UA Little Rock offers fall courses dealing with how to study and cope with pandemics

Professor Avinash Thombre practices meditation.

The fall 2020 semester is right around the corner. If you are still looking for an interesting class to take, UA Little Rock has some unique options: studying the science of epidemiology and pandemics and coping with a pandemic: mind-body communication and yoga.

HHPS 4300: Epidemiology in Health Education will be held online and is a required course in the Health Education and Health Promotion Program.

“It’s extremely important to understand the distribution of diseases in planning a health program,” said Dr. Amar Kanekar, associate professor of health education and health promotion. “It gives a strong background for community health specialists.”

The class is open to all undergraduate students. Students will discuss the basics of epidemics and pandemics and how to investigate disease outbreaks. Students will learn what an epidemiologist does, how diseases are transmitted, how to prevent the spread of diseases, and how to describe and interpret data from disease outbreaks.

“Epidemiology is one of my research interest areas,” Kanekar said. “Everything is so applicable to what we are experiencing right now with the pandemic. There will be examples that involve COVID-19, but the class doesn’t focus entirely on the coronavirus, though I am sure everyone will be talking about it. The class is mainly about the conceptual understanding and underlying concepts of epidemiology as applicable to chronic and infectious diseases. I think the students will understand more of the science behind disease prevention after living through a pandemic.”

The second course, ACOM 4313/5313: Seminar in Communication – Coping with a Pandemic: Mind-Body Communication and Yoga, will be held online and will equip students with essential life skills that probe the mind-body communication as connected to yoga.

“A lot of the students are going through mental and physical stress from COVID-19,” said Dr. Avinash Thombre, professor in the Department of Applied Communication and a certified yoga and Ayurveda instructor from the Kaivalyadham Yoga Institute. “My area of specialty is health communication, and I wanted to offer theory and praxis related to mind-body communication and my practice of yoga.”

The class will cover self-care techniques during COVID-19, the need for mind-body communication during a pandemic, yoga as a pathway to mind-body communication, and personal self-transformation opportunities through mind-body communication. 

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