Nov. 22, 2023
UCI Digest
The Santa Ana winds do their work on the Infinity Fountain. (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)
The Santa Ana winds do their work on the Infinity Fountain. (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)


Empowering nursing assistants

Empowering nursing assistants
During the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately impacted older patients, certified nursing assistants were the front-line workers in skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes. To combat caregiver burnout, UCI’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology and Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing developed a groundbreaking training program in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program. The initiative aims to empower CNAs by providing them with tools for self-care as well as skills to enhance their role in providing healthcare for older adults. The new training program will be available online nationwide.

Blum Center gains funding for anti-human-trafficking work

To fight human trafficking, social ecology alumna Kelsey Morgan, Ph.D. ’23, co-founder of EverFree, and Richard Matthew, director of the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation, teamed up with a plan they call Freedom Lifemap. The project offers survivors of human trafficking a tool to identify their needs and priorities in their journey to freedom, self-diagnose their well-being and create their own solutions and action plans to reach their goals. The Blum Center received a $750,000 gift from the Samueli Foundation to help fund the project.

Flu and COVID vaccination deadlines are Dec. 1

By Dec. 1, all campus employees and students must submit either an attestation that they received the 2023-24 flu shot and the updated COVID-19 vaccine or a declination that they are choosing not to receive one or both vaccines. Employees should attest or decline at the Occupational Health portal and students should use the Student Health Center portal. Answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccination policy are available online. For other questions or concerns, employees should contact the Employee Experience Center at or 949-824-0500, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students should contact the Student Health Center.

Reminder: There will be no Digest tomorrow or Friday. Happy Thanksgiving and see you on Monday.


 Teaching happiness and well-being

John Guzowski poses with his Bio 48 students during the summer session of 2023. Photo provided by John Guzowski

Depression first hit John Guzowski during a high point in his career as he achieved what academic scientists work so hard for. He had earned tenure, directed the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory and ran his own thriving lab. How he learned to address his mental health journey a decade ago inspired him to create a general elective course in the School of Biological Sciences – Bio 48, “The Mind-Body Connection in the Neuroscience of Well-Being” – that aims to destigmatize discussions about this topic and to equip young adults with the information and behavioral tools to support their well-being. His course – which blends neuroscience, physiology, psychology, philosophy and practical life skills – clarifies how the brain and body work as one system and how this knowledge can help students control their well-being. “There’s a real crisis of mental health,” Guzowski says, referring to the increasing rates of depression and anxiety among college-age adults. “Our well-being and happiness are not something that happens to us. It’s something we can control,” he says. “Even doing small things each day can give us a lot of joy and peace. Little changes are lasting changes.”

#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.


Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register and The Washington Post for students, faculty and staff.
TIME logo

8 Historical Moments More Important to Native Americans Than the ‘First Thanksgiving’

Time, Nov. 21
Cited: Sarah Whitt, tribal citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and assistant professor of global and international studies

KCRW logo

Putting diapers on bees might be the key to saving them

KCRW – Greater LA, Nov. 21
Cited: Tobin J. Hammer, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology

LAist logo

LA Latinos Took A Big Financial Hit During The Pandemic. Here’s How Some Are Trying To Bounce Back

LAist, Nov. 22
Cited: Bill Maurer, professor of anthropology, law and criminology, law and society

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