When Jennifer Reingle, Ph.D., received her diploma last month, she was in a class by herself. Reingle is the first graduate of the University of Florida’s doctorate in epidemiology program.
Established in 2007, the UF Ph.D. in epidemiology is a joint program offered by the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine.
“The mentoring and resources I received were truly unlike other programs at the university, and I can definitely attribute my mentors’ and departments’ commitment and dedication to much of my success,” Reingle said. “The one-on-one attention is rare in many doctoral programs, but I was able to obtain the benefits of this intensive mentoring firsthand.”
In her research Reingle has focused on aspects of social epidemiology.
“My master’s degree is in criminology, my mentor in the doctoral program was a methodologist, and my research team was interested in prevention science, so I try to blend all of these interests together,” she said. “I would call myself a ‘criminal epidemiologist’ because that terminology best describes my interdisciplinary training.”
Reingle is currently a postdoctoral research associate in the UF department of epidemiology. Under the mentorship of Linda B. Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., a dean’s professor and chair of epidemiology, Reingle is working on manuscripts and grant proposals. She is also working with HealthStreet, an outreach program on UF’s east campus that assesses community health needs and provides resources and referrals to services to improve the health of the community.
“The new department of epidemiology is excited to have someone with Jenn’s enthusiasm and eagerness to succeed, and I look forward to mentoring her this year as a postdoctoral fellow, but also to learning from her as well,” Cottler said.
For her dissertation research, Reingle examined racial and ethnic differences in violence trajectories from adolescence through young adulthood. She served as a predoctoral fellow at UF’s Institute for Child Health Policy.
“I looked at differences in how community influences, parents, and peers influence participation in crime, and which variables mediate these effects,” she said. “I am becoming more interested in drug abuse, specifically co-existent and poly-substance use, and the disparities that exist in dangerous drug combinations.”
Reingle has received institutional and national recognition for her work, including the 2011 National Hispanic Science Network’s Excellence in Research by a Student Award.
“As a graduate student, Jennifer demonstrated outstanding research productivity,” said Mildred Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D., Reingle’s mentor and an associate professor of health outcomes and policy in the College of Medicine. “As part of our research group she authored or co-authored 13 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. She has tremendous ability to become an independent researcher on the problem of health disparities in drug use and violent behavior.”