The College of Public Health and Health Professions is proud to recognize 13 graduates with 2020 Outstanding Alumni Awards.
Frank Bandiera is an epidemiologist whose research has focused on tobacco use among special and vulnerable populations, especially ethnic minorities, people with mental disabilities and populations with drug addictions. Specifically, he has investigated mortality among persons with substance abuse and mental health challenges, and the difference in tobacco use among special populations. He is currently a program officer in the division of behavioral and social research at the National Institute on Aging.
Elizabeth Brestan-Knight is a professor in the department of psychological sciences at Auburn University. She is the director of the Parent-Child Research Lab at Auburn where her research team evaluates PCIT training workshops and PCIT treatment fidelity. Recent projects have also included the development of an artificial intelligence program for use in therapy and program evaluation for established PCIT clinics. As a PCIT International global trainer, she has conducted PCIT training for mental health therapists across the U.S. and around the world.
Col. Thomas S. Bundt is the principal deputy to the assistant director for management at the Defense Health Agency in Washington D.C., with a focus on optimizing an efficient and effective future for the Military Health System. His military career has entailed over 23 stateside and overseas assignments. His most recent assignment was as commander of Madigan Army Medical Center and market director for Puget Sound in Washington, where he led the first U.S.-based Department of Defense facility to research and effectively manage COVID-19.
Chris Delcher, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of pharmacy practice and science and the director of the Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy at the University of Kentucky. His research focuses on the epidemiology of prescription drug use from data obtained during medical and pharmacy encounters, understanding the intended and unintended consequences of drug policy and its effects on population health, and enhancing public health surveillance systems in high- and low-resource environments. He remains an active collaborator with many UF researchers.
Alexandra Hill is a dual board certified clinical specialist in women’s health and oncology, a certified lymphedema therapist and an APTA credentialed clinical instructor. She practices in Annapolis, Maryland, specializing in outpatient pelvic health, lymphedema and oncology rehabilitation. She has several peer-reviewed research publications on pelvic health and oncology-related concerns. An active member of the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy, she has received the group’s Elaine Meadows Scholarship and Emerging Leader Award and was recently selected as the APTA Oncology Centennial Scholar.
Marty Huegel has focused on sports health, with a passion for care of the “athlete’s knee.” He served as the director of rehabilitation for UF Athletics for 34 years and was also co-owner of a private practice, The Physical Therapy Center. He currently works for the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Therapy and Fitness. Throughout his career, he has been an active member of the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy and was inducted into the group’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
Orit Shechtman is an associate professor at UF’s department of occupational therapy. She has been teaching the human body sciences, including neuroscience, pathophysiology, anatomy and kinesiology, for more than 25 years and has received multiple teaching awards throughout her career. In addition to her teaching, she has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and her research encompasses assessment areas ranging from grip strength measurement in adults and children, evaluation of maximal effort and sincerity of effort, to driving assessments of older drivers and driving simulators.
Hannah Siburt is a clinical assistant professor and the audiology program coordinator at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill division of speech and hearing sciences. She teaches doctoral courses in cochlear implants and professional issues, in addition to providing oversight for the academic components of the Au.D. program. Her clinical and research interests include audiologic (re)habilitation across the lifespan, listening effort and clinical education. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology.
Heather Simpson is a staff therapist at UF Health Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases, clinic coordinator for the Tourette Center of Excellence, co-coordinator of the Parkinson’s Center of Excellence, and the clinical interview lead in the Program in Genetics and Epidemiology of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms research lab. She is a nationally-recognized expert in Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics and trains providers across the country. She has published and presented nationally on the topic, focusing on increasing OT’s presence in this field.
Sarah White is the biosafety officer for Patheon Viral Vector Services of Thermo Fisher Scientific (formerly Brammer Bio) where she is responsible for the biological safety and occupational health programs at all viral vector manufacturing facilities in Florida and Massachusetts. She is a member of the American Biological Safety Association and an active participant of BioPhorum Cell and Gene Therapy’s biosafety international working group. In 2018, she was named an honorary diplomate of the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society.
Judith Wingate is professor and chair of the department of communication sciences and disorders at Jacksonville University. The author of “Healthy Singing,” she explores the effects of singing on speech, swallowing and cough in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. With two colleagues, she designed a functional airway trainer for endoscopy practice that is under development with Syndaver Labs. She is a reviewer for multiple professional journals and serves on the leadership council for Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.
Xinrui Zhang is a senior principal biostatistician at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. In this role, she is responsible for planning and execution of exposure-response and exploratory biomarker analyses to support multiple oncology compounds. She also contributes to implementation of modern and innovative trial/experimental designs, statistical models and data exploration methodologies to optimize dose finding and drug development.
Zvinka Zlatar is a faculty member in the department of psychiatry at University of California, San Diego. Her Wellness Initiative for Senior Enrichment Lab investigates the neural mechanisms by which modifiable risk factors such as physical activity, sedentary time, fitness, diet and subjective perceptions of cognitive function affect brain plasticity and cognition in healthy aging, with a focus on prevention. Her research seeks to modify risk markers of cognitive decline by developing novel behavioral interventions using digital technologies with diverse samples.