Rehabilitation Science

Brooks-PHHP Research Collaboration Spotlight

Over 100 guests were in attendance at the Brooks-PHHP Research Collaboration Spotlight Symposium on July 25. The event, which took place at the Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in Jacksonville, highlighted the robust neuromuscular and musculoskeletal research programs led by Drs. Jason Beneciuk, Joel Bialosky, Emily Fox, and Dorian Rose.

Brooks employees and clinicians, as well as physicians and clinicians from the Mayo Clinic and other institutions around Jacksonville, came to listen to experts discuss a variety of important topics such as walking rehabilitation, respiratory function, and rehabilitation approaches for chronic pain.

(pictured: RSD faculty and Brooks-PHHP collaboration researchers with their students)

Congratulations Summer Graduates

Four rehabilitation science students, Drs. Chelsea Ding, Shakeel Ahmed, Mi Jung Lee, and Pallavi Sood have completed their PhDs and graduated in early August. The RSD program is so proud of the PhD graduates and wishes them the best in their future endeavors.

(pictured center: Dr. Chelsea Ding at graduation)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Chhabria Graduates with PhD in Public Health

Karishma S. Chhabria is a summer 2018 graduate with a PhD in public health, social and behavioral sciences concentration. Her dissertation identified novel factors (fear and depression) impacting treatment outcomes in head and neck cancer patients. During her doctoral training she successfully completed three studies in this population, along with investigating the feasibility of using salivary cortisol as a predictor of fear. This fall Chhabria starts her postdoctoral fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Medicine in Houston, Texas. During her fellowship she aims to continue this line of research. Her long term goal is to implement an intervention with high fear profile head and neck cancer patients to improve survival, quality of life, and treatment outcomes.

SBS PhD Candidates Present at FPHA

Stephanie Lee (right) and Lindsey King (left), SBS doctoral candidates, presented research posters on June 25 at the 2018 Florida Public Health Association Educational Conference in Orlando, Florida. Lee’s poster was titled “Patient Perspectives on the Treatment for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: A Qualitative Analysis.” The study aimed to uncover the perceived level of disease-related symptom load in euthyroid patients and treatment plans offered to alleviate symptoms identified by either the patient’s physician or through self-treatment. The corresponding manuscript has recently been accepted for publication in Health and Primary Care. King’s poster was titled “Association Between Racial Discrimination, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and Unhealthy Dietary Patterns: A Structural Equation Model” and examined how ACEs and racial discrimination influence dietary patterns in a community sample. This study found a correlation between ACEs and racism factors and suggests broadening the list of ACE indicators to capture additional sources of stress to elucidate new pathways to understanding racial disparities.


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Children with Hearing Loss are Learning Language

This summer adolescents from across the country came to the Speech Development Lab to be tested on their language, cognitive, and psychosocial abilities. Since all of these children have been followed from infancy, they have provided a rich, longitudinal database. Outcomes generally show how well medical and behavioral interventions are supporting language learning for children born with severe-to-profound hearing loss.

(pictured: Graduate student Lindsay Arena in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences)

UF Summer Reading Program

The UF Summer Reading Program, under the direction of Dr. Laurie Gauger, took off without a hitch in July helping students with dyslexia improve their reading skills, while staving off the “summer slide” that occurs as a result of the 10-week break from school. Skill levels often decrease during this time for all students, but more so for students with learning disabilities. However, for the students who attended this intensive program, not only were skill levels maintained but gains were made to increase reading and writing skills. Michelle Saade, Sabrina Eugene, and Jingchen Xu, graduate students from the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, worked with eight students between the ages of 7 and 13 in individual intervention sessions that met three times per week for 90 minutes each. Scholarship funds provided by the Scottish Rite Foundation were used to help families cover the cost of the program.



Welcome Zhigang Li and Ji-Hyun Lee

Dr. Zhigang Li (left) joined the department as an associate professor on August 1. Previously, Li was an associate professor in biomedical data science, epidemiology, and community and family medicine at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. Li earned a PhD in biostatistics from Columbia University in 2010.

Dr. Ji-Hyun Lee (right) joined the department as a professor on July 1. Lee is also director of the division of quantitative sciences and the biostatistics shared resource of the UF Health Cancer Center. Previously, Lee was director of the biostatistics shared resource at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center (four years) and a full member of biostatistics at the Moffitt Cancer Center (11 years). Lee earned a PhD in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003.

