Dean's Office

PHHP 2020 Superior Accomplishment Award Winners

College of Public Health and Health Professions employees Shelley Heaton, Ph.D., Kevin Jackson, Jessica McLane and Keri Merchant were named Superior Accomplishment Award winners in the Health Science Center division. They will be honored at an upcoming virtual event.

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.

(pictured from left: Dr. Shelley Heaton, Kevin Jackson, Jessica McClane and Keri Merchant)

Submitted by Lauren H. Guidi

Promotions for PHHP Faculty Members

The following College of Public Health and Health Professions faculty members were successfully reviewed for promotion for the 2019-2020 cycle. Congratulations to these individuals on the well-deserved recognition of their significant academic accomplishments and contributions to our teaching, research and service missions:

(pictured left to right) 

Dr. Kim Dunleavy – promoted to Clinical Professor
Dr. Emily Fox – promoted to Research Associate Professor
Dr. Andy Judge – promoted to Professor
Dr. Jamie Pomeranz – promoted to Clinical Professor
Dr. Tara Sabo-Attwood – promoted to Professor

Submitted by Lauren H. Guidi



Department Welcomes Dr. Fischer

Please welcome Dr. Jonathan Fischer, who joined the Department of Biostatistics as Clinical Assistant Professor on July 1. He received his PhD in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018 for work in statistical genomics under the direction of Yun S. Song. With teaching experience in both statistics and data science, Dr. Fischer is excited to support and contribute to the Biostatistics curriculum. Additionally, possessing expertise in the analysis of various types of transcriptomic data, he is eager to take advantage of the many collaborative research opportunities available here in the Department.

Submitted by Melissa Stabel

NSF Grant Award: COVID-19

Dr. Yang Yang was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). He is a Co-Investigator on the project entitled “Technological Solutions for Monitoring the Spreading of COVID-19.” This is a joint proposal with Purdue researchers. The overall PI is Ninghui Li, a computer security scientist, and one of UF Biostatistics’ former faculty, Dr. Faming Liang, an additional Co-I.

Submitted by Melissa Stabel


Environmental & Global Health

Dr. Coker's Paper Published

Clinical Assistant Professor Eric Coker, MS, PhD, recently had his paper "The Effects of Air Pollution on COVID-19 Related Mortality in Northern Italy" published in Environmental and Resource Economics (2020).

You can read Dr. Coker's paper on COVID-19 mortality in relation to PM2.5 in Northern Italy here.

Submitted by Brynn Dalton



Lloyd Receives CPDD Travel Award

Epidemiology doctoral student Shawnta Lloyd received the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Travel Award for Early Career Investigators. Ms. Lloyd received complimentary registration to the CPDD virtual meeting in June, where she presented her abstract, “Patterns of Cannabis Use and Driving Under the Influence Behavior among Middle-aged and Older Adult Drivers.” Ms. Lloyd, mentored by research associate professor in Epidemiology Dr. Catherine Striley, has been a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) predoctoral fellow for the past three years; she is now a McKnight Doctoral Fellow.

Submitted by Abigail Hummel

Jun Receives UFII Fellowship

Epidemiology doctoral student Inyoung Jun received the prestigious UF Informatics Institute (UFII) Graduate Student Fellowship for her proposal, “Dynamic treatment regime modeling for antibiotic resistance drugs.” Mentored by associate professor in Epidemiology Dr. Mattia Prosperi, Ms. Jun aims to build a personalized treatment model of antibiotic resistance in order to maximize utility of antibiotics and reduce antimicrobial resistance infection treatment. Ms. Jun received her master’s degree in statistics from Korea University and joined the Department of Epidemiology in August 2019. Her research interests lie in finding practical answers for real world public health problems including antimicrobial resistance and community-acquired infection.

