January 19, 2021

Team SSRI,

Week 44.

The bells of the Duke Chapel carillon will ring at 5:30 p.m. today as part of a nationwide tribute to remember and honor people who have died of COVID-19. Viewers are invited tune in to an online presentation of the remembrance on the Duke University website at duke.edu. You can also keep track of how each state is holding up during this pandemic.

I recently read this article on vaccinating Cherokee language speakers alongside frontline health care workers. The negative impact this pandemic is having on communities is pretty powerful.

Many people are feeling extremely anxious about the inauguration this week. If you have kiddos, they’ve most likely noticed too. This is a teachable moment.

On a lighter note, have you found it difficult to get a haircut? Or maybe you’re feeling creative and bold and using this time working remotely to try something new? Don Taylor has grown an impressive pony.


Newsy Stuff

34 students and 28 faculty/staff tested positive out of 10,287 tests administered.

Q&A: COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Remote Work and More in 2021.

The plans have been adjusted a bit for virtual participation, but all systems are a go for Research Week 2021 at Duke, Jan. 25-29.

Consistency, sunlight and vigilance can help you get through challenging times.

Kevin White, Duke’s vice president and director of athletics, will retire in August from the position he has held since 2008.

As the Biden administration prepares to transition into the White House Jan. 20, a former Blue Devil is playing an important role.

January 11, 2021

Team SSRI,

Week 44.

So. Many. Feelings. I’ve been unable to focus and doing way too much ‘doomscrolling’ (Is that a word? It is now.) and trying to process everything that has happened in the past week.

Eighty-four NC counties are now considered “red zones,” with critical levels of viral spread. Another dozen counties are “orange zones” under the state’s three-tier alert system, with substantial spread. Wake and Durham counties are among those orange zones. Ack! Stay safe everyone.

Governor Roy Cooper has stated that the 10:00 p.m. statewide curfew would remain in place through January 29th as coronavirus continues to rage in North Carolina. I’d like to see more people wear their masks over their nose, please. Masks dangling from your ear or just over your mouth won’t work.

So today is National Clean Your Desk day. Who makes these days up you may ask? I haven’t a clue, but a good excuse to get the home office in shape!

Raise your hand if you are already planning some trips when things go back to “normal’. No need to feel pressure going international when there are so many amazing places so close! Check out this great round up of places to visit (and I love that Swansboro, NC is on the list;)


Newsy Stuff

As pandemic wears on, colleges and universities grapple with how to survive.

Shruti Desai named associate vice president of student affairs for campus life.

Vice President for Research Lawrence Carin will be leaving Duke at the end of February to become the Provost at KAUST, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.

Duke faculty discuss domestic terrorism, Trump, disinformation and social media.

Two Duke Gardens educators show how you can make a family activity out of exploring different kinds of tree bark to help identify trees in the wintertime.

Duke researchers have been trying to reverse-engineer vintage saxophone sound, using X-ray imaging and 3D printing.

Seeking community and classic Duke experience, some first-years opt to move from West to East Campus in spring.

January 4, 2021

Team SSRI,

Week 43.Well helllloooowww 2021! 2020 was pretty disappointing but there were some good things that happened. Let’s refresh:

  • Finland moved to give new Dads time off with their newborns.
  • Congo discharged its last Ebola patient.
  • Dogs trained to protect wildlife have saved 45 rhinos from poachers in South Africa.
  • People around the world rose up to protest police violence and racial injustice.
  • Crayola unveiled new inclusive skin-tone crayons.
  • The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s effort to end DACA.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ employees are protected by civil rights employment statutes.
  • Thanks to stay-at-home orders, animal shelters are emptier than ever.
  • Polio was officially eradicated on the African continent.
  • Asian Americans scored big in Major League Baseball.
  • Scotland became the first country to make period products free.
  • The COVID pandemic drove a record drop in global carbon emissions in 2020.
  • The 2020 election saw the most voter participation in 120 years.
  • The election led to historic wins for LGBTQ+ people and women of color.
  • It was actually areally great year for space exploration.
  • Hundreds of religious leaders called for a ban on conversion therapy.
  • Thanks to the COVID vaccine, the biggest vaccination campaign in history has begun.

