Dean's Office

PHHP 2018 Superior Accomplishment Award Winners

College of Public Health and Health Professions employees Truly Hardemon, Rebecca Harty, Amy Ladendorf, Lorie Martin, and Catherine Price, PhD, have been named UF Superior Accomplishment award winners in the Health Science Center division. They were honored at an awards banquet February 9.

The award program recognizes employees who contribute outstanding service, efficiency and/or economy to the university, or play a role in the quality of life provided to students and employees. Health Science Center division winners are submitted as nominees to compete for the university-level Superior Accomplishment Awards. Read more

PHHP 60th Anniversary Gala

“60 Years of Firsts” is the theme of PHHP’s 60th anniversary celebration. The college kicked off this celebration with a Gala held on Saturday, January 27. The Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was transformed into a sparkling venue. VIP guests, including UF President Kent Fuchs, former UF President Bernie Machen, and Health Science Center leadership, mingled with alumni, faculty, staff, and friends throughout the evening. Cacciatore Catering provided a beautifully designed three-course meal that started with a cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres for guests to enjoy. Dean Michael Perri and Executive Associate Dean Stephanie Hanson led the program that took guests on a journey through the development of the college from the late 1950s until today. The program concluded by looking toward the future of the college. From fine dining to an intricate and informative program, the gala could not have been more of a success. It was the perfect event to kick off the year-long PHHP 60th anniversary celebration.

(top row, left to right: Dean Michael Perri, Executive Associate Dean Stephanie Hanson, UF President Kent Fuchs)


Environmental and Global Health

Maurelli and Colleagues Publish Book Chapter on Shigella

A chapter entitled “A Brief History of Shigella” was just published as part of the electronic encyclopedia EcoSal Plus, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology. Dr. Anthony Maurelli co-wrote the chapter over the course of six months, alongside Dr. Keith Lampel and the late Dr. Samuel Formal.

The chapter covers the first 100 years of research on the causative agents of bacillary dysentery, and the many ways that research on Shigella contributed to the discovery of major paradigms in microbial pathogenesis and infectious diseases. A reviewer of the chapter described it as “a beautifully written compendium of historical perspectives and seminal discoveries” and suggested that it “should be required reading for students of bacterial pathogenesis.” The chapter has been indexed by PubMed, and an abstract of the chapter can be found here.

Sabo-Attwood Granted Appointment with Smithsonian

Dr. Tara Sabo-Attwood, chair of the Department of Environmental and Global Health, was recently appointed as a research associate with the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C. Research associates are nominated by a member of the Smithsonian’s research staff, and are considered scholarly affiliates with the institution who contribute knowledge to the Smithsonian. 

Dr. Sabo-Attwood will offer her unique expertise in toxicology in global regions to Smithsonian colleagues by serving as a research consultant for several projects, including “Investigating environmental contaminants of pesticides and declining population of predatory birds,” and “Fate and transport of metals and other environmental contaminants in local water sources.” Dr. Sabo-Attwood is enthusiastic about this new opportunity which will enable her to expand her global network of research and education partners. This collaboration will also open up fellowship and scholarship opportunities for graduate students.



Chen Appointed Fellow of American College of Epidemiology

Xinguang “Jim” Chen, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Epidemiology, has recently become a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology (FACE). Over the length of his career, Dr. Chen has had a wide array of experiences with issues in epidemiology, from stress and substance abuse to HIV, and has contributed to many advances in research, such as developing a new method to improve survey data quality that reduces social desirability bias. Dr. Chen has served as chair of the advisory committee for the Mid-Yangtze River Public Health Consortium in China, as a UF faculty senator, and as a tenure and promotion committee member for the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine. The department is incredibly proud of Dr. Chen for becoming a FACE and cannot wait to see how he works to improve the global cross-cultural and transdisciplinary perspective of epidemiology for future generations to come.