Submitted by Abigail Hummel


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

Dr. Hong and Dr. Mainous Study Featured
on JAMA Open Network Live

Young-Rock Hung, PhD, MPH, and Arch Mainous III, PhD, conducted a study that shows how some Americans have coped with the rising drug prices in the US. They found that that 1.5% percent of adults, or more than 2 million Americans, purchase their prescription drugs from outside the U.S. to save money. Dr. Hong and Dr. Mainous also emphasize the health and economic barriers associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic and predict a rise in the number of people that could seek out prescription medicine internationally. The study was published in JAMA Open Network and has since been featured on the JAMA Network Live Panel.

Read more about the study here.

Submitted by Lance Jackson


MPH Alumna Completes Workshop in Ethiopia

Amanda Sapp '19, MPH and current Biological Scientist at Emerging Pathogens Institute, completed a trip earlier this year to Ethiopia, where she attended a scoping workshop with a UF team comprised of herself and Dr. Arie Havelaar, a professor with Animal Sciences and Emerging Pathogens Institute. 

UF and Ohio State University collaborate on a grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with USAID that attributes foodborne disease burden to food groups and food types in three African Countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Rwanda. The scoping workshop was conducted to learn from Ethiopians which food hazards and public health metrics were most important to the risk of foodborne disease in Ethiopia.

Amanda designed a data dashboard, which contained risk estimates using R Shiny, to aid Ethiopians in ranking the foodborne risks important to them. The data dashboard will be used in the future in country risk-ranking workshops. An upcoming trip to Ethiopia for another workshop has been rescheduled due to COVID-19, but Amanda says they will return in 2021.

(pictured: stakeholders and the workshop team in Ethiopia)

Submitted by Aubrey Bonsal


Occupational Therapy 

SmartDriver Rehab
Resumes Clinical Services

On June 30, 2020, the UF SmartDriver Rehab program resumed offering comprehensive driving evaluations and interventions at our facility, the UF Smart House, located in Oak Hammock in Gainesville. In response to COVID-19 concerns, our clinic adheres to University of Florida policies and procedures to optimize client and staff safety. At SmartDriver Rehab, clients are evaluated in our state-of-the-art 2020 Toyota Corolla by trained driver rehabilitation specialists who are skilled in addressing driving-related challenges that are caused by the onset of a medical condition, functional decline, progressive disease or normal aging. To learn more about this program, visit our website

(pictured from left: Mary Jeghers, OTR/L, DRS, and James Wersal, OTD, OTR/L, CBIS, DRT, with the SmartDriver car)

Submitted by Betsy Westra


PHHP Wellness

"Thank You for Wearing a Mask" Video Campaign

PHHP is doing our part to combat COVID by wearing masks and thanking those around us for doing the same. Enjoy the video which showcases the people of PHHP describing why wearing a mask is important to them. 

A HUGE thank you to collaborators Trevor Mowchun and Cecile Cristobal from the Department of English, Film and Media Studies and Production, for their tremendous effort in creating and editing the video.    

Thank you for doing your part!

You can view our "Thank You for Wearing a Mask" video here.

Submitted by Brynn Dalton


Physical Therapy 

Senesac Receives PPMD "Change It Champion" Award

Congratulations to Claudia Senesac, PT, PhD, PCS, clinical associate professor in the Dept. of Physical Therapy, who recently received the "Change It Champion" Award on behalf of the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), a non-profit organization that is leading the fight to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Dr. Senesac truly is a champion pushing for change for boys with Duchenne. Within ImagingDMD, a study that aims to learn more about the changes that occur in muscles of the arms and legs in boys with DMD, Dr. Senesac traveled around the country to educate therapists in the field by updating their understanding of Duchenne – translating what has been gained from imaging data. Additionally, she has created educational courses for families and other health professionals as the landscape is changing for this rare disease.

Read more about the award here.

Submitted by Jacky Scott

Chronic Black Pain: Panel Discussion Recap

On Friday, June 19, 2020 – or Juneteenth – the University of Florida Student Physical Therapy Association (SPTA) class of 2021 and 2022 and DPT students advocating for change coordinated a successful panel discussion, “Chronic Black Pain: Implications of the Racism Epidemic for Physical Therapists.” Nearly 200 participants tuned in to listen to this significant conversation.