I’d also like to introduce you to the “Rainbow Girls” (although they also answer to “Little Ladies”). A group of seven-year-olds in my neighborhood that live on the same cul-de-sac and whose families have formed a ‘pandemic pod’ so they can play safely with one another. Santa brought them all mopeds and we love spotting them cruising around. Rumor has it that plenty of other kids want to join so they are eagerly awaiting everyone to get their vaccine so they can expand the group.



Newsy Stuff

I’ve been waiting impatiently for this official announcement: Flash is finally dead. Here’s how to remove it from your computer.

How have your life, your family, your hopes and fears transformed since the start of this global pandemic? The Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation is part of a national movement whose mission is to dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value based on race. Your voice will become part of the fabric of how our society thinks about COVID-19.

How do vaccines work to protect our health? With help from the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI), here’s a short course on how they are developed.

If you are interested in survey research, please take a moment to register for the Future of Survey Research Conference.

A group of UNC physicians dance in thank-you video to staff. Will Duke do their own video? My guess is yes 😉

December 28, 2020

Team SSRI,

Week 42.

In just a few days we’ll be saying goodbye (or good riddance) to 2020 and ushering in a new year. The best piece of advice I’ve received heading into 2021 is to get aligned with your goals and be brave enough to make new choices. I’m so proud of all our accomplishments this year and I cannot wait to see what we do in 2021!



Newsy Stuff

The Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation at Duke has created a visitor response project in conjunction with RESIST COVID / TAKE 6! by artist Carrie Mae Weems. This outdoor exhibition is both hopeful (“Don’t Worry, We’ll Hold Hands Again”) and forceful—especially in its reminder that COVID-19 is more lethal to communities of color. The Duke TRHT Center will provide analysis and interpretation of visitor responses.

The Future of Survey Research Conference will gather an interdisciplinary group of researchers from a wide range of academic fields and industries to discuss innovations in social, behavioral, and health surveys. If survey research is your interest, please join!

MIDS is the middle of crazy admissions time! They have been putting together webinars to help prospective students get a glimpse into what it means to be a MIDSter.

Governor Roy Cooper visited the Duke University School of Medicine to tour the COVID-19 vaccination area. He was greeted at the door by Faye Williams, a retired VA nurse and now visitor screener at Duke, who was the first person in the Triangle to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

Director of Duke Human Vaccine Institute talks about the many continuing questions researchers still have about the COVID-19 virus and why Americans should have confidence in the safety and durability of the vaccine.


December 21, 2020

Team SSRI,

Week 41.

The Doing Good in the Neighborhood campaign is in full swing, although they are taking a much different approach this year asking for donations. I know many of us have been talking about becoming more involved and making a difference in our community. This is a difficult task during a pandemic, but contributing to this campaign would be a great start! What if we each gave a small amount? I’m talking $10 each. It sounds small but once you add it up, our team could make a big impact.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked a blunt question during a forum hosted last week by the National Urban League: “Can you talk about the input of African American scientists in the vaccine process?” Fauci did not hesitate when giving his answer: Kizzmekia Corbet (a Hillsborough, NC native). Another bragging moment for NC!

I hope everyone has a great holiday and enjoys time with family (as safely as possible of course). ‘SNL’ just did a hilarious skit that has resonated with a lot of Moms (I too have been given the robe for Christmas). If you’re a fan of the show and its humor, take a few minutes to watch.



Newsy Stuff

Jim Moody and Dana Pasquale are working on a CDC-funded “Snowball Study” by using social network science for contact tracing and health disparities.

Last week marked a historic moment as Duke as healthcare workers began receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines on the way in the United States, public health officials now face the daunting challenge of convincing skeptics to actually get the vaccine.

Here are five things to know about the vaccine and what this means for Duke and for North Carolina.

Duke University has received a $1.5 million gift to expand and enhance behavioral health and wellness for Duke student-athletes.

840 students admitted out of 5,036 early decision applicants, the most ever at Duke.

President Price provided an update on spring semester.

December 14, 2020

Team SSRI,

Week 40.

