Tag Archives: COVID

Urie Bronfenbrenner

Although Commencement exercises for the Cornell Class of 2020 were canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the department of Human Development honored the academic achievements of this year's outstanding students with its highest awards.

The Urie Bronfenbrenner Award is presented to a student who has demonstrated excellence in research. Professor Urie Bronfenbrenner taught at Cornell for over 50 years and was a highly influential developmental psychologist famous for "ecological systems theory" and his holistic approach to human development.

  • Karlee Patrick was awarded this year's Bronfenbrenner Award. Karlee has been a member of Professor Corinne Lockenhoff's Healthy Aging Lab and was the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research's 2019-20 Kendal Scholar. Read more about Karlee's accomplishments here.

Henry Ricciuti

The Henry Ricciuti Memorial Awards for Outstanding Seniors in Human Development are awarded to graduating seniors who have achieved "distinction in research, excellence in leadership, and/or have contributed to exceptional community and public service during their undergraduate career at Cornell University." Professor Ricciuti taught at Cornell for more than half a century and was an expert in the cognitive and emotional development of infants and children and mentored many students in human development.

  • Recipients of this year's Ricciuti Award are Nahisha Alabre, Sarita Emma Benesch, Nicholas Cicero, Alexandria Dominguez, Gabrielle Kubi, Mackenzie Morehouse, Karlee Patrick, and Lindsey Tarpinian.


Karl Pillemer is Hazel E. Reed Professor in the College of Human Ecology’s Department of Human Development and professor of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. In this video, Dr. Pillemer addresses concerns facing older adults as a result of the pandemic. In a recent New York Times article, he predicts that the pandemic will radically alter the delivery of eldercare. Dr. Pillemer expects older adults will increasingly choose to remain in their own homes, rather than receive care in nursing homes, which currently house more than 1.5 million Americans. The alarming and disproportionate rate of mortality in nursing homes due to COVID-19 reflects the ease with which the virus spreads between carers and residents in close proximity and older adults' vulnerability to infection. Dr. Pillemer calls for a change in the design of nursing homes in the U.S. with a particular focus on private rooms. He also believes that seniors in nursing homes need to be included in discussions about restrictions on visits from family members. In addition to addressing infection risk within nursing homes, Dr. Pillemer and colleagues have written an op-ed for the Journal of the American Medicine Association, urging the inclusion of long-term care facilities in models of COVID-19 spread.

Despite this seemingly dire moment in American history, Dr. Pillemer believes we can draw strength from the wisdom of older adults who have endured equally challenging events in the past. In this podcast, he provides insight from his interviews with seniors as part of his Legacy Project that can inspire us during the COVID pandemic.

Journal article referenced in this story:

Pillemer, K., Subramanian, L., & Hupert, N. (2020). The Importance of Long-term Care Populations in Models of COVID-19. Jama. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.9540