UF’s Only NIH K Award Couple

Ting-Yuan (David) Cheng, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, and his wife Professor Yu-Jung (Jenny) Wei, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy, have both received prestigious NIH funded Career Development K awards. Currently Cheng and Wei are the only married couple within UF to receive the K awards. This extremely competitive award covers 75 percent of the faculty members’ salaries for five years allowing them to devote time to research. Cheng’s research focuses on breast cancer tumor markers to study the relationship between obesity and developing breast cancer. Wei’s focus is on the improvement of pharmacotherapy in geriatric patients, especially those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Cheng and Wei supported each other throughout the application process and exchanged career advice along the way. The department is so excited to see where Cheng’s and Wei’s research takes them and their UF family.


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

Mainous Featured on Healio Family Medicine

The article was posted on February 12 and features Dr. Arch Mainous discussing the 2018 American Diabetes Association’s Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes. He suggests that we need to be looking at groups that are at higher risk for prediabetes. Read more


Occupational Therapy

Sandra Edwards Colloquium

The Department of Occupational Therapy hosted the second annual Sandra Edwards Colloquium on February 24. The keynote speaker was Roseann C. Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, and the plenary speaker was Cynthia Johnson, PhD. Both have focused their careers on the study of children with autism. The colloquium theme was “Supporting Life Transition: From Childhood through Adulthood,” with concurrent sessions focusing on a pediatric and an adult track. This annual series is funded by an endowment from Sandra Edwards (UFOT Class of 1965) and her husband Al Garcia. Read more

(pictured: Roseann C. Schaaf, keynote speaker, Sandra Edwards Colloquium 2018)

Welcome to New Faculty Members

Dr. Carolyn Hanson (left) is a clinical assistant professor who will be teaching undergraduate students in the BHS program (Survey of Diseases I and II) and developing a new course in occupation for the BHS students. Dr. Hanson’s past research was in the area of ergonomics and work hardening. She plans on creating sport and recreational opportunities for adults with physical disabilities.

Dr. Prerna Poojary-Mazzotta (right) joined the department as a clinical assistant professor. She completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has conducted research in nursing homes, has worked at an in-patient rehabilitation center, practiced as a home health therapist, and as an instructor at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She will be teaching the Foundations and the Pathophysiology courses for the MOT and OTD students. Her research interests include conducting research in assistive technology, lymphedema, and patient care outcomes.

The department warmly welcomes Dr. Hanson and Dr. Poojary-Mazzotta.


Physical Therapy

Beneciuk Featured in CoHSTAR Newsletter

Jason Beneciuk, PT, DPT, PhD, MPH, FAAOMPT, was featured in the Center on Health Services Training and Research (CoHSTAR) Newsletter for his research project, “Health System Implementation of Clinical Practice Guidelines for Neck and Low Back Pain in Outpatient Physical Therapy Settings.” The CoHSTAR-funded study will investigate implementation of a process to enhance Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) adherence to limit unwarranted variability in initial treatment decisions with high potential for providing more effective and efficient physical therapy management for patients with neck and low back pain. This study, conducted at Brooks Rehabilitation outpatient clinics, will determine if physical therapy clinics that receive neck and low back pain CPG training are associated with improved patient outcomes compared to those that have not received training.

Hierholzer Elected New Chair of FPTA SSIG

Maria Hierholzer, a second-year DPT student, was recently elected the new Chair of the Florida Physical Therapy Association (FPTA) Student Special Interest Group (SSIG). As the new chair, Hierholzer will be focusing on student membership and all the benefits offered at the student level. She will also be in charge of communication between programs through the student liaison network.


Public Health

Spring Service Events

Public health students and alumni participated in Project Makeover at Myra Terwilliger Elementary School on February 24. The Project Makeover program is a student-run organization that helps to create a positive learning environment for kids in lower income schools in Alachua County. In addition to volunteering to beautify the school with current MPH students, members of the Beta Upsilon Chapter of Delta Omega, the Public Health Honor Society, carried out a successful book drive, collecting over 40 children’s books to donate to the school.


Rehabilitation Science

RSD Graduate Named Co-Chief Fellow at Duke University

Trevor Lentz, PT, PhD, a recent graduate of the Rehabilitation Science program, has been named co-Chief Fellow at Duke University for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Lentz has clinical practice expertise in rehabilitation following orthopedic injury and surgery as well as in sports rehabilitation. His research focuses on outcomes prediction following orthopedic surgery and other musculoskeletal pain-related treatments, with an emphasis on identifying key psychological factors that influence patient-reported outcomes and healthcare utilization.

