The College of Public Health and Health Professions is pleased to announce the PHHP Outstanding Alumni for 2016. They will be honored at a ceremony during the college’s alumni reunion on September 10.
Manal F. Abdelmalek, M.D., M.P.H., master’s in public health, epidemiology concentration ’04, is an associate professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Duke University. The director of Duke’s Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) Clinical Research Program, she has expertise in the design and conduct of clinical trials evaluating new therapies and biomarkers for NAFLD, as well as the translation of clinic-to-bench and bench-to-clinic research to define pathogenic mechanisms underlying NAFLD acquisition and progression. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease. She is an investigator for the NIH-sponsored NASH Clinical Research Network, the recipient of an NIH-sponsored RO-1 grant to study the role of fructose in NAFLD, and has nearly 20 years of experience in industry-sponsored research.
Christi M. Barbee, Au.D., doctorate in audiology ’05, is an assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center’s College of Allied Health. She received the University of Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2011-2012 for her work teaching in the clinic and in the classroom. Her scholarly interests include interprofessional education and audiologic test methods for children who are difficult to test. She is currently working on data collection for using a work system to enable better screening of hearing in children with autism spectrum disorder. As a UF student, she helped found Project Yucatan, an interprofessional service mission trip to the state of Yucatan, Mexico, and she continues to supervise the program as a professional.
Mary Brinkmeyer, Ph.D., doctorate in clinical psychology ’06, works at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia as the associate training director for psychology training programs. She trains and supervises advanced graduate practicum students, predoctoral interns and postdoctoral fellows in providing evidence-based treatment to active-duty service members with an emphasis on addressing post-deployment issues such as PTSD, chronic pain, depression and insomnia. She has been named a subject matter expert for the hospital on transgender mental health issues because of her clinical work, research and consultation in this area, including beginning the first official support group for military members who are transgender. Her recent awards include the 2016 Civilian Psychologist of the Year for the U.S. Navy, 2015 Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Civilian of the Quarter and 2015 Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Associate Master Clinician.
Helena J. Chapman, M.D., M.P.H., master’s in public health, epidemiology concentration ’05, is a doctoral candidate in the PHHP department of environmental and global health with a concentration in One Health. As a medical student at Iberoamerican University in the Dominican Republic, she developed the first national medical student organization among eight Dominican medical schools. As president and later as national advisor, she has mentored medical students in the development of 80 health initiatives to reduce health disparities. Currently, she is a graduate research assistant at the Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center in the UF College of Medicine. Her research aims to examine the “knowledge-action” gap that exists among health care workers related to their use of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection control strategies in the Dominican Republic. She has pursued additional cross-cultural training in tuberculosis surveillance and control in Cuba.
Si Chen, M.S., master’s in biostatistics ’11, is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group Statistics and Data Center at UF in the disease area of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The Statistics and Data Center provides statistical expertise for studies conducted by the Children’s Oncology Group, the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to pediatric cancer research. As a master-level statistician, she is responsible for data management, statistical analysis, generation of interim reports for clinical trials run by the Children’s Oncology Group, and monitoring open clinical studies. Her research interests include survival analysis and clinical trials design and analysis.
Sandra Edwards, M.A., O.T.R., F.A.O.T.A., bachelor’s in occupational therapy ’65, is a professor emerita of occupational therapy at Western Michigan University. Her extensive publications and presentations include works on hands, Down Syndrome and interdisciplinary activities. She is one of the few experts in occupational therapy on the development of children with Down Syndrome and on their hand architecture. Her published collaborative research with faculty from electrical and computer engineering using a haptic robot to work with children with eye-hand coordination problems, has attained national and international recognition. She is primary author of the widely referenced book “Developmental and Functional Hand Grasps,” which is currently being revised for a new 2017 edition. She was named a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association in 1996 and received the WMU College of Health and Human Services Teaching Award in 2005.
Arun Jayaraman, Ph.D., P.T., doctorate in rehabilitation science ’08, is an associate professor in the departments of physical medicine & rehabilitation and physical therapy and human movement sciences at Northwestern University. He is also the director of the Max Nader Center for Rehabilitation Technologies and Outcomes Research at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he also serves as a research scientist. His research focuses on prosthetics, orthotics, rehabilitation robotics and other assistive and adaptive technologies. His group conducts all its outcomes research using advanced wearable patient monitoring wireless sensors, in addition to the traditional performance-based and patient-reported outcome measures. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense and other private funding agencies.
Otto Pedraza, Ph.D., doctorate in clinical psychology ’04, is a neuropsychologist in the department of psychiatry and psychology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. He has served on the Science Advisory Committee for the Society of Clinical Neuropsychology (American Psychological Association division 40), the Culture and Diversity Committee for the National Academy of Neuropsychology, and the Board of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology Foundation. He currently serves as an oral examiner for the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology. His clinical and research interests include neurodegenerative dementias, cross-cultural neuropsychology and test development and validation.
Lindsay Perry, P.T., D.P.T., N.C.S., doctorate in physical therapy ’08, is an assistant professor in the department of physical therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She has contributed to several publications and presented lectures at the state, national and international level regarding neuroplasticity for recovery of movement post-stroke, and treatment of the cardiovascular system post-stroke. She has received several awards for excellent service, including the outstanding scholastic achievement award in 2008, Rick Shuts service award in 2012 and the CARES award for pro bono service in 2014. A board-certified clinical specialist for neurology in physical therapy, she mentors licensed physical and occupational therapists as well as neurological physical therapist residents for Brooks Rehabilitation, while also providing patient care in the inpatient rehabilitation setting.
Cynthia Puranik, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, doctorate in communication sciences and disorders (speech pathology) ’06, is an associate professor of communication sciences and disorders in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University. She is also an affiliate faculty member of GSU’s Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy initiative. She received the 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to recognize innovative research and commitment to community service, as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach. Her research focuses on understanding early writing development, including assessment and instruction of early writing skills. She has simultaneously explored both basic theoretical and highly applied research pathways to address questions pertaining to children’s emergent and early conventional writing.
Mark E. Robitaille, M.B.A., FACHE, master’s in business administration (hospital administration) ’76, is the president and CEO for Martin Health System in Stuart, Fla. He has served as a senior health care executive for more than 33 years and as an investment banker to the health care industry. Martin Health System has been named one of the nation’s Top 100 Health Systems eight times. Martin Health System includes 4,000 associates, three acute care hospitals, 11 outpatient ambulatory care sites and a multi-specialty medical group with 100 physicians. Robitaille’s accomplishments include the opening of Tradition Medical Center campus and laying the groundwork for its future expansion, a highly successful joint venture with HealthSouth, expanding several service line capabilities, and improving quality. He recently announced that he will retire from Martin Health in January 2017.