2023 PHHP on the road

Follow University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions faculty, students, staff and alumni as they participate in conferences and meetings across the globe.

KD Jacobs poster presentation
Dr. KD Jacobs

KD Jacobs, a 2022 Ph.D. graduate in public health with a social and behavioral sciences concentration and 2019 Bachelor of Public Health alum, presented a poster titled “Adaptation of the Self-Report SF-36v2 and SF-12v2 to Proxy-Reported Outcome Measures” at the International Society for Quality-of-Life Research (ISOQOL) in Calgary, Canada October 18-21. Jacobs and collaborators, Jamie Pomeranz, Ph.D., CRC, CLCP, director of the Bachelor of Health Science program, clinical professor in the department of Occupational Therapy, and Michelle (White) Carty, Ph.D., conducted a literature review to identify best practices for modifying existing patient-reported outcome measures to proxy-reported outcome measures and adapted two quality of life questionnaires into proxy-reported outcome measures.




Elizabeth Evans, a Ph.D. student in rehabilitation science, and Amber Gerasimchik, a student in the Doctor of Audiology program, each received Saffran Student Scholar Awards to attend the 17th Annual Eleanor M. Saffran Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience and Rehabilitation of Communication Disorders September 29-30 at Temple University. Evans will present research related to health care access issues among the deaf and hard of hearing. Gerasimchik will present on mental health issues among the deaf and hard of hearing.

A team of PHHP faculty and staff will present at the Nexus Summit 2023 Working Together for Impact Conference on September 28 with their presentation titled, “Revolutionizing Inclusive Care: Impactful Interprofessional Experiences for Dental and OT Students Focused on Patients with Sensory Sensitivities and Chronic Pain.” Becky Piazza, O.T.D., M.S., OTR/L, a clinical assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy, spearheaded a course development team collaboration with Olga Ensz, D.M.D., M.P.H., a clinical assistant professor in the UF College of Dentistry. PHHP instructional designers Truly Hardemon and Lior Flum, and media specialist Shena Hayes, along with College of Dentistry instructional designer Margeaux Johnson, worked with faculty to design and implement an interactive synchronous virtual class that included video footage of professional dental providers, an occupational therapy researcher and patients/caregivers, in addition to simulated medical charts.

Left to Right: Truly Hardemon, Dr. Olga Ensz, Margeaux Johnson, Lior Flum, Dr.Becky Piazza


Melanie Orejuela


Melanie Orejuela, SBS MPH student, presented a poster at the National Hispanic Science Network’s 23rd Annual International Conference in Washington DC in September 2023. This years theme was “Deconstructing Hispanic Health Inequities: Translating Science in an Evolving Landscape”. She presented on the development and culturally relevant community suicide needs assessment tool for Puerto Rico that is all in Spanish. Melanie said “it was such a wonderful experience to connect with other researchers who are working towards reducing health disparities affecting U.S. Latino communities”.

PHHP alumna Brandy Stone, M.P.H., community health director with Gainesville Fire and Rescue, and Julia Varnes, Ph.D., director of the college’s M.P.H. program, presented at the City of Gainesville Gun Violence Prevention Summit August 6-7. They reviewed the Social Ecological Model as a tool for developing actionable policies and practices.

First-year Doctor of Occupational Therapy students presented posters on the projects they created for their summer psychosocial fieldwork sites on August 8 in the HPNP Complex. The students worked with community sites in Gainesville and Ocala, including The Village, Transitions Life Center, Life Transition Skills and the Florida Recovery Center.

Neuropsychologists from the department of clinical and health psychology had a strong showing at the recent executive board meeting of the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (American Psychological Association division 40), held during the APA annual convention in Washington, D.C. UF-affiliated division 40 executive members include PHHP clinical and health psychology faculty members Dawn Bowers, Ph.D., a professor, Catherine Price, Ph.D., an associate professor, and Franchesca Arias, Ph.D., an assistant professor who is joining as head of the Ethnic-Minority Affairs Committee. Several alumni of the UF Ph.D. program in clinical psychology also serve on the committee, including Callie Dunn, Ph.D., Vonetta Dotson, Ph.D., and Tricia Zawacki, Ph.D.

Andres Manrique
Andres Manrique

Andres Manrique, Ph.D. student in the department of environmental and global health, presented educational intervention results at the International Society of Exposure Science conference held in Chicago August 27-31.

The department of speech, language, and hearing sciences was well-represented at the Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists annual convention July 13-17 in Orlando, with multiple oral and poster presentations by students and faculty.

Joyner and Simpson
Heather Simpson and Noelle Joyner

Occupational therapy alumnae Noelle Joyner, O.T.D., OTR/L, and Heather Simpson, O.T.D., OTR/L, presented at the World Parkinson Congress in Barcelona. Joyner implemented and studied a novel therapy program that integrated principles from Parkinson Wellness Recovery – PWR! Moves, a physical therapy regimen that targets skills that can help people with Parkinson’s disease. She designed the research protocol with guidance from Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases staff, PWR!Moves founder Becky Farley and Chiung-ju (CJ) Liu, Ph.D., OTR/L, associate professor in the department of occupational therapy. Learn more.