“I want to acknowledge the reasons why we were having this conversation. The culmination of unnecessary tragedies against Black people,” second-year DPT student Justus Norman, who introduced the panel discussion, said. “With the lack of diversity in the faculty, staff, and students, we found it necessary to bring in Black voices to speak and to learn from.”

Read more about the discussion here.

Submitted by Jacky Scott


Rehabilitation Science 

Student Highlight: Raele Robison

This summer, the Program was proud to highlight Raele Robison, MS, CC-SLP, a fifth-year PhD candidate, in our Student Spotlight series. Throughout the highlight, Raele dives into her interdisciplinary experiences she’d had within the program.

“Being able to learn from these different perspectives really enabled me to become a more thoughtful and well-rounded scientist by challenging me to think about my research in more in-depth and varied ways,” she said.

Additionally, Raele explains her dissertation research within the swallowing/speech pathology field, what she will do as a postdoctoral fellow in the Swallowing and Salivary Bioscience Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and what it’s like to be a Black woman in academia.

Read the full highlight here.

Submitted by Jacky Scott

Barnard Receives Outstanding Publication Award

Rehabilitation Science alumna, Alison Barnard, PT, PhD, research assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, received the Outstanding Publication Award for the publication, “MR biomarkers predict clinical function in Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” which comprised work from her dissertation and time as a PhD student.

The paper was published in Neurology in March and was nominated by Dr. Krista Vandenborne, Dr. Barnard’s PhD mentor, Dr. Sean Forbes and Dr. Rebecca Willcocks, who shares first authorship with Dr. Barnard.

Read the full highlight here.

Submitted by Jacky Scott


Social & Behavioral Sciences

SBS Students and Faculty Contribute to COVID Efforts

SBS is proud of their faculty and students who continue to contribute to COVID efforts! Rebecca Campbell, MPH student, was selected to be part of Palm Beach County Health Department's health education team where she communicates with community liaisons and provides free masks and education about COVID-19 to under-served Belle Grade residents.

Dr. Kathryn Ross, assistant professor, published an article in Obesity, titled “Measuring weight with electronic scales in clinical and research settings during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic”, which provides guidance on how clinicians/researchers can implement e‐scales in clinical practice/research studies to remotely measure weight.

(pictured from left: UF alum Dr. Betsie Joseph Davilu and Rebecca Campell; Dr. Kathryn Ross)

Submitted by Dr. Lindsey King

Walker Publishes on the Neighborhood Deprivation
Index for Diabetes Research

Ashby Walker, PhD, assistant professor in SBS and Health Services Research, Management and Policy and Director of Health Equity Initiatives at the UF Diabetes Institute, published an article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The manuscript, "The Neighborhood Deprivation Index (NDI) and Provider Geocoding Identify Critical Catchment Areas for Diabetes Outreach," used the NDI and geocoding of providers in Florida and California to identify areas with low endocrinology provider density and high poverty areas to effectively focus outreach efforts in diabetes program development. Dr. Hui Hu from Epidemiology and Claudia Anez-Zabala from SBS were also contributing authors.

Submitted by Dr. Lindsey King


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences 

SLHA Clean Sweep of Awards at the
2020 Dysphagia Research Society Meeting

Justine (Allen) Dallal York, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S won first 1st Place Scientific Presentation for her work "Utility of the 3 Ounce Water Swallow Test to Detect Aspiration in Cardiac Surgical Patients." This project was completed under the mentorship of Dr. Emily Plowman and represents the first project in the series of Justine's doctoral dissertation work in cardiothoracic populations and dysphagia.  Justine was also presented with the Springer Publishing Junior Investigator Travel Grant – an award presented to the most promising junior investigators to attend next year’s DRS meeting.

Nicole Herndon, MS, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist at the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases won the Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinical Trials Research Group Logemann Travel Grant for her presentation "Oropharyngeal Swallowing Safety and Efficiency Profiles in Parkinsonism: A Retrospective Analysis." This was completed under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Hegland. The award was founded and is named after a pioneer in the field, Dr. Jeri Logemann.

Submitted by Aaron McEnery