UCI Forward

UCI Forward is our commitment to the well-being of our community as we ramp up campus operations. Working together, each of us doing our part, we can move UCI Forward.

July 18 - Indoor masking policy resumes today, new CFO joins UCI

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Wall art frames a passerby at the School of Engineering.

Wall art frames a passerby at the School of Engineering. Photo by Steve Zylius/UCI


ICYMI: Indoor masking policy now in effect throughout campus

As of today, all individuals on campus will be required to wear a mask or face covering while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except when alone in an enclosed space. This update, which was announced Friday, is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health's recommendations on masking and face coverings. Face coverings are available through Environmental Health & Safety at various distribution locations. Information on obtaining a face covering is on the EH&S website.

Mary Lou Ortiz

Say hello to new Chief Financial Officer and Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Mary Lou Ortiz.

New chief financial officer starts today

Following a nationwide search, Mary Lou Ortiz is starting today as UCI’s chief financial officer and vice chancellor for UCI’s Division of Finance and Administration. The CFO/vice chancellor is the most senior campus subject-matter expert on matters relating to the university’s fiscal condition and related policies and procedures. Ortiz is responsible for UCI’s nearly $4 billion budget and leads a team of more than 800 employees. Welcome to UCI!

Jonathan Watanabe

Jonathan Watanabe, UCI professor of clinical pharmacy practice. Photo courtesy of School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences

Clinical pharmacy professor advocates stigma-free approach to opioids

The massive rise in opioid-related overdoses and deaths in the U.S. has also caused a less-understood crisis: a stigma that penalizes patients with legitimate medical needs to access painkillers, according to Jonathan Watanabe, UCI professor of clinical pharmacy practice. Federal regulations, red tape, wildly varying state policies and social stigma make it difficult for doctors to prescribe medications such as methadone, buprenorphine and extended-release naltrexone–all of which have been successfully used to treat opioid addiction–to their patients. Among other reforms, Watanabe argues for increasing the number of methadone clinics and bringing pharmacists into comprehensive addiction treatment plans.


March to June infection data image courtesy of COVID19.ca.gov.

March to June infection data image courtesy of COVID19.ca.gov.

90% of Californians live in areas with high COVID-19 concentrations

According to a story out today in the L.A. Timesnine out of 10 people in California live in areas that are experiencing high levels of COVID-19 infections. The spike in cases is largely due to the spread of the highly contagious BA.5 omicron subvariant. Meanwhile, according to state data from late June, unvaccinated people are five times more likely to become infected than those who have received their booster shot. (See above screenshot from California’s COVID-19 dashboard.)


Blood Drive
Tuesday, 10 a.m.(sponsored by UCI Health and City of Irvine)

Virtual Book Talk with Janice Munemitsu, Author of The Kindness of Color
Thursday, noon (sponsored by UCI Libraries)

Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.


Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register and The Washington Post for students, faculty and staff.

NASA teams with UCI to study beach erosion issues from outer space

The Orange County Register, July 15
Cited: Brett Sanders, professor of civil and environmental engineering

Aging study explores potential link between sleep disturbance and Alzheimer's disease

Winston-Salem Journal, July 17
Cited: Bryce Mander, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior

California's forests are losing their ability to recover

Earth.com, July 17
Cited: James Randerson, the Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Professor of Earth system science


Long T. Bui, associate professor of global and international studies.

In his book, Model Machines: A History of the Asian as Automaton, published June 22, UCI associate professor of global and international studies Long Bui takes a deep dive into historical stereotypes and representations of Asians and Asian Americans, exploring how centuries of dehumanizing descriptions and treatment have marginalized an entire race. He recently spoke about the roles that globalization, racism and colonialism have played in creating and feeding this narrative and how its effects continue to harm the lives and well-being of people of color today.

#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.


23 new campus cases

From Friday to Sunday, UCI recorded 23 new cases of COVID-19: 12 students and 11 employees. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.

Upload your vaccine and booster records

Student Record Upload

Employee Record Upload

Potential workplace exposure

UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.

For COVID-19 questions

UCI Forward - information on campus status and operational updates

UCI Health COVID-19 Updates - important information related to UCI Health

UCI Health COVID-19 FAQs

UCI Coronavirus Response Center - available at covid19@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-9918

Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services - assistance with vaccines and vaccine uploads; available at contacttracing@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-2300

Program in Public Health chatline - answers to questions about COVID-19

For questions specific to your personal health situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.