It's that time of the year again — where sugar, spice, and everything nice reign supreme.
September welcomed autumn with a new UNLV program and cooling COVID-19 case rates, followed by vaccine mandates for many events and businesses. Among other headlines for September was UNLV ranking first in diversity nationwide and opening a new innovation incubator off campus. In addition to that, one UNLV study made waves in the news for discoveries bolstering the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, UNLV experts and the community reflected on the legacy of 9/11, two decades after the terrorist attacks.
Read on to learn about all this and more.
UNLV Named One of the Most Diverse Universities
U.S. News & World Report named UNLV one of the most diverse universities in the country this year. UNLV was ranked first in a four-way tie with Stanford University, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and the University of San Francisco. UNLV has consistently earned a high ranking in diversity — earning second place last year, fourth in 2019, and topping the list in both 2017 and 2018.
- President Keith E. Whitfield voiced his pride in UNLV’s diversity and reaffirmed his efforts to continue making it a more welcoming campus: Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada Current, and KLAS-TV: 8 News Now.
New UNLV Occupational Therapy Program
For some, the pandemic revealed how difficult everyday tasks can be for those suffering from injury, illness, or disability. Even getting to the shower safely from bed can be a challenge of its own. With the healthcare worker shortage becoming more evident than ever, UNLV is taking a step in remedying this problem with its new occupational therapy doctoral program. Students train in a real home near the Las Vegas Medical District and Shadow Lane campus that is retrofitted to mimic the conditions in which they will treat their future patients. The program’s first cohort of 36 students is set to graduate in Spring 2023.
- Program director Donna Costa and associate professor-in-residence Sheama Krishnagiri spoke to the Las Vegas Sun, KVVU-TV: Fox 5, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, and KSNV-TV: News 3 about how the program is filling a critical gap in the Silver State.
Double-Trouble: Correlation Between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease
A team of researchers led by psychology professor James Hyman and Department of Brain Health chair Jefferson Kinney have strengthened the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Their study suggests that Type II diabetes leaves people at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life, possibly due to the impact of chronic high blood sugar on the brain’s memory function. The study reinforces past findings that suggest a correlation between the two, strengthening the idea that the link between the two diseases must continue to be researched.
- U.S. News & World Report, Neuroscience News, Technology Networks, Science Daily, Medical Xpress, and Mirage News.
Putting Poverty Lessons Into Practice
About 160 students from UNLV’s schools of nursing, medicine, and dentistry gained a better understanding of patients they might treat in their future careers during a poverty simulation event. Students acted out scenarios focused on the day-to-day struggles of low-income families, including navigation of a lack of income and reliable transportation, child care, full or part-time jobs, social services, and homeless shelters.
Incubating Big Ideas
UNLV’s mission to help students bring big ideas to life took a step forward Sept. 29 with the opening of the UNLV Incubator at Hughes Center. The unique space, and an accompanying network of faculty and industry support, will help aspiring student entrepreneurs bridge the crucial stage of the innovation process between promising concept and business reality. Located in the Hughes Center business complex just northwest of UNLV’s campus, the newly opened 5,500-square-foot space is the latest bridge – or launchpad – to move student projects from great ideas to bold new businesses.
9/11 in Retrospect, 20 Years Later
With each September comes a reminder of the tragedy that struck the U.S. many years ago, with this year marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As students and professors united to honor the memory of those lost, media outlets called upon UNLV experts to lend historical expertise and to share how the Las Vegas community came together in the immediate aftermath.
- Peter Michel, interim division director of Special Collections and Archives, explained how UNLV Libraries is continuing to preserve the items left outside the New York-New York casino in 2001 in remembrance of those who passed away. View the coverage on KLAS-TV: 8 News Now and KVVU-TV: Fox 5.
- History professor Michael Green looked back on the event with a historical lens on KSNV-TV: News 3.
September was a seemingly calm month in the world of COVID-19 discourse, but we still have a long way to go. Cases continued to fester within unvaccinated populations, again centering public conversation on the topic of misinformation. Despite this, the virus’s presence has dwindled, with some experts even discussing the prospect of “superimmunity.” University experts debated which aspect of the issue to tackle next.
- UNLV’s Contact Tracing Team was named the Program of the Year by the Nevada Public Health Association. Members of the team spoke with KTNV-TV: ABC 13 about how they succeeded as an entirely student-run resource.
- The Nevada System of Higher Education mandated COVID vaccinations for employees:
- Brian Labus, public health professor, talked about a number of COVID-related topics — including misinformation and COVID protection in schools.
- Michael Gardner, vice dean for clinical affairs, offered medical insight into the vaccine’s effects on pregnant women via the Las Vegas Review-Journal and El Tiempo.
- Communications professor Emma Frances Bloomfield went on KSNV-TV: News 3 to give guidance on avoiding COVID misinformation online.
- Evelyn Montalvo Stanton, chair of pediatrics, explained to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and El Tiempo why children’s immune systems may not be as resilient to COVID as previously thought.
- Health Law program director David Orentlicher talked about misinformation often being mixed in with bits of the truth in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Marc J. Kahn, dean of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine, spoke to Voice of America (twice) about the prospect of COVID “superimmunity.”
- Ann C. McGinley, co-director of UNLV’s Workplace Law Program, spoke to Verywell Health about employer-mandated vaccines.
- Education Week asked Bradley Marianno, educational policy professor, discussed what school districts can do if teachers refuse to get vaccinated after mandates go into effect.
General Expert Round-Up
- Michael Green guest starred on the Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice) about the history of the mob’s stronghold on Las Vegas. Listen to the podcasts here: Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas (twice), (three times), (four times).
- Damon McCune, director of UNLV’s Didactic Program, recommended several supplements for men looking to lose weight and build muscle: Men’s Journal (twice) and Press From.
- The Conversation and SheKnows featured expert commentary from Christopher Kearney, psychology department chair, about how to be there for kids during another semester in the pandemic.
- Vegas PBS interviewed UNLV’s Sports Research and Innovation Initiative co-director Nancy Lough about the Las Vegas sports scene, and political science professor Dan Lee about Census results in Nevada.
- Deirdre Clemente, fashion historian, commented on 2021 Met Gala looks, the return of the disco dress, and hybrid office-lounge wear: ABC News, Refinery29 (twice), and CNN Indonesia.
- Psychology professor Brenna N. Renn gave advice on Optum and United Healthcare about managing adult ADHD and maintaining meaningful connections with friends and family.
- NBC News turned to research professor Kristen Averyt for her expertise on the Southwest’s future after the megadrought ends.
- International Gaming Institute research director Brett Abarbanel wrote for The Conversation about live streams on Twitch changing the way people gamble.
- David Copeland, psychology professor, was interviewed by Discover Magazine on the topic of “digital dementia.”
- Geologists Elisabeth (Libby) Hausrath and Arya Udry told KSNV-TV: News 3 about their analysis of Mars rock samples for NASA’s rover mission on the Red Planet.
- Amanda Belarmino was quoted in the New York Times about how COVID changed Las Vegas.
- Psychologist Stephen D. Benning told Business Insider and Texas News Today that people may be strangely drawn to controversial public figures because they see their own mistakes in them.
- The Washington Post quoted communications professor Natalie Pennington about stopping family members from repeatedly engaging in online arguments.
- Vice and Cosmopolitan asked Katherine M. Hertlein, couple and family therapist, whether a gradual loss of interest in sex spells trouble and how PDA improves couples’ libidos.