Dean's Office

Dean's Citation Paper and Scholarship of Teaching Publication Awards

At the State of the College meeting on September 18, 2020, faculty members were recognized by Dean Michael Perri for their innovation and excellence in research and teaching with a Dean’s Citation Paper Award or Scholarship of Teaching Publication Award. Congratulations to faculty who received these awards!

(pictured from top left: Dr. Jeff Boissoneault (CHP), Dr. Zhiguang Huo (BIO), Dr. Ara Jo (HSRMP), Dr. Andrew Judge (PT), Dr. Anthony Maurelli (EGH), Dr. Emily Plowman (SLHS), Dr. Mattia Prosperi (EPI), Dr. Zheng Wang (OT) and Dr. Kim Dunleavy (PT, Scholarship of Teaching Publication))

Submitted by Lauren H. Guidi

Welcome to the 2020-2021 Dean's Ambassadors

The Dean's Office welcomed 10 new Dean's Ambassadors into the Dean's Ambassador Program for the 2020-2021 academic year - Ashley Castano, Kyla Doubek, Katarina Fiorentino, Jae'Lyn Gilbert, T'Kia Gill, Grace Hansen, Rebecca Michel, Chandni Pooran, Nathalie Sawczuk and Alyssa Trinh. With wide representation from departments across the college, these students join 10 returning Senior Ambassadors. The Dean's Ambassador Program was founded in 2016 and involves a group of elite student leaders who are dedicated to volunteering and supporting PHHP in a diverse range of college events and activities. More information and ambassador spotlights can be found here.

Submitted by Kevin Jackson



Congratulations to Summer 2020 Graduates and Welcome to New Students

The Department of Biostatistics would like to Congratulate our Summer 2020 Graduates: Tyler Grimes, PhD, Guanhong Miao, PhD, Zhongkai Wang, PhD, Lu You, PhD, and Maryam Yazdanfar, MS Online. We are so proud of their accomplishments and excited for their future endeavors.

The Department of Biostatistics held a New Student Orientation along with a Welcome/Welcome Back virtual lunch with our returning and new students. This gave us a chance everyone a chance to become familiar with each other.

Submitted by Melissa Stabel

Dr. Longini Commentary on COVID-19 Vaccines Published

Small, single-vaccine clinical trials may not provide sufficient evidence that a COVID-19 vaccine is effective enough to provide significant protection, writes a group of World Health Organization scientists, including the University of Florida’s Ira Longini, Ph.D., in a commentary published this week in the journal The Lancet.

“You need large numbers and multiple products in many different settings tested in many different kinds of people to assess whether they’re really safe and effective,” said Longini, a professor in the department of biostatistics in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and the UF College of Medicine. Read more here.

Submitted by Melissa Stabel, Jill Pease


Clinical and Health Psychology

UF Study: Ex-NFL Players’ Opioid Use in Early Retirement
Predicts Mental Health Challenges

Recent CHP graduate, Zachary Mannes, PhD., M.P.H, served as lead investigator on a study of opioid use by retired NFL players. The study found that half of former NFL players who used opioids early in their retirement were still using opioids nine years later. Those retirees were also more likely to report moderate to severe depressive symptoms and low mental health-related quality of life. The UF study, which appears in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, is the first to examine the possible long-term consequences of opioid use among retired professional football players. Read more here.

(pictured: Dr. Zachary Mannes)

Submitted by Melissa Naidu

Study Identifies a Potential Biomarker for Decreased Brain Processing Speed in Aging

According to a new study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience and led by University of Florida neuroscientists Adam Woods, Ph.D., and Jessica Kraft, thinning of the cortex in several brain regions in advanced age may be linked with a decrease in the brain’s processing speed.

The results of the study could provide a path for more targeted future interventions, such as non-invasive transcranial direct current stimulation. Decreased brain processing speed, which occurs during normal cognitive aging at varying rates, can lead to less independence, higher risk of car accidents and increased risk of memory loss and other thinking problems. Read more here.

(pictured from left: Jessica Kraft and Dr. Adam Woods)

Submitted by Melissa Naidu


Environmental & Global Health

Dr. Tara Sabo-Attwood Appointed Associate Editor of Environmental Health Perspectives

The chair of the Department of Environmental & Global Health, Dr. Tara Sabo-Attwood, was appointed as the Associate Editor of Environmental Health Perspectives. This journal, with support from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, is a journal of environmental health research and news. To view Environmental Health Perspectives, please visit the link here. Congratulations Dr. Sabo-Attwood!

