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COVID-19 and University Re-entry/Reopening Strategies: Addressing the Needs of Older Adults Using a Mixed Methods Approach

Principal Investigator(s)

Zhao Chen PhD, MPH. Distinguished Professor and Department Chair, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Target Population(s)

All UArizona Employees who are age of 50 or older.

Contact Information

Researchers at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Arizona Center on Aging, and College of Nursing have been conducting a research study to understand the perspectives on continued campus opening of UArizona employees age 50 and older and have been developing interventions for this age group. Many of you participated in this research, but this following survey is for everyone regardless of whether you had participated previously.

Now you are invited to complete a second campus-wide anonymous online survey, which will take 15 minutes of your time. Your responses will help inform the need for support of UArizona older employees. For more information about this study and to complete the survey please visit


Please visit our page regularly as we will have an additional follow up survey opportunities!

Project Summary, Description, or Purpose

Over 5700 UArizona employees are age 50 or older. Older adults are at increased risk for severe outcomes of COVID-19 due to age-related weakening immune function and the increased presence of chronic health issues. Plans for safe return to campus-life must consider the needs of and safeguards for this population as they often represent the most experienced workforce.

This project uses focus groups and an online survey to get information on older employees’ perceived risk of COVID-19 with the reopening of campus, behaviors for reducing their risk, and concerns to be addressed. Intervention strategies will be developed based on information from the focus groups and online survey. Pilot studies will be conducted to test the effectiveness of selected interventions on addressing UArizona’s older employees’ concerns, and to promote overall health and well-being.

We are conducted a Tai Chi & Qigong intervention study using a zoom class including meditation, breathing exercise and slow and continuous movements, which can be completed in your office or at home.

We also conducted both Step and a Brief Meditation Interventions. The aim of these interventions were to assess intervention effects of Tai Chi and Qigong, walking, and meditation on promoting health and well-being of UA employees who are 50 or older.

This project will apply community-based participatory research principles including having a community advisory board to engage older employees at the University.


  • Nicole P. Yuan PhD, MPH. Associate Professor, Health Promotion Sciences, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
  • Amanda E. Sokan, PhD, MHA, LL.B. Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Practice & Translational Research, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
  • Marc Verhougstraete, PhD. Assistant Professor, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Co-director, Environment, Exposure Science and Risk Assessment Center (ESRAC).
  • Kathleen C Insel, PhD, RN. Chair, Biobehavioral Health Science Division. Professor, College of Nursing.
  • Mindy J. Fain, MD. Professor, Medicine. Associate Professor, Nursing. Chief, Division of Geriatrics, General Internal Medicine and Palliative Medicine. Co-Director, University of Arizona Center on Aging. The Anne and Alden Hart Endowed Chair in Medicine.
  • Linda R. Phillips, RN, PhD, FAAN, FGSA. Senior Director of Research & Education, Arizona Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, UA Center on Aging. Professor Emerita, UCLA Nursing.
  • Lisa M. O'Neill, DBH, MPH. Clinical Assistant Professor, Medicine. Associate Director of Research & Education, UA Center on Aging.

Many thanks to our Community Advisory Board (CAB) Members for their valuable insight and assistance with planning our study activities!

  • Amy Fountain. Associate Professor, Career Track.
  • Jeffrey Jones. Chair, Classified Staff Council, Academic Technologies.
  • Christina Rocha. Research Administrator.
  • Heather Hendrych. 
  • Agnes Attakai. Director Health Disparities.
  • Sylvia Quintero. Business & Finance Manager (Retired).
  • Michael Brewer. Librarian.

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