“The DCRI’s fellowship program provides a wonderful opportunity for cross-disciplinary education, collaboration, and innovation,” Lentz said. “I look forward to working with leaders of the program over the next year to build upon its many strengths.” Read more

RSD Student Publishes in OTJR Journal

RSD student, Shabnam Medhizadah, recently had a first-author publication in OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, a leading research journal in occupational therapy. In the study, entitled “Constructing the 32-item Fitness-to-Drive Screening Measure,” Medhizadah and two other investigators reduced the number of items in the Fitness-to-Drive Screening Measure (FTDS) from 54 driving related items to 32 items. The 32-item FTDS was highly correlated with the FTDS, and it may provide raters with a faster and more efficient way to identify at-risk older drivers.


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Haney Moderates Educational Forum on Human Trafficking

As chair of Palm Beach State College’s (PBSC) Human Trafficking Coalition, SBS doctoral candidate Kanathy Haney moderated an educational forum on human trafficking that she and her team organized in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches, the Green Dot Program of Palm Beach County’s Division of Victim Services and the Certified Rape Crisis Center. About 130 students, faculty, staff, and community members received bystander intervention training which has been shown to be most effective in reducing the coercion of victims into trafficking. Participants learned how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and strategies for reducing or preventing these acts of violence. Read more

(left to right: Tanya Meade, vice president of the Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches, Kanathy Haney, doctoral candidate and chair of the PBSC Human Trafficking Coalition, and Clarice C. Redding, program coordinator of the Green Dot Program of Palm Beach County’s Division of Victim Services & Certified Rape Crisis Center)


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Little Ears Field Day

On February 17, the Student Academy of Audiology held its 4th annual Little Ears Field Day. This event raises awareness for childhood hearing loss by providing food and activities for local patients and families at the UF Speech and Hearing Clinic. Little Ears offers pediatric patients the perfect setting to interact with other children who also have hearing loss, while allowing families to share stories and support. This year, a special interest meeting was organized with the assistance of pediatric SLP Laura Mundorf, who spoke about her new caregiver support group for families of children with hearing loss. Additionally, recent UF AuD graduate Dr. Sarah Crosson set up a Cochlear Americas display to explain the technology behind cochlear implants. Guest appearances by Gainesville Fire Rescue Firefighters and Royal for a Reason Princesses delighted our guests. Little Ears was a success this year thanks to all the families in attendance.

Preschool Listening Group

Exciting new things are happening at the UF Health Speech & Hearing Center – Shands Hospital. The Pediatric Hearing Program debuted its Preschool Listening Group on February 5. It has been a great success and patients and their families are giving rave reviews. The group features play and literacy-based activities and provides participants with intensive listening and language intervention. For a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, special techniques and strategies are required to draw attention to new vocabulary and syntactic structures, and to facilitate the permanent retention of those language devices. So, while it seems as though these children are simply making a farm animal craft, they are actually hard at work growing their listening brains. The department's clinical faculty have unique training in how to provide these supports to families with children that are deaf or hard of hearing, and are training graduate SLP students in these methods.



PhD Student Receives Young Investigator Award

Kai Yang, second year PhD student, was selected to receive one of the American Statistical Association’s section on statistics in epidemiology young investigator awards. The award is presented to honor the best papers by young investigators in statistics in epidemiology. As a winner, Yang will receive travel compensation to present his paper at the 2018 Joint Statistical Meetings Conference, July 28 - August 2, 2018, in Vancouver, Canada. 


Clinical and Health Psychology

Doctoral Student Awarded ADRC Pilot Grant

Andrea Mejia (left) and one of her mentors, Dr. Melissa Armstrong (right) of the UF Department of Neurology, have been awarded a 1Florida ADRC pilot grant. Out of nine applicants, their project, entitled “Investigating Patient Values in Latino and White Populations with and without COG,” was chosen to be funded.

1Florida ADRC is a consortium of Florida institutions helping to change the current understanding of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias from being incurable, inevitable, and largely untreatable to a new reality in which these diseases are curable, preventable, and treatable.