Submitted by Brynn Dalton



Shapiro, Wijayabahu and Team Receive Exemplary Online Award

 The Exemplary Online Awards (EOA) are intended to recognize exemplary and innovative practices in online teaching and course production. Jerne Shapiro, MPH, lecturer in Epidemiology, and Akemi Wijayabahu, doctoral student in Epidemiology, with Dean’s Office staff Truly Hardemon, Eva Egensteiner and Hillary Carter, were awarded a 2020 EOA for their work on PHC4101 Public Health Concepts. Shapiro served as the instructor for the course; Wijayabahu served as the teaching assistant and, with Shapiro, developed an assignment for the course entitled “Personal Happiness and Health: A Life-Long Assignment.”

(pictured from left: Jerne Shapiro and Akemi Wijayabahu)

Submitted by Abigail Hummel

Dr. Hu Receives NIEHS R21

Dr. Hui Hu, assistant professor in Epidemiology, received a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) R21 grant. Dr. Hu, with MPI Dr. Jiang Bian from the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, will utilize the OneFlorida EHR repository to identify novel environmental factors associated with severe COVID-19, examine whether the external exposome contributes to racial and ethnic disparities in severe COVID-19 and develop predictive models of high-risk patients with external exposome factors. Ultimately, the study will inform future precision interventions through improved understanding of how environmental exposures may impact COVID-19 severity.

Submitted by Abigail Hummel


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

HSRMP Welcomes Dr. Brittney Dixon

Health Services Research, Management and Policy would like to welcome our new SBS Clinical Assistant Professor, Brittney Dixon, PhD, MPH. Dr. Dixon received her PhD in Public Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Florida in August 2020. With her Certification in Public Health, training in Tobacco Cessation and combined background in Social and Behavioral Sciences and Health Policy, her research focuses on examining factors influencing the health and quality of life of underserved and vulnerable populations, in particular individuals residing in rural communities. 

Welcome to the team, Dr. Dixon!

Submitted by Lance Jackson


Occupational Therapy 

Telehealth Services at the Equal Access Occupational Therapy Clinic

The Occupational Therapy Equal Access Clinic board made the best of the opportunity to continue provision of student run, faculty facilitated patient care, despite COVID-19. They used time to assist with providing telehealth services to clients and their families under the supervision of a field clinician and a faculty member, in collaboration with the Physical Therapy Equal Access Clinic and Gaitor Challenge initiatives. The students have been working to provide telehealth services in the client’s home while problem solving technological and logistical issues to help patients gain the maximal benefits addressing the client and caregiver’s physical, social and psychological needs.

(pictured: EAC board with faculty liaisons. Top Row (left to right): Abigail Donofrio, Brooke Abzug, Rachel Stacy, Corrine Hutchison and Emily Pugh. Bottom Row (left to right): Rachel Scarboro, Kayley Gerard, Jenny Ryan, Hannah Burns and Prerna Poojary)

Submitted by Betsy Westra

Dr. Sandra Winter Receives 2020 Association for Driver
Rehabilitation S
pecialists (ADED) Scholar Award

This award is presented annually to members who have made outstanding scholarly achievements in the area of driver evaluation, education, research, and/or engineering.

Sandra Winter, PhD, OTR/L, is a Research Assistant Scientist in the Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida. She is also an affiliated investigator with the Gainesville Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health, Veterans Rural Health Resource Center.  She has a long-term history of scholarly work in driving and community mobility, particularly in vulnerable and medically-at-risk populations.

(pictured: Dr. Sandra Winter)

Submitted by Betsy Westra


Physical Therapy 

Newly Renovated Clinical Learning Center

Over the summer, the Department of Physical Therapy acquired additional space adjacent to the Clinical Learning Center at the CVS on SW 13th street. Nearly doubling in size, the center is now 9,500 sq. feet and features state of the art classrooms with multiple monitors and hi-def cameras, which are perfect for remote learning and for when we return to normalcy. New, smaller spaces are available for 1:1 learning sessions and all of the furniture is movable - providing flexible learning and work spaces for our faculty and students.

The new space will provide offices for faculty and staff, conference rooms and classrooms, as well as the large, open space where lectures, labs and the PT Equal Access Clinic are held.

(pictured: new spaces for the Department of Physical Therapy)

Submitted by Jacky Scott

DPT Students Provide Educational Resources to Children

When the effects of the pandemic struck in late March, Doctor of Physical Therapy students had to adapt how they implement their Health Promotion and Wellness capstone projects. Three students rose to the occasion to help provide children educational materials throughout quarantine.

Ashley Tringas and Kayce Whitbeck, third-year DPT students, created a Google Classroom that provides follow-along videos to replicate the activities that the children from the Balance 180 gym were familiar with. Read more here.

