard School of Public Health on a research project. He enjoys mentoring and advising students as part of their and his professional development and interest in academic leadership.

Alexander is grateful to the scholarship donors who have made his dream of learning from the best and brightest in the field of Aging possible.

Gerontology Student Finalist for 2014 USC LAA Dr. John R. Hubbard Award

By Featured, Honors and Awards, Students

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology student Nicole Marcione is one of three finalists to be recognized for the opportunity to win the John R. Hubbard USC Latino Alumni Association award. Her assistance in research studying patients with sleep disorders and their treatments along with her drive to help older adults as a professional Pilates instructor pave a bright future in her career in the field of aging.[View Video…]

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Eileen Crimmins Appointed as University Professor by USC President C.L. Max Nikias

By Featured, Honors and Awards

Congratulations to Eileen Crimmins, AARP Chair in Gerontology, Professor of Gerontology, and director of the USC/UCLA Center of Biodemography and Population Health, who was recently appointed as University Professor. Dr. Crimmins joins such distinguished University Professors as Warren Bennis, Antonio Damasio, and the Davis School of Gerontology’s own Caleb Finch.

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Founding dean of USC Davis School of Gerontology receives COAD award

By Featured, Honors and Awards

birrenJames Birren honored as a Lifetime Associate by the Center for Optimal Adult Development (COAD) for his service to the field of Adult Development. Considered one of the founders of gerontology, he was the founding dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and founding director of the Andrus Gerontology Center.  He continues his work in the field and remains engaged in teaching guided autobiography for older adults. Fellow COAD honorees include Laura Carstensen, Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, and John R. Nesselroade of University of Virginia’s Department of Psychology.

Click here to see a list of previous honored COAD recipients.

Student Wins Award for Groundbreaking Paper on Minority End-of-Life Pain Management

By Caregiving, Featured, Honors and Awards, Student Profile
USC Davis School of Gerontology doctoral student Jeff Laguna (Photo/Trevor Nelson)

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology doctoral student Jeff Laguna (Photo/Trevor Nelson)

End-of-life pain is poorly managed across the board, but why, even with palliative care efforts, do minorities suffer disproportionately?

Tackling what he calls the first study to investigate pain experiences among Whites, Blacks and Latinos following inpatient palliative care (IPC) consults, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology doctoral student Jeff Laguna won the Gerontological Society of America’s Elaine M. Brody Award, given for excellence in research.

Co-authored with Rebecca Goldstein, MD, and USC Leonard Davis School Hanson Family Trust Assistant Professor of Gerontology Susan Enguídanos, PhD, MPH, the study was funded by the Archstone Foundation, examining 484 seriously ill patients and how their racial/ethnic differences impacted their end-of-life pain.

“We found something very interesting. Although palliative care did a great job at reducing pain among a racially/ethnically diverse patient population, it seems that Latinos were still more likely to report pain at hospital discharge,” Laguna said. “Previous research suggests a couple possible explanations, but a more detailed study will be needed to understand why Latinos appear to respond differently.”

Some of the existing explanations include the potential for Latinos to view end-of-life pain as a time of necessary and even welcome personal and/or spiritual cleansing, highlighting Laguna’s findings that IPC interventions may need to increase cultural sensitivity. He also finds that this increased awareness will inform future policy changes, which could help revolutionize the way we think about end-of-life care.

“After decades of recognizing the existence of ethnic disparities in health care access and health outcomes, we are continuing to see these patterns today. Illuminating these disparities is a first step to understanding and overcoming them,” Enguídanos said. “Jeff’s commitment to investigating disparities and improving equitable quality of care is commendable and critical.”

“For me, this award is the culmination of a lot of hard work, as I had to travel halfway across the country to master the analyses performed in this study,” Laguna said. “It is my hope that this study opens the door for a more detailed investigation. While this is the first step of many, I believe that it is an important step.”

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