Dean's Office

College of Public Health and Health Professions'
Research Day

Research Day is February, 11th 2021, 3:00-6:00pm! PHHP graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will share their latest research during breakout session speed-presentations.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Vikram Patel, Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Fellow at Harvard Medical School. His presentation will highlight how mental healthcare can deploy community resources to prevent mental health problems and facilitate recovery in the least resourced contexts.

Event Schedule:
- 3:00-3:15: Initial Welcome
- 3:15-3:45: Breakout session 1
- 3:45-4:15: Breakout session 2
- 4:25-4:55: Breakout session 3
- 5:00-5:45: Keynote: “Transforming mental health globally”
- 5:45-6:00: Awards Ceremony

(pictured: Dr. Vikram Patel)

Submitted by Zoe Martusewicz

Employees of the Year Honored at Virtual Luncheon

The annual holiday celebration and service awards ceremony in 2020 was a bit different than in previous years - the College hosted the celebration virtually for the first time. Attendees received a boxed lunch catered by Sweetwater Branch Inn to enjoy while viewing the celebration. During the celebration, Drs. Stephanie Hanson and Michael Perri presented service awards to those in attendance. After the service awards concluded, attendees participated in an interactive holiday trivia game hosted by Dean’s Ambassadors.

Jacky Scott, a Marketing Assistant from PT, and Ikiah Young, an Academic Program Specialist from HSRMP, were congratulated on their hard work during the 2019-2020 year by being named Co-Employees of the Year.

(pictured from left: Jacky Scott, Ikiah Young)

Submitted by Kevin Jackson



Study Published in Lancet Infectious Diseases

Yang Yang, PhD, MS, Ira Longini, PhD, MS, and Natalie Dean, PhD, AM, published a study in Lancet Infectious Diseases finding that while children are less susceptible to COVID-19, when they do become infected they can be nearly 60% more likely than adults over 60 to infect exposed family members. This study was based on contact tracing data from thousands of households in Wuhan, China. The study can be read here.

(Image is courtesy of Getty Images)

Submitted by Melissa Stabel


Environmental & Global Health

Dr. Eric Coker Published in International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health

Eric Coker, MS, PhD, has a new publication, “'Freedom to Breathe’: Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) to Investigate Air Pollution Inequities in Richmond, CA” in the International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, which can be read here. Dr. Coker looked at air pollution as a major contributor to human morbidity and mortality, the potentially exacerbated link between air pollution and COVID-19, and its threat to planetary health.

(pictured: Dr. Eric Coker)

Submitted by Brynn Dalton

Dr. Rachel Yoho Contributes to Issue of Minding Nature

Rachel Yoho, PhD, published “Environmental Health and Our Failure- or Future- to Thrive,” in Minding Nature, the journal published by the Center for Humans & Nature. Dr. Yoho's article offered a reflection of course planning in the 2020 climate. It can be read in its entirety here.

 (pictured: Dr. Rachel Yoho)

Submitted by Brynn Dalton



Drs. Gurka, Hu, and Team Receive CTSA Supplement Award

Kelly K. Gurka, MPH, PhD, assistant professor in Epidemiology, and Hui Hu, PhD, assistant professor in Epidemiology, received a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program administrative supplement. Drs. Gurka and Hu, with co-PI Matthew Gurka from the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, will examine the ability of the Healthy Start Risk Screen, required for all pregnant women and infants in Florida, to predict pregnancy-associated death and severe maternal morbidity related to postpartum anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder. Ultimately, the study aims to develop both an enhanced risk screen and an optimal strategy for implementing the screen.

(pictured from left to right: Dr. Kelly K. Gurka, Dr. Hui Hu)

Submitted by Abigail Hummel

Dr. Cottler Named ACTS President-Elect

Linda B. Cottler, PhD, MPH, FACE, PHHP’s associate dean for research and dean’s professor in Epidemiology, has been named president-elect of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS). Dr. Cottler, an internationally recognized expert in psychiatric epidemiology, is the founding director of HealthStreet, a community engagement program in which community members are assessed for their health concerns and needs and referred to medical and social services and opportunities to participate in research. She is also the director of community engagement for the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Dr. Cottler’s term as ACTS president will begin in April 2022.