Chiung-ju (CJ) Liu, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of occupational therapy, was selected for the 2023 National Institutes of Health mHealth Training Institute. She was the only occupational therapy scientist selected for the highly-competitive program. Liu attended the in-person institute June 16-20 at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Two first-year Ph.D. students in biostatistics, Xin Ma and Fengdi Zhao, presented their research at the International Conference on Intelligent Biology and Medicine July 16-19 in Tampa. Xin’s research, “Integrated Spatial Multi-omics Analysis Based on MALDI Data,” which is jointly supervised by Li Chen, Ph.D., an associate professor of biostatistics, and Ramon Sun, Ph.D., a UF associate professor of biochemistry, received a flash platform presentation award. Fengdi received a travel award to present his research, “A Novel Statistical method for Differential Analysis of Single-Cell Chromatin Accessibility Sequencing Data,” which was completed under Chen’s supervision.

DPT Group
Dr. Claudia Senesac with students

Claudia Senesac Ph.D., M.S., and Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2025 Students Jaden Anderson, Briana Dentry, Tara Kochey and Melyn Jessel attended the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy Annual Conference (PPMD) in Dallas, Texas, June 29-July 1. This was a great opportunity for DPT Students from the Pediatrics in Physical Therapy course (PHT 6322) to learn about the latest research into Becker Muscular Dystrophy and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy from researchers and health care practitioners, and to gain hands on experience working and having fun with real patients and their families.


Roy Arkaprava
Dr. Arkaprava Roy

Arkaprava Roy, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biostatistics, received a new researcher travel award from the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. The award provides funding to IMS members who have received their Ph.D. within the past five years to attend any IMS-sponsored or co-sponsored meeting where they will present a paper or poster.

Dr. Qui
Dr. Peihua Qiu

Peihua Qiu, Ph.D., dean’s professor and founding chair of the department of biostatistics, gave a keynote presentation titled “Recent statistical process control methods for dynamic disease screening and spatio-temporal disease surveillance” at the 2023 INFORMS Conference on Quality, Statistics, and Reliability held June 6-8 at North Carolina State University. In the talk, he provided an overview on the sequence of new concepts and methods developed by his research group for disease screening and disease surveillance, which initiated several new research directions related to online monitoring of dynamic and/or spatial processes.

Mark Britton, a Ph.D. student in epidemiology, was selected to receive a UF Graduate Student Council travel award for his attendance at the Research Society on Alcohol Annual Meeting, June 24-28 in Bellevue, Washington. He presented a poster entitled “Pre-Intervention Drinks/Month and HIV Serostatus Interactively Predict Memory Change After 30-Day Alcohol Contingency Management.” Britton is mentored by Robert Cook, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of epidemiology and director of the Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium. Read more

Sherrilene Classen, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of occupational therapy, and Chiung-ju (CJ) Liu, Ph.D., an associate professor of occupational therapy, together with their Ph.D. mentees, Seung-Woo (Benedict) Hwangbo and Yun Chan Shin, presented at the 11th Occupational Therapy Research Summit held at The Ohio State University June 22-24. The Summit aspires to activate leadership in science so that occupational therapy scientists form and lead diverse interdisciplinary research teams to advance occupational therapy, occupational science, and improve quality of life. Classen moderated a “works in progress” session to provide feedback to junior scholars from universities across the country. Liu served as an advisory member to a collaborative activated research team who are investigating the evaluation of the home environment.

Noah Hammarlund, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of health services research, management and policy, was awarded a Southeastern Conference Visiting Faculty Travel Grant from the UF Office of the Provost.

Dept of Epidemiology
Department of epidemiology faculty and students at the Society for Epidemiologic Research meeting.

Several faculty and students from the department of epidemiology attended the Society for Epidemiologic Research meeting June 13-16 in Portland, Oregon. Attendees included Stephen Kimmel, M.D., professor and chair; Yan Wang, Ph.D., an assistant professor; and Ph.D. students Kendall Robinson and Jackie Pollack.

Juan Perez-Carreno, an epidemiology Ph.D. student, was selected to receive a highly-competitive 2023 Travel Award for Early Career Investigators from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence to attend the CPDD annual meeting June 17-23 in Denver. In addition, he was invited to present a talk on his research, “Gender Differences in the Associations between Family Emotional Connection and Substance Use and Mental Health Outcomes Among Colombian Adolescents,” at the 15th InWomen’s Group conference June 16 in Denver.

Alyssa Falise, a Ph.D. in epidemiology student, received a highly-competitive 2023 CPDD FORCE Junior Investigator Travel Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. The award offset her travel costs associated with attending the organization’s annual meeting June 17-23 in Denver.

The department of epidemiology was well-represented at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence annual meeting June 17-23 in Denver with attendance from teams led by Linda Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., dean’s professor of epidemiology; Catherine Striley, Ph.D., M.S.W., associate professor; Catalina Lopez-Quintero, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor; and Robert Cook, M.D., M.P.H., a professor.


Several faculty and students from the department of epidemiology attended and presented at the Cannabis Clinical Outcomes conference held in Orlando May 18-19.