USC Leonard Davis School COVID-19 Expertise

Faculty Tips and Perspectives

An Unprecedented Internship: Living in a Retirement Community during COVID-19

While most USC Leonard Davis students had their internships pivot to a virtual setting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nelson Rubio Argueta’s internship site, Kingsley Manor Retirement Community in Los Angeles, was also his home.

Column: Surviving the New Normal

We need to acknowledge that we are all susceptible to environmental and situational stressors, identify coping strategies, and care for one another, writes Caroline Cicero in a column for the American Society on Aging.

Online Education with Expertise and Optimism

As online education and virtual classrooms slowly become the norm, students and teachers alike continue to tackle new challenges together.

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.

Students support nonprofit bringing meals to people facing illness

USC Student Gerontology Association raises funds for Project Angel Food, a nonprofit which cooks and delivers meals to those living with serious illnesses. 

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

Pandemic Precautions: The TV News You Watch Might Matter (U.S. News & World Report)

U.S. News & World Report featured research by doctoral students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu of the USC Leonard Davis School on how viewers of Fox News were less likely to take preventive measures against COVID-19 compared to CNN viewers. “In a highly partisan environment, false information can be easily disseminated,” they said.

Fox News viewers are less likely to follow coronavirus safety measures than people who watch CNN, study finds (Insider)

Insider featured research by doctoral students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu of the USC Leonard Davis School on how viewers of Fox News were less likely to take preventative measures against COVID-19 compared to CNN viewers. “It’s not about what media they watch, it’s about what media they trust,” Zhao said.

Fox News viewers use fewer Covid-19 safety precautions than CNN viewers, study finds (CNN)

CNN featured a study by PhD in Gerontology students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu that found viewers who trust Fox News coverage more than CNN’s are slightly less likely to take preventative measures against the novel coronavirus and a little more likely to put themselves at risk. “Health messaging, despite being one of the few […]

COVID-19: TCTMD’s Daily Dispatch for October 9 (tctMD)

tctMD included in its COVID-19 news roundup a new study from PhD students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu on how trusting right- or left-leaning TV news outlets are strongly correlated with either risky or preventive behaviors regarding the pandemic.

The Older Americans Getting Left Behind in The Longevity Economy (PBS Next Avenue)

PBS’ “Next Avenue” quoted Paul Irving, distinguished scholar in residence at the USC Leonard Davis School and chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, on how COVID-19 has negatively impacted older Americans. “COVID has elevated our understanding of the inequities and disparities in society,” says Irving.

Eviction Threats, Lockdown And Loneliness In Nursing Homes Amid COVID-19 (KPCC-FM’s AirTalk)

KPCC-FM’s Air Talk interviewed Donna Benton of the USC Leonard Davis School about the challenges nursing home residents face as facilities try to keep them safe. “We’re certainly seeing more of a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, feelings of anxiety and particularly of isolation.”

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 […]

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