Dean's Office

Naidu and Vogtle Named PHHP 2019 Superior Accomplishment Award Winners

College of Public Health and Health Professions employees Melissa Naidu and Candice Vogtle have been named UF Superior Accomplishment award winners in division five, which encompasses the six health colleges. They will be honored at an awards banquet March 27.

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. Division winners are submitted as nominees to compete for the university-level Superior Accomplishment Awards.

Naidu is an academic specialist in the department of clinical and health psychology, and Vogtle is an administrative specialist for Stephanie Hanson, PhD, the college’s executive associate dean. Both were named the college’s 2018 Employees of the Year.

(pictured from left: Melissa Naidu and Candice Vogtle)

PHHP Staff Retreat

On March 5, the PHHP Staff Council hosted the first ever college-wide staff retreat and it was a huge success. Approximately 60 staff members participated in an afternoon of activities including a professional development workshop led by Dr. Amy Blue and a team building exercise about survival on the moon that encouraged communication and cooperation among team members. The retreat wrapped-up with staff enjoying some fun and games and tasty snacks in the HPNP reception hall.

The Staff Council plans to make the retreat an annual event and has already queried staff on ideas and locations for next year's retreat.


Environmental and Global Health

Bisesi Receives Best Paper Award from ET&C

The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) presents an annual Best Paper Award to the lead author of the most outstanding paper published in the prior calendar year. Of 350 published articles in 2018, editors from ET&C nominated 27 based on scientific impact, public and professional interest, comprehension, and experimental design and quality.

This year, Dr. Joe Bisesi, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Global Health, received a Best Paper Award for his article, “The gut microbiome and aquatic toxicology: An emerging concept for environmental health.” Ondrej Adamovsky and Amanda N. Buerger, a PhD student in EGH, will receive the award as