Talking about personal stories can be healing, gratifying, uncomfortable, and in some cases, life-changing. In this episode, CSBS Associate Director Cristiana Alvarez and Research Scientist Peter Ondish sit down with Professor of Psychology Carla Desi-Ann Hunter. As we unravel the truths of her own story, we will discuss racial trauma in black and brown communities, colorblind attitudes, and black lives matter. We’ll also discuss how to facilitate healing by normalizing and validating stories within communities of color.

In August, thousands of students traveled back to their college campuses amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the nation. Dorms opened, varsity athletics resumed, and greek recruitment continued. These typical student activities, combined with what we know about the typical behaviors of college students, kindled the ideal coronavirus breeding ground. Facing a deadly pathogen and a lot of uncertainty, some colleges confronted large outbreaks, while others successfully kept infection rates down. Cornell University happens to be one of the successful universities in managing the spread of COVID-19.

This episode will investigate the story behind Cornell’s success. Dr. Brent Roberts will talk with Dr. Peter Frazier, who is an associate professor at Cornell University and an expert in COVID-19 data modeling. They will discuss Cornell’s "behavioral compact” strategy and behavioral compliance with Cornell’s rigorous health and safety protocols. Dr. Frazier with conclude with several recommendations on what universities can do to effectively manage the spread of coronavirus on campus.

Oftentimes, natural disasters cause not only physical damage, but also they can become an agent for many secondary mental health adversities–especially within youth populations.

In the latest CSBS Podcast episode, CSBS team members, Cristina Alvarez and Kaylee Lukacena, speak with Dr. Tara Powell, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, on the topic of mental health and youth, especially during times of crisis. They discuss both the virtual pilot studies and the proven methods alike, including the Journey of Hope Intervention program, that focuses on normalizing emotions, coping strategies, peer support and other protective factors. 

Dr. Powell addresses how mental health providers are tackling these challenges, and more largely, she shares some tips on coping with mental exhaustion, uncertainty, and staying connected during difficult times. 

Smartphones have radically changed our world. They’ve changed how we work, how we connect with others, how we date, and how we manage our finances, to name just a few things. Recently, they’ve also changed how individuals with mental health conditions receive services. For example, smartphones have changed the ways in which clinicians check in with their patients, and how patients with similar symptoms develop support networks. But like most technological advances, smartphones come with as many problems as they do promises. For example, for patients with schizophrenia, video conferencing has the potential to backfire and trigger symptoms of paranoia.

In this episode, we’ll talk with Dr. Christopher Larrison–a professor at the University of Illinois School of Social Work–about the promising and perilous aspects of using smartphones in community and mental health spaces.

We all know that exercise is generally good for our physical health, but creating healthy exercise habits and sticking to them is easier said than done. How can we pick up and stick with our exercise routines? To provide extra motivation, we will also consider the ways in which exercise can help improve mental health, well-being, and even cognitive function. We will talk with two University of Illinois exercise science experts, Assistant Professor Neha Gothe and Associate Professor Sean Mullen, from the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. Together, we will discuss how to make our bodies work better for us in the time of COVID-19. 

 

* [13:25] Prof. Sean Mullen mentions poi swinging as an example of exercise. To learn more about this exercise, use the link provided here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9aTK5B4vSA&list=PL5C5ABED4E26B91B2&index=4

Food insecurity is recognized as a major health crisis in the United States. More than 42 million persons were food insecure in 2015, and many negative health outcomes are attributable to food insecurity. In this episode, we talk with University of Illinois Professor Craig Gundersen on the measurement, causes, and consequences of food insecurity. We discuss why solving the issue can be challenging, and why programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can be effective. Finally, we discuss how COVID-19 has affected the fight to end food insecurity.

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