Somnath Datta Awarded NIH NIDCR Grant

The Department of Biostatistics congratulates Dr. Somnath Datta on his recent award from the National Institute of Health NIDCR. The project, “A Novel Analysis Plan for the Caries and Fluorosis Data from the Iowa Fluoride Study,” is a two to three year study that will be led by Datta with co-investigators from the Universities of Louisville and Iowa.

The overall goal of this proposal is to undertake a comprehensive secondary statistical analysis of data obtained from the Iowa Fluoride Study. In the United States, dental caries is a major chronic childhood disease. The proposed research will integrate multi-year caries and fluorosis data to uncover new information that is undetectable using the simpler approaches previously undertaken and will provide a greater understanding of the risk and preventative factors of dental caries and fluorosis. Lastly, this work will enrich biostatistics methodological research in Bayesian approaches to statistical regression models for count data.


Clinical and Health Psychology

Crowley Selected to Present at 2018 APA Convention

CHP doctoral student Samuel Crowley was selected as one of three neuropsychologists in training to provide a case presentation at the 2018 American Psychological Association Convention. His presentation entitled, “The Absence of Evidence: Language Deficits Following Likely Stroke with No Imaging Findings,” will be part of an Association of Neuropsychology Students in Training (ANST)-sponsored workshop on how to give effective neuropsychology case presentations. Crowley is mentored by Dr. Catherine Price.

Zakrzewski and Archer Receive Poster Award

Doctoral students Jessica Zakrzewski (left), Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, and Christian Archer, Department of Psychiatry, received a $1,000 Research Poster Travel Award at the 2018 International OCD Conference in Washington, D.C. Zakrzewski and Archer co-authored an abstract entitled, “Functional Impairment and Perceptions of Memory in Hoarding Disorder.” Zakrzewski is co-mentored by Dr. William Perlstein and Dr. Carol Mathews. Archer is mentored by Dr. Carol Mathews.


Dean's Office

PHHP Individual and Group Career Coaching Services

Ashley Jacobs, MEd, is an Assistant Director for Career and Industry Engagement with the Career Connections Center (formerly known as the Career Resource Center). She serves as the embedded liaison for PHHP, providing customized career development opportunities and industry connections for students through collaboration with employers, faculty, and staff. She meets one on one with students during career planning appointments, provides customized educational workshops to classrooms and student organizations, and connects students to employers seeking their talent.

If interested in a presentation for your class or student organization, covering topics including but not limited to, interviewing strategies/professionalism, creating effective resumes/CVs/personal statements/LinkedIn accounts, job/internship search strategies, and negotiating a job offer, requests can be submitted directly via email to AJacobs@ufsa.ufl.edu. Individual appointments for each of these topics can be set up via email as well.


Environmental and Global Health

EGH Alumnus Shares Opinion Piece in USA TODAY

Jacob Atem is a proud alumnus from the Department of Environmental and Global Health, having graduated in Fall 2017 with his PhD in Public Health with a concentration in One Health. Before his tenure at UF, Atem was a "lost boy" of Sudan.

Among an estimated 30,000 young boys, Atem fled from his birthplace in South Sudan seeking refuge in Ethiopia and Kenya while the country fought for its independence. In 2001, after several years living in a refugee camp and a long journey, Atem was welcomed into the United States. He eventually earned his doctoral degree where his dissertation work focused on the health of refugees and is currently a postdoctoral associate at Johns Hopkins University. Read more about his experience in USA TODAY.

Fishy Business of Birth Control Pills on the Brain

A research team led by Dr. Tara Sabo-Attwood, Department of Environmental and Global Health, and Dr. Nancy Denslow, Department of Physiological Sciences, identified how chemicals found in common birth control pills impact the brains of fish. In a study published in Scientific Reports, the team reveals for the first time how two well-known drugs, ethinylestradiol and levonogestrol, can trigger rapid changes in proteins in the brain that are involved in synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis. This discovery has health implications for aquatic ecosystems where organisms, like fish, can be exposed to such compounds that are not removed during the wastewater treatment processes and end up in waterways. Read more about this landmark study.



Epidemiology Graduates 30th Doctoral Student Since 2011

As of the summer 2018 graduation season, the Department of Epidemiology has graduated 30 doctoral students. Since the founding of the department in 2011, 100 percent of the program’s graduates have secured employment or further education pertaining to the field of epidemiology. The department looks forward to welcoming the largest ever incoming cohort of nine doctoral students for the 2018-2019 academic year. Go Epi-Gators.

