USC Leonard Davis School COVID-19 Expertise

Faculty Tips and Perspectives

COVID-19: Vaccines and Older Adults

In this brief video, Dean Pinchas Cohen explains that the response to vaccines is sometimes very ineffective in older adults and is an area of research that will need to be addressed in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

New collaboration aims to predict new COVID-19 strains

Understanding the rate of mutation in the virus’ genes could help create a more widely effective vaccine, says Assistant Professor Marc Vermulst.

Gerontology PhD graduate to study health disparities, including impact of COVID-19 on Puerto Rican older adults

Catherine Pérez Garcia PhD ’20, a first-generation college student, will continue her research on health disparities in minority populations as assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

From USC Leonard Davis School undergrad to medical doctor fighting COVID-19

Humanitarian Tyler Evans ’02 has responded to disease outbreaks around the globe and is now the chief medical officer overseeing the COVID-19 response for the New York City Department of Emergency Management.

5 Tips for Becoming a Better Teacher Online

Associate Professor John Walsh shares the tips he’s learned over the years that can help even novice instructors improve their teaching both online and off.

What and when we eat affects our immune system. Here’s how.

Professor Valter Longo, director of the USC Longevity Institute, is investigating how fasting and diets that mimic fasting’s effects can help immune function, including the body’s response to viruses.

Gerontology students reach out to older adults isolated by COVID-19

Members of the USC Student Gerontology Association and the USC chapter of the service group Glamour Gals are connecting with older adults across the country.

Thinking Creatively in the Age of COVID-19: Solutions for Older Adults

Instructional Associate Professor Caroline Cicero, director of the USC Age-Friendly University Initiative, encourages everyone to determine how communities can foster connections with sequestered residents who may be overlooked by mainstream service providers.

Gerontology students connect online

Following spring break, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology students returned to class this week, convening online over the videoconferencing app Zoom.

Bridging Generational Divides

Much of the media narratives about COVID-19 have stated that those at risk of catching the virus are older adults and that young people are not obeying quarantine guidelines; “This is essentially pitting the generations against each other rather than encouraging us to work together,” says Paul Nash.

Resources to Stay Safe at Home

The USC Fall Prevention Center of Excellence has compiled a list of resources to make your home safe and supportive for you and your loved ones. View the list here.

Demographic Trends

In general, most countries are experiencing the highest death rates from COVID-19 at the older ages (e.g., 85+) and for men, say USC Leonard Davis demography experts.

Biological Differences Between Men and Women

Based on epidemiological data from Italian and Chinese cases of COVID-19, the disease disproportionately affects older people and has the highest death toll in men (~75% of reported deaths).

Staying Close, Virtually

Using technological solutions to help people stay connected could improve well-being in some people, says Eileen Crimmins, University Professor and AARP Professor of Gerontology.

Keeping Caregiving Relationships Healthy

Many caregivers already experience frustration and stress, and a time of crisis may exacerbate strain and tension in caregiving relationships.

Nutrition Needs

A recent study from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology suggests that older adults who live alone and don’t have friends or family nearby eat less fruits and vegetables.

Eating well and staying healthy while sheltering in place

Dietitian Cary Kreutzer, director of the USC Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity program, shares advice for maintaining healthy habits and connections while isolated.

Addressing Social Isolation

USC gerontology experts have tips for how you can help older adults practice social distancing but still feel in touch.

COVID-19 and caring for older adults

The coronavirus pandemic presents new challenges to senior care, but with some planning and determination, the risk can be mitigated, according to experts from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

In the News

County Launches COVID-19 Outreach To Latinos (KPBS-FM)

KPBS-FM quoted USC gerontology professor Donna Benton on loneliness in older adults. She said it’s not uncommon for someone to wake up one day and realize their peer group has dwindled rather suddenly. “We may have actually lost them completely to death. So if that happens, your network is smaller and it’s that much more […]

Amid deadly virus, a push for nursing home alternatives (Salon)

Salon quoted Anna Rahman of the USC Leonard Davis School on the push for alternatives to nursing homes during COVID-19. “I think at the end of the day, you might not really be able to [move away from institutional settings],” Rahman said. “There are some people who are very, very sick, and their families cannot […]

COVID-19 Won’t Change Us Forever (The Atlantic)

The Atlantic quoted T. Em Arpawong of the USC Leonard Davis School on post-traumatic growth, which is when people thrive after a negative, life-changing event.

Covid-19 deaths reveal ageist perceptions of seniors, which affects the care they receive (Washington Post)

The Washington Post (via The Conversation) featured commentary by Paul Nash of the USC Leonard Davis School and colleagues on how ageism harms older adults, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. “The COVID-19 emergency gives us the opportunity to examine health inequalities in the U.S. It gives us a chance to look again at the way […]

Coronavirus shows how ageism is harmful to health of older adults (The Conversation)

The Conversation featured a column co-authored by Paul Nash on how COVID-19 has underscored the harmful health effects of ageism. “The COVID-19 emergency gives us the opportunity to examine health inequalities in the U.S. It gives us a chance to look again at the way Americans view and treat older people. And it lets us look […]

The Coronavirus Is Scrambling Retirement, But There Are Ways to Move Forward (The Atlantic)

The Atlantic quoted Paul Irving on the impact of COVID-19 on retirement and older adults. “In past economic downturns, when employers do layoffs and reductions in force, older adults tend to be sidelined,” Irving says. “They are often the first to be fired and the last to be rehired.”

Fight the Coronavirus by Defending the Host (U.S. News and World Report)

U.S. News and World Report featured a column co-authored by Distinguished Scholar in Residence Paul Irving on the need to increase resilience and reduce chronic illness as a way to defeat COVID-19 as vaccines and therapies are still in the works. The authors call for a national campaign to address the “other epidemic” of chronic […]

5 Reasons Working From Home Benefits Older Workers — and Their Employers (AARP)

AARP quoted Distinguished Scholar in Residence Paul Irving in an article about how teleworking opportunities benefit older workers: “The world will look much older in the decades to come, and employers must adapt to this demographic shift.”

Coronavirus kills black people at twice the rate as white people: Here’s what we can do about it (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times quoted Reginald Tucker-Seeley of the USC Leonard Davis School on how the COVID-19 pandemic is not affecting everyone equally.

Coronavirus Outbreak: The Importance of Hugs (KNBC-TV)

NBC News Los Angeles affiliate KNBC-TV featured Jennifer Ailshire of the USC Leonard Davis School on the need for physical contact among humans. “We’re social creatures, and as social animals, we can’t survive without each other,” she said.

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