Sabrina Smith, a fellow third-year DPT student, also created and collected videos of HSC students recording themselves reading books and breaking out in song and dance to send to Pam Kantor, a fourth-grade teacher in South Africa, who founded Read for Hope. Read more here.

(pictured from left: Ashley Tringas, Kayce Whitbeck and Sabrina Smith)

Submitted by Jacky Scott


Rehabilitation Science 

Welcome to Incoming RSD Students

This semester the Rehabilitation Science Program welcomed seven incoming doctoral students!

Get to know Ethan Benevides, BA; Katie Buzzanca, BA, BS; Jessica Cornman, PT, DPT; Tinu Olarawaju, PT, MSC; Byrn Taylor, BS, MA; Alyssa Terry, MS, CCC-SLP; and Isabelle Coppa Wandenkolk, BS, MPH, in the RSD newsletter.

(pictured from top left: Ethan Benevides, Katie Buzzanca, Jessica Cornman, Tinu Olarawaju, Byrn Taylor, Alyssa Terry and Isabelle Coppa Wandenkolk)

Submitted by Jacky Scott

Fall Rehabilitation Science Seminar Series

The Rehabilitation Science Seminar Series has started! Nearly 200 participants joined us as Dr. Nichole Stetten PhD, MPH, CPH, research assistant professor in the Dept. of Occupational Therapy, kicked off the series with her talk, entitled “Medical Marijuana’s Effect on Substance Use and Quality of Life Among People Living with a Disability.”

Dr. Ashley Ghiaseddin, MD, will present “Malignant Gliomas. Redefining our Standard.” today at noon. If you are interested in attending this presentation, please register here

(pictured: Dr. Ashley Ghiaseddin)

Submitted by Jacky Scott


Social & Behavioral Sciences

SBS Welcomes Two New Clinical Assistant Professors

SBS is pleased to welcome two new clinical assistant professors!

Dr. Brittney Dixon received her PhD in public health from SBS and is housed in the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy. She successfully defended her dissertation in July 2020, which examined how built environment factors influenced intervention-related weight loss outcomes among rural adults with obesity under the mentorship of Dr. Kathryn Ross. Her research focuses on examining factors influencing health outcomes and quality of life among underserved and vulnerable populations in rural communities.  

Dr. Shantrel Canidate received both her MPH degree and PhD in public health in SBS from UF. She recently completed a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Epidemiology. She is housed in the Department of Epidemiology. She works under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Cook. Her research focuses on examining alcohol use among marginalized populations, such as men who have sex with men (MSM) with or those at risk for HIV infection.

(pictured from left: Dr. Brittney Dixon and Dr. Shantrel Canidate)

Submitted by Dr. Lindsey King

Fleetwood Creates Black Public Health Network

Tyrus Fleetwood, SBS MPH student and PHSA president, recently founded the Black Public Health Network (BPHN) to foster community and connect past, present, and future Black public health Gators through their professional careers. With the continued divide in race relations and wide health disparities that challenge the Black community, Fleetwood saw it as an opportune time to connect through public health interests and serve as a united front for initiatives such as diversity and inclusion within PHHP and beyond. Other founding members include Caronne Rush (faculty advisor), Jess Ponder, Esther Olasoji, Antwan Brinson, Joseph Washington, Romae Morgan, and Jae’lyn Gilbert.

(pictured: Tyrus Fleetwood)

Submitted by Dr. Lindsey King


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences 

SLHS Screen Team

Dr. Krista Fitzgerald and the Au.D. students recently visited their affiliate, Lutheran Services Florida (LSF), to provide hearing screenings to their Head Start programs in Jacksonville. LSF is an organization working to transforms lives of people regardless of age, background or belief. They serve children and families, youth and teens, adults and elderly, refugees and immigrants and victims of natural disaster. During a week of screenings, Dr. Fitzgerald and her students were able to screen over 250 students within the Head Start program. "One of the many goals of the "Screen Team" is to identify hearing loss in children and prevent problems with communication, learning and development," said Dr. Fitzgerald. "It is important to serve our community and expose our students to diverse populations. They are really making a difference and building relationships with these programs, staff, and children." Dr. Fitzgerald plans to expand the "Screen Team" to involve the whole department and provide service across the lifespan.

(pictured: Dr. Krista Fitzgerald)

Submitted by Aaron McEnery


Correction to last month's newsletter: In the August 2020 issue of This Month in PHHP, Dr. Yang Yang was identified as a Co-Investigator on a project. The article should have read "Dr. Yang Yang was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) He is a Co-PI on the project entitled 'Technological Solutions for Monitoring the Spreading of COVID-19.'"