(pictured: Dr. Linda B. Cottler)

Submitted by Abigail Hummel


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

MHA Student Fellowships and Job Placements

We want to take this time to highlight and congratulate our Master of Health Administration students who have accepted fellowships or other employment opportunities after graduation. Orlando Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Columbia University, Duke University, and Seattle Children’s Hospital are only a few of the many organizations that our students will have the opportunity to experience as they take the next steps in their careers. Placements in these highly respected organizations are a true testament to the students’ hard work and dedication to health care. They have certainly proven their diligence and determination in our program, and we look forward to hearing of their success in the future. Read more about our students and their fellowship/job placements here.

Submitted by Lance Jackson

Farewell to Francesca Antoine

It is a bittersweet moment for the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy as we are losing one of our team’s most valued members. We sincerely thank Francesca Antoine for her service as our department’s Business Manager. Her contributions and commitment to HSRMP have greatly improved our departmental operations and encouraged a work environment conducive to cohesion and professionalism. Our faculty and staff will miss her dearly, as her presence ensured that the department’s administrative needs were met while keeping everyone’s best interests in mind.  We are extremely proud to see her start a new chapter in her career as an Assistant Director of Health Care Administration in the College of Medicine and offer her our best wishes in her future endeavors. Thank you for everything you have done, Fran!

(pictured: Francesca Antoine)

Submitted by Lance Jackson


Occupational Therapy 

UFOT Welcomes Two New Clinical Assistant Professors

Becky Piazza, OTD, MS, and Anna Baird-Galloway, OTD, OTRL, MTBC, will be making major teaching contributions in the UF Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program.

Dr. Piazza received her clinical doctorate in occupational therapy from Chatham University in 2018. Dr. Piazza specializes in adult inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and has been a practicing occupational therapist within adult physical dysfunction since graduating from UF in 2001. 

Dr. Galloway is a licensed and board certified Occupational Therapist and a board certified Music Therapist. She has extensive clinical experience working with the cardiac, vascular, pulmonary, and neurological populations.

(pictured from left: Dr. Becky Piazza, Dr. Anna Baird-Galloway)

Submitted by Betsy Westra

OT Faculty Receives Recognition from National Organizations 

Christine Myers, Ph.D., OTR/L, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program in the Department of Occupational Therapy has been elected to receive the Roster of Fellows award from the American Occupational Therapy Association for her exemplary leadership in early childhood and interprofessional education. Dr. Myers will be honored during the AOTA annual conference in April. She has also been awarded the Distinguished Scholar Fellow from the National Academies of Practice in Occupational Therapy. Dr. Myers will be honored during the NAP Annual Meeting and Forum in March.

(pictured: Dr. Christine Myers)

Submitted by Betsy Westra


Physical Therapy 

Dr. Schack-Dugre Appointed to ACAPT Leadership
Academy Oversight Committee

Congratulations to Judi Schack-Dugré, PT, DPT, MBA, EdD, Director of Clinical Education for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program - she has been selected to serve on the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) Leadership Academy’s (ALA) Oversight Committee. ACAPT is dedicated to excellence in physical therapist education programs as a whole and it is the principal voice representing academic physical therapists.

During the 3-year commitment, Dr. Schack-Dugre will be dedicated to developing current and future leaders within the physical therapy profession.

Read more about the Oversight Committee appointment here.

(pictured: Dr. Judi Schack-Dugre)

Submitted by Jaclyn Scott

Paying it Forward: Alum Donates to Equal Access Clinic

Thanks to the support of Arlyn Thobaben, DPT, OCS, UF Doctor of Physical Therapy class of 2012, the Physical Therapy Equal Access Clinic, or EAC, is in the process of purchasing artwork to promote health and wellbeing for community members who attend the clinic.

Dr. Thobaben came full circle – during the DPT program, she was assigned to the EAC as her community engagement group, and now as a physical therapist and clinic director at Texas Therapy Specialists, she decided to give back to the clinic that helped shape her clinical and interpersonal skills.

The department is thankful for Dr. Thobaben’s generosity and support of current and future DPT students.