(pictured: Catherine Striley, PhD, MSW, MPE, and Epi 30th Graduate Sadaf Milani, PhD, MPH, CPH)

Cook Receives NIAAA T32 Training Grant

Dr. Robert Cook, Dr. Robert Leeman, and Dr. Robert Lucero have received a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) Instructional Training Grant (T32) Program, Translational Science Training to Reduce the Impact of Alcohol on HIV Infection. The new training program will be linked with the ongoing research and community-based activities for the Southern HIV Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC) Center. Trainees will benefit from interacting with a multidisciplinary team of faculty and an array of research activities. Four predoctoral trainees and two postdoctoral trainees will be funded on this grant. Cook is a professor of epidemiology and director of the SHARC and director of the SHARC Center for Translational HIV Research.

 (left to right: Drs. Robert Cook, Robert Leeman, and Robert Lucero)


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

HSRMP Welcomes Dr. Kea Turner

Dr. Kea Turner joined the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy on August 20 as an assistant professor. Turner received her PhD degree in Health Policy and Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. Prior to graduate school, Turner served as a presidential management fellow and a policy analyst for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Turner is a health services researcher and implementation scientist. Her research interests include implementation science, organizational change, and chronic disease and medication management. HSRMP is delighted Dr. Turner has joined the department and welcomes her to the UF community.


Occupational Therapy

OT Embraces Strategies for Change and Effective Communication in Summer Retreat

On July 20, all members of the Department of Occupational Therapy participated in a retreat held at UF’s Straughn Center. The retreat was facilitated by colleagues from the Office of Training and Organizational Development. With its ongoing growth — the department now being 21 members strong — the intent of the retreat was team building with two foci: strategies to identify and accept “change” and conceptualizing and synthesizing the “DISC” profile, which highlights personality characteristics and communication preferences of each member, as well as the overall team. Dr. Sherrilene Classen, department chair, presented on the department’s overall progress towards its 2025 vision; Dr. Michael Perri, PHHP dean, provided an objective view of the department’s growth, progress, and challenges; and Dr. Christine Myers and Ms. Emily Pugh provided follow-up task force reports on the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree program and the department’s online continuing education programs. Faculty and staff found the experience “worthy,” “insightful,” “enlightening” — and an “investment” toward the continued progress of the department.   

OT Welcomes a K-12 Scholar and Postdoctoral Associate

The Department of Occupational Therapy welcomes Dr. Amber Angell (left), research assistant professor, and Dr. Justin Mason (right), postdoctoral associate. Angell completed her predoctoral work at USC in understanding African American and Latino families’ experiences of their children’s ASD diagnosis and services. Angell’s postdoctoral training is in translational and community-engaged research from the University of Illinois at Chicago. During her postdoctoral work, Angell worked on federally funded community-based participatory research projects. She also received a postdoctoral award from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation to carry out a community-engaged mixed-methods study with youth with ASD. Mason completed his PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology and his dissertation is entitled, “Effects of cardiovascular health on cognitive function and driving performance in healthy older adults.” He holds an MS in Exercise Physiology, an MS in Sport Management, and a BS in Psychology — all from Florida State University. Mason will work on a newly funded project from the DOT and UF Transportation Institute, entitled “UF and UAB’s Demonstration Study: Older Drivers Experiences with Autonomous Vehicle Technology.”


Physical Therapy

Bishop Article Featured on AAU

Dr. Mark Bishop’s article about how physical therapy could diminish the need for opioids was featured on the Association of American Universities opioid campaign page. Bishop explains how seeing a physical therapist for pain can be an effective way to lower the risk of addiction. Although PT is an important part of the process, there are still hurdles to jump through in our current health care system for people to be able to access this non-opioid alternative for pain management. Read more

Irwin Receives Joe Cirulli Scholarship Award

Alison Irwin, a second-year DPT student, received the Joe Cirulli Scholarship Award in late June. This one-time scholarship is given to a student with financial need, who not only has exceptional academic credentials, but is also involved in local community service, which Irwin’s work exemplifies. As a part of her community health service group, Irwin and other DPT students provide balance screenings and classes to the geriatric population in Gainesville.

“It was an honor to receive the Joe Cirulli Scholarship Award,” said Irwin. “During my undergraduate education at UF, Mr. Cirulli gave an inspiring guest lecture in one of my courses on how his passion for fitness and entrepreneurship developed into a world-leading fitness center that encourages the community to live a healthy lifestyle. I am extremely grateful to have received an award in his name.”