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Department of communications employees continue to work mostly remotely, but they are readily available to assist members of the media. Reporters are encouraged to contact the sources below, to use our experts directory to find contact information for other subject matter experts and to visit the UA News Center.


SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH SECURES $1.7 MILLION TO ADVANCE DEMENTIA CARE The National Institute on Aging awarded Dr. Nicole Ruggiano, associate professor of social work at The University of Alabama, $1.6 million to leverage tablet devices to improve communication between dementia patients, their caregivers and healthcare providers. Ruggiano has also received a $150,000 National Science Foundation planning grant to create a live resource database for dementia caregivers across Alabama. Both projects are technology-driven, building on Ruggiano’s web app CareHeroes, which helps caregivers and physicians communicate more frequently via a web app. Ruggiano says that there are more than 300,000 people in Alabama who either have dementia or are providing care for someone who does, and their needs or obstacles to resources are complex, and that Being able to find and develop technology that providers, caregivers and patients can use will increase quality and access of care. Ruggiano can be reached directly at For more information, contact David Miller, UA School of Social Work, at 205/348-3942 or 

HRSA AWARDS $1 MILLION TO RESEARCHER’S OPOID TELEHEALTH NETWORK After a successful planning stage of TeleECHO, a University of Alabama-led outreach program to combat opioids in rural counties in Alabama, the Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Dr. Hee Yun Lee a $1 million to fully implement the program. The three-year project will see a team of UA researchers and a consortium of providers, legislators and community leaders build out opioid prevention services and direct-care improvements in Franklin, Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Winston and Walker counties. The program’s foundation is education, particularly for community members to better understand what they’re being prescribed, but also to understand what opioid addiction looks like in their community and how they can intervene. The program will also establish education hubs in each communities, where citizens can receive education and training for intervention methods, such as administering life-saving drugs. Lee can be reached at For more information, contact David Miller, UA School of Social Work, at 205/348-3942 or 

UA PROGRAM OFFERING FREE, VIRTUAL TUTORING, JOB SKILLS TRAINING Free tutoring, job skills and financial literacy training sessions will be virtually available to West Alabama residents, including veterans and teens, through The University of Alabama’s business college. Culverhouse LIFT, or Learning Initiative and Financial Training, will begin classes for its fall 2020 term in mid-September. Registration and specific course descriptions are available on the Culverhouse LIFT website. Sponsored by the Culverhouse College of Business and the Culverhouse School of Accountancy, LIFT’s sessions include computer skills, bookkeeping and introduction to coding. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all classes will be conducted virtually using Zoom or other online platforms. For more information, contact Zach Thomas, Culverhouse communications, at


UA EXPERTS AVAILABLE TO DISCUSS ISSUES AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC  – Faculty at UA are available to discuss aspects of the coronavirus pandemic including topics related to health care, education and the economy. This list will be updated, so check back often for new sources. For assistance with reaching any of these sources or for topics not highlighted, contact Shane Dorrill at

NEED A SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT ON TOPICS MAKING NEWS? – See our frequently updated experts directory here.