COVID-19 UH Mānoa Updates

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CSS Roundup – Fall 2022


Congratulations to CSS faculty . . .

Tenure and Promotion

Higa, Christina – Associate Specialist, TASI/PHIDC

Lusher, Lester – Associate Professor, Economics

Molina, Teresa – Associate Professor, Economics


Mostafanezhad, Mary – Professor, Geography and Environment

Saraswati, Ayu – Professor, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Szuster, Brian – Professor, Geography and Environment

Tengan, Ty – Professor, Ethnic Studies and Anthropology

. . . and new Department Chairs

Roderick Labrador – Ethnic Studies

Ashok Das – Urban and Regional Planning (Fall 2022)

BAM in Anthropology

A combined five-year Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree (BAM) program in Anthropology has been approved. In most cases, pathway students can graduate with a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree or Post-Baccalaureate Certificate within five years.

Stellar academic subjects

Four CSS units are ranked in the 2022 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. They are:

Communication, No. 51-75 worldwide, No. 31-39 U.S.

Geography, No. 201-300 worldwide, No. 49-69 U.S.

Political science, No. 201-300 worldwide, No. 90-115 U.S.

Psychology, No. 301-400 worldwide, No. 117-145 U.S.

The new School of Communication and Information consists of Communication, CommunicologyJournalismLibrary and Information Science, and the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.

A leader in COVID-19 research

Faculty members in Economics and the UH Economic Research Organization (UHERO) shared research information on COVID-19 and were sought out by media for their expertise.

Ruben Juarez was interviewed by multiple media outlets for the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy among Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders. Juarez is an Economics professor and HMSA Endowed Professor of Health Economics in UHERO.

Tim Halliday was a co-author of research reporting how private laboratories can earn huge profits from PCR testing while potentially impacting healthcare premium costs. Halliday is an Economics professor and a UHERO research fellow.

A new series of Public Health Reports from UHERO provided a comprehensive look at COVID-19’s impact on the state from COVID-19 vaccination rates, immunity, mental health, food insecurity and more.

Alumna wins Emmy Award

Journalism graduate Jennifer Wong was a member of the Hawaiʻi News Now team that won a 2022 Emmy Award for “Daytime Newscast: First at 4: March Floods.” The recognition came from the San Francisco/Northern California Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in June.

Distinguished graduates with EWC ties

Alan Miller, who earned his master’s degree in Political Science and was an aspiring young journalist at the East-West Center (EWC) in the late 1970s, has won an EWC Distinguished Alumni Award.

Micah Fisher, an EWC research fellow and Geography and Environment PhD alum, is the U.S. nominee for the 2022 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education. The annual award recognizes young scientists under age 40 who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in scientific research, and who cooperate with scientists from other APEC member economies in addressing the 2022 theme of “Innovation to Achieve Economic, Environmental and Social Goals.”

Reappointed as ethics watchdog

Wesley Fong, an attorney with an undergraduate degree in Political Science, has been reappointed to a four-year term on the Hawaii State Ethics Commission.

Grant from Fulbright program

Geography and Environment Professor Brian Szuster has been awarded a grant under the Fulbright ASEAN Research Program to study the social capital needs of small independent shrimp farmers across Southeast Asia. The grant period is from October 2022 to March 2023, and his collaborators come from institutes in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

An urgent look at the U.S. Border Patrol

Reece Jones’ newest book, Nobody is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United States, was published in July by Counterpoint. Jones is chair of the Department of Geography and Environment.

Working to reduce disaster risk

A team of UH researchers and graduate students, led by Professor Karl Kim in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, participated earlier this year in the United Nations Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in Bali, Indonesia. Kim directs the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center.

Learning from improv comedy

Jason Higa, a CSS academic advisor, authored an article in a recent issue of Academic Advising Today, the quarterly electronic publication distributed to members of the National Academic Advising Association. The article was titled, “Searching for the Booyah: Three Rules that will Improv(e) Your Communication Skills.”

Insights into Micronesia migration

Michael Pietrusewsky, Anthropology professor emeritus, was a co-author of a June 30 article in Science about Micronesian migrations. Ancient DNA reveals five streams of migration into Micronesia and matrilocality (the patterns of marriage in which the groom resides with the bride’s parents) in early Pacific seafarers.