USC Leonard Davis School COVID-19 Expertise

Faculty Tips and Perspectives

Latinos are more likely to die from COVID-19, underlining racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes

“Even among a population of Medicaid patients who are similarly economically disadvantaged, Latinos are shouldering an unfair burden of this deadly pandemic,” said study co-author Mireille Jacobson.

Column: How Gerontology Education Is Meeting The Challenges Of COVID-19 And Beyond

Gerontology education programs are uniquely suited to address the challenges emphasized by COVID-19 and to anticipate future areas to focus on, write Senior Associate Dean Maria Henke and Dean Pinchas Cohen in a column for LeadingAge California.

Master’s Graduate Embraces Multidisciplinary, Compassionate COVID-19 Response as Senior Living Executive Director

Shaun Rushforth MS ’08, executive director of the Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno, California, says the depth and breadth of his USC education aided in responding to the pandemic as well as ideas for “opening anew.”

A century of COVID-19: what history tells us about the long-term effects of a pandemic

USC research showed that people born during or just after the 1918 flu pandemic faced increased heart disease risk more than 60 years later. The legacy of the novel coronavirus could be worse.

Form, function, and fighting disease in senior living

More important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, USC experts teach students how to design and operate senior living facilities that promote public health.

Caring for Caregivers

Amid challenges posed by COVID-19, recent national attention on the needs of caregivers is long overdue, says Donna Benton, director of the USC Family Caregiver Support Center.

How will COVID-19 affect our next generation?

In-utero exposure to the coronavirus pandemic could cause developmental difficulties and accelerated aging in the century ahead, say USC researchers.

Researchers find evidence of pandemic fatigue; younger and older adults resumed risky social behaviors as COVID-19 progressed

USC study also reveals differences in preventive behavior based on gender, race, education, state of residence, health condition, and trusted news source.

The Loneliness Epidemic and COVID-19

Using technology and engaging the senses can help us tackle loneliness among older adults, say USC experts.

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

Life expectancy fell sharply in the U.S. last year among high-income countries (NBC News)

NBC News quoted Postdoctoral Researcher Theresa Andrasfay regarding an Oxford study illustrating last year’s decline in life expectancy for the U.S. “It reveals the U.S. did a poor job protecting […]

Do COVID-19 vaccine incentives work? (Marketplace)

Marketplace featured a study coauthored by Mireille Jacobson on the low effectiveness of financial incentives for COVID-19 vaccination.

Paying Americans to Get a Vaccine Doesn’t Work, New Study Shows (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg featured a study regarding the low effectiveness of financial incentives for vaccination. “Reaching a goal of very high vaccination rates likely requires much stronger policy levers, such as employer […]

It Turns Out Paying People to Take the Covid-19 Vaccine Doesn’t Really Work (Wall Street Journal)

Wall Street Journal featured a study coauthored by Mireille Jacobson on how financial incentives for COVID-19 vaccination may not work.

Should the vaccine hesitant be paid to get vaccinated? A Bay Area study shows it probably doesn’t work (San Francisco Chronicle)

San Francisco Chronicle featured a study coauthored by Mireille Jacobson on why financial incentives to encourage vaccination may not work. “(T)his is not the road to getting to ‘herd immunity.’ […]

U.S. Life Expectancy Fell by 1.5 Years in 2020, the Biggest Decline in Generations (Wall Street Journal)

The Wall Street Journal quoted Theresa Andrasfay of the USC Leonard Davis School on her research into the pandemic’s impact on life expectancy by race and ethnicity. One reason for […]

USC: Latinos Experience More Hospitalization, Deaths from COVID-19 (KNBC-TV)

NBC News Los Angeles affiliate KNBC-TV featured research by Mireille Jacobson of the USC Leonard Davis School and the USC Schaeffer Center on the racial and ethnic disparities in who […]

US life expectancy fell by more than a year during coronavirus pandemic, research suggests (CNN)

CNN featured research by Theresa Andrasfay of the USC Leonard Davis School and a colleague on how COVID-19 has impacted U.S. life expectancy, especially among Black and Latino populations. “This […]

Life expectancy in the US has trailed high-income countries for a decade. The pandemic made it worse. (USA Today)

USA Today featured Jessica Ho of the USC Leonard Davis School on life expectancy falling in the United States during the pandemic. “Going in, we already expected the U.S. was […]

Study reveals alarming trend in US death rates since 2000 (The Guardian)

The Guardian quoted Jessica Ho on why the United States has higher mortality rates and lower life expectancy. “Americans … often practice poor health behaviors, and this may interact with […]

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