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UHD Experts Available to Address Issues Related to COVID-19: Businesses at Risk, Communicating with Students & Parents, Managing Anxiety


Contact: Mike Emery, UHD Director of Communications

The following experts are available to address issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including: industries and businesses at risk as the Delta and other variants are on the rise; how communications influences students'or parents' decsisions on vaccinations prior to the start of an in-person school year; and how to practice self-care when faced with anxieties over returning to work or the classroom during the pandemic.

Experts are available as their schedules permit. To schedule interviews, contact Mike Emery at emeryp@uhd.edu or 281-794-4824.

  • Dietrich von Biedenfeld, Assistant Professor of Business, can address the indsutries at risk as COVID variants are on the rise. Professor Biedenfeld indicates that the restaurant, entertainment and hospitality industries face risks due to slow federal aid, worker shortage and other factors.
  • Dr. Darius Benton, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, is available this week to discuss the role of communications in influencing young people and/or their parents to seek out vaccination opportunities. As schools begin to reopen, many students have the option of getting vaccinated, but find themselves on the fence. Or, their parents may also be undecided on whether to get their children vaccinated. Does communications (either for or against the vaccines) factor into these decisions? Dr. Benton, a former K-12 educator, can address this issue.
  • Drs. Liza Barros Lane and Dawn McCartyProfessors in UHD's Social Work Program, can address the importance of practicing self-care when faced with anxiety. As people begin to return to the workplace or classrooms, they may feel anxious if not depressed. Professors Barros Lane and McCarty can offer self-care tips to support mental and emotional wellbeing during an otherwise turbulent period for most people. 


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.