(pictured: Dr. Arlyn Thobaben)

Submitted by Jaclyn Scott


Rehabilitation Science 

Rehabilitation Science PhD Program Welcomes Two New Students

The Rehabilitation Science PhD Program is excited to welcome two doctoral students this spring semester: Prathyusha Bellam, BPT, and Yuan Li, MPH.

Prathyusha will be mentored by Krista Vandenborne, PhD, chair and distinguished professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, whose work developing novel noninvasive techniques to evaluate skeletal muscle attracted Prathyusha to the program.

Yuan has a research interest in autonomous vehicle technology, so working with his mentor Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FGSA, professor and chair in the Department of Occupational Therapy, will provide him an opportunity to utilize both a public health and rehabilitation science approach with autonomous vehicles and driver rehabilitation research.

(pictured from left to right: Prathyusha Bellam and Yuan Li)

Submitted by Jaclyn Scott

Bansal's Dissertation Work Accepted in
Physical Therapy Journal

Physical Therapy Journal recently accepted a manuscript that forms a part of the dissertation work that doctoral student Kanika Bansal, MPT, is currently working on. The project, entitled “Does falls-efficacy influence the relationship between forward and backward walking speed after stroke?”, will be printed in February.

This study provides unique evidence that the degree of falls-efficacy significantly influences the relationship between forward walking speed, or FWS, and backward walking speed, or BWS, post-stroke. Physical therapists should examine both FWS and BWS in people with higher falls-efficacy, but further investigation is warranted for those with lower falls-efficacy. Read more here.

Congrats Kanika!

(pictured: Kanika Bansal)

Submitted by Jaclyn Scott


Social & Behavioral Sciences

Jennifer Maizel Receives 2021 Horace and Vivian Sawyer Endowed Scholarship

SBS doctoral student Jennifer Maizel, MPH, CHES, was selected for the 2021 Horace and Vivian Sawyer Endowed Scholarship. This award is presented to a graduate student who demonstrates research and leadership potential focused on supporting people with chronic conditions or disabilities through community re-integration. Jennifer’s scholarship will be used to enhance her academic pursuits and research interests focused on addressing the psychosocial aspects of diabetes and improving the mental health of people living with the condition. Jennifer is mentored by Dr. Ashby Walker, faculty in SBS and the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy.

(pictured: Jennifer Maizel)

Submitted by Dr. Jamie Pomeranz

Dr. Lindsey King and Sarah Collins Publish on Community-Based Participatory Research

Lindsey King, PhD, MPH, CHES, CCRP, CTTS, faculty in SBS and Health Services Research, Management and Policy, and Sarah Collins, SBS PhD student, published a study linked here in the community-engaged-focused journal ENGAGE!, in the Fall 2020 issue, that focused on racism and its significant impacts. The study was titled “Protective Factors Using the Life Course Perspective in Maternal and Child Health: A Community-Based Participatory Research Approach.” The study, led by Dr. Abraham Salinas-Miranda of USF and Dr. Hamisu Salihu of Baylor College of Medicine, explored maternal and child health protective factors from the perspective of community residents living in Tampa, Florida.

(pictured from left: Dr. Lindsey King, Sarah Collins)

Submitted by Dr. Jamie Pomeranz


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences 

Kristen Lewandowski Joins SLHS Faculty

The Department of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences welcomes Kristen Lewandowski, M.A., CCC-SLP, to its faculty. Kristen comes to UF with over 10 years of experience working as a speech-language pathologist. Kristen will serve as the clinical education coordinator for Master’s program in speech-language pathology. Before coming to UF, she worked as a school-based clinician in Gainesville and, prior to that, as a Rehabilitation Director in a skilled nursing facility. She has extensive experience working with children and adults with autism and related disorders as well as adults with language and cognitive disorders, along with expertise in augmentative/alternative communication. 

(pictured: Kristen Lewanowski)

Submitted by Aaron McEnery


College of Public Health and Health Professions'

CEPH Re-Accreditation

From March 15-17, 2021, the college will be virtually hosting a team from the Council on Education for Public Health for our re-accreditation. 

Our preliminary self-study document is posted on the college’s website. We invite students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community stake-holders to read through the self-study and offer comments and suggestions before we submit our final self-study.