The 1980s are making a comeback– woot! Breakdancing became an official Olympic sport last week. The International Olympic Committee’s pursuit of urban events to lure a younger audience saw street dance battles officially added to the medal events program at the 2024 Paris Games. Also confirmed for Paris by the IOC executive board were skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing. Fingers crossed we won’t be dealing with any kind of pandemic in 2024.

This video (Am I frozen?!) made me cry-laugh. Remember that we are all in this together and online teaching, learning, and meeting can be hard.

Share your input on interdisciplinary research, teaching and engagement: Input is welcomed from all Duke faculty, staff and students



Newsy Stuff

Four Duke scholars examine logistics, vaccinating children and ensuring poor nations aren’t left out.

Article Announcement: Two of our researchers are part of a team looking at how faculty discipline and beliefs influence instructional uses of writing in STEM undergraduate courses at research-intensive universities.

What are the long-term, global economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic? A team of 4 Duke MIDS students recently tackled this pressing question at the 2020 Duke Datathon.

Strengthening your ability to weather adversity often involves others.

As part of its emergency preparedness plans, Duke will test the DukeALERT mass notification system on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

In this pandemic, you’ve heard a lot about what you can’t do. Four Duke Health physicians and health workers offer advice on what you can do this holiday to be social and lessen stress but still significantly reduce your COVID risk.

This week our MIDS team is hosting an online Q&A for prospective students.

Calling all interdisciplinary researchers: Register for the Future of Survey Research Conference where interdisciplinary researchers from a wide range of academic fields and industries will discuss innovations in social, behavioral, and health surveys.

December 7, 2020

Team SSRI,

Week 39.

I love learning life hacks for simple tasks but this one really got me. Who knew this and why haven’t you told me? This is how you close the cereal box?! Although I have to say, I have never gone to someone’s and seen these neat cereal boxes in the pantry, so I know I’m not the only one.

This year more than ever it’s imperative to make the holiday brighter for those in need, especially families with children who are struggling to provide presents amid the pandemic and devastating economic fallout. Thanks to the United States Postal Service’s “Operation Santa” letters to Santa program, anyone can help make a child’s Christmas a little brighter, and this year it’s easier than ever because it’s all digital.

*New letters arrive everyday so be sure to check their site more than once.

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are volunteering to get their Covid-19 vaccines on camera to promote public confidence in the vaccine’s safety once the US Food and Drug Administration authorizes one.

With credible candidates for the coronavirus vaccine fast approaching federal approval, distribution in North Carolina will soon get underway. So when will it be your turn? A new online tool uses age, county of residence, profession and underlying health conditions to determine how many people are ahead of you to get the vaccine. (It looks like I’ll be waiting quite a while based on this tool)

We’ll be gearing up for our next SSRI Lunch-n-Learn after the holidays. If you have suggestions on topics, please reach out.



Newsy Stuff

At the request of the Provost, SSRI has created an e-newsletter, PHDigest, geared toward students in the social sciences. Sara Cross (Social worker turned Ph.D. candidate who seeks to improve hospice and palliative care and reduce disparities) was our student spotlight this month.

ProjectROUSE has released WAVE 2 of its survey. If you’d to participate, please check out the site to see all survey options.

Take a peek at Duke-authored books that explore historical and current aspects of faith, spirituality and religious culture in society.

When COVID hit last spring, many graduate students had to give up their summer plans for teaching, field research and internships. The Provost’s Office quickly pledged support and spearheaded the effort to identify virtual opportunities.

How to discover what you’re good at: Knowing your strengths can improve your work and life.

Zoom plans to implement a new security requirement that will require a passcode or waiting room. The changes are expected over the winter break.

(I vote for passcodes since I spend a lot of time waiting for people to approve me to join the meeting. Hello? Can someone let me in?)

November 30, 2020

Team SSRI,

Week 38.

I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday and ready for a new week!

Duke has for many months required a mask or face covering in all outdoor settings where social distancing measures cannot be maintained and at all times in shared spaces indoors. Now it’s required across the state at all times.

This week is our next SSRI Lunch-n-Learn: “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” on December 2nd @ 12 :30 pm. We’ll watch and discuss so no homework or planning ahead for this one. Just jump on the Zoom to join.



Newsy Stuff

President Vincent Price described Duke’s pool testing program and other aspects of the university’s multifaceted effort to protect campus and community health.

A revolutionary screening app for autism spectrum disorder was created by an interdisciplinary team at Duke University.

Contract testing: How a diverse team of staff and volunteers filled the need for student contact tracers

Congrats to faculty who have been named ‘Most Highly Cited Researchers’ in 2020 (many of these faculty have worked with SSRI over the years)

November 23, 2020

Team SSRI,

Week 37.

MIDS is in full swing with their admissions process. In just a few months we’ll be sending admissions offers to a brand-new group to join us at Gross Hall. Speaking of Gross Hall, sounds like we won’t be back anytime soon. Duke has received lots of praise on their aggressive COVID testing during the pandemic and are currently working on contingency plans for spring semester. Our own Director was quoted in the latest write up.

Please mark your calendar for the next SSRI Lunch-n-Learn: December 2nd @ 12 :30 pm. We’ll watch and discuss “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man”. So no homework or planning ahead for this one. Just jump on the Zoom to join.

Saw-whet? Apparently a little someone hitched a ride to NY in the Rockefeller Center Tree. With fluids, food, and a cozy blanket, the little guy is expected to make a full recovery. Maybe we expected too much of this year’s tree? It’s 2020 and that’s a lot of pressure.

If you are curious what the most popular side dish is this week, it’s mashed potatoes. For North Carolina it’s Mac-n-Cheese (no surprise there—it’s a fave in my house) and in Maine it’s a side salad. Come on Maine, step up your side dish game!

Please stay safe and make good choices this week. We want everyone to stay healthy.



Newsy Stuff

We have a handful of staff teaching in the Graduate Academy this winter. Lots of great courses and love seeing our team being part of this effort.

An aggressive COVID-19 surveillance and testing effort at Duke University was highly effective in minimizing the spread of the disease among students on campus, according to a case study appearing Monday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Have you fallen into habits you’d like to change? Duke experts share helpful strategies.

Don’t be alarmed if you voted on election day and your vote doesn’t show yet on the state’s voter history search tool.

A new study (with SSRI) generated insights into how frontline clinicians perceived machine learning models and the barriers to integrating them into clinical workflows. These findings can inform future efforts to implement machine learning interventions in real-world settings and maximize the adoption of these interventions.

Aria Chernik is leading the Duke 2030 Design Sprint where students will learn the principles and praxis of open design (an equity-focused variation of design thinking) while developing recommendations to share with the Duke Strategy Team 2030 convened by President Price and Provost Kornbluth.

November 16, 2020

Team SSRI,

Week 36.

Let’s start this week off with an amazing video. Back in the ’60s, Marta González was a New York City Ballet dancer. Despite developing Alzheimer’s later in life, she never forgot her Swan Lake routine. This video will give you all the feels. I’m not crying. You’re crying.

With so many people working and schooling fr0m home, online riddles have become a thing (or so I have been told).
Solve the Riddle: There’s a one-story house in which everything is yellow. Yellow walls, yellow doors, yellow furniture. What color are the stairs?
Answer: There aren’t any steps—it’s a one-story house.

A huge thank you to everyone who joined the SSRI Lunch-n-Learn last week. I hope you have saved the date of December 2nd @ 12 :30 pm when we will watch and discuss “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man”. So no homework or planning ahead for this one. Just jump on the Zoom to join.

With the holidays upon us, it’s even more important to protect your mental health. Please remember to pace yourself and take breaks (from all forms of media).



Newsy Stuff

Duke announces no fans at home events to begin winter sport seasons.

The IBRC wants to know how you and your child are coping with COVID-19. If your child attends elementary school in Durham, please consider taking their survey.

Tyson Brown delivered a prestigious Langford Lecture last week in which he shared research linking structural racism and health outcomes. “Dismantling structural racism…is important to improving health equity.”

Project ROUSE is still looking for SSRIers to join their survey on the impact of COVID-19. You can take their anonymous survey on their website.

Message on COVID-19 vaccines and the Duke community.

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens is closed to the public for the fall semester, but we don’t want you to miss out on the colors of the season.