August 9: UF in the News, 8/6/21 - 8/9/21

New CDC-funded pilot program in Georgia uses public art to increase confidence in COVID-19 vaccination — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8/6/21

To help build confidence in and increase demand for COVID-19 vaccination, the CDC is partnering with several organizations on an innovative community initiative leveraging local artists as trusted vaccine messengers. 

In support of these efforts, the CDC’s collaboration with the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine has resulted in the development of a set of informational field guides to drive public health partnerships with arts and culture programming in communities.

6 members of a Florida church died of Covid-19 in 2 weeks, pastor says. On Sunday the church held a vaccination clinic — CNN, 8/8/21

In just two weeks, six members of a Florida church died from COVID-19. All were unvaccinated, their pastor said.

Now the church is hosting a free vaccination clinic for anyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccine. The clinic was held in partnership with health officials from University of Florida Health. 

Embedded learning takes hold — ABC Baltimore, 8/8/21

Embedded instruction, where kids learn important skills in the context of their everyday routines and activities, can be especially beneficial for young children with or at risk for disabilities in classrooms or at home. Patricia Snyder, the director of UF's Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, was quoted sharing her expertise in the area.

How are our public school gifted programs doing? It’s hard to say. — The Washington Post, 8/8/21

Gifted children are generally defined as those with exceptional talent or natural ability. Studies of programs designed to serve such students leave doubt about their effectiveness. One of the largest and most detailed studies on this, conducted by Jason Grissom, public policy and education professor at Vanderbilt, and Christopher Redding, assistant education professor at UF, just came out. 

The enduring legacies of the Tokyo Olympic Games — The Hill, 8/9/21

UF professor of sport management Kiki Kaplanidou contributed this opinion piece to The Hill reflecting on the hope and resilience of this year's Japan-hosted Olympic Games. She says the central focus on mental health will create a legacy of new programs and initiatives to support the well-being of athletes.

Natural infection isn't enough to protect against COVID-19, experts say. You still need a vaccine. — USA Today, 8/9/21

Experts are recommending vaccines for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to reduce their risk of reinfection.

“Natural infection will cause your immune system to make many types of antibodies and immune response to all parts of the virus, but only a small fraction of that response is actually protective,” said Nicole Iovine, chief hospital epidemiologist at UF Health. “When you get the vaccine, the entire response is targeted to the virus's spike protein.” 

Delta-plus variant of COVID detected in Central Florida’s wastewater — Orlando Sentinel, 8/9/21

A new mutation of COVID-19 was detected in Florida wastewater. This discovery shows the ever-evolving nature of the virus, said Nicole Iovine, chief hospital epidemiologist at UF Health.

“The virus is going to continue to circulate and continue to mutate. That’s what all viruses do,” she said. “It is expected that additional changes will occur."

Teenager bitten by unknown animal airlifted to Florida hospital — Newsweek, 8/9/21

A teenager suffered leg injuries and had to be airlifted to the hospital over the weekend after being bitten by something in the water off the Florida coast—but officials aren't sure what. UF's International Shark Attack File was cited, showing that Florida has the highest number of confirmed unprovoked shark attacks in the U.S. by a wide margin.

Indigenous Amazon communities fight deforestation with new early-alert tool — Scientific American, 8/9/21

A pilot program reveals that deforestation declined when Peruvian Indigenous communities use an early-alert-system app to detect forest loss. Experts say this approach to addressing Amazonian deforestation looks promising. “What they found is what you would hope to find,” says Catherine Tucker, a forest governance researcher at UF. “Would this work in all communities that have high risk of deforestation? Given the results, it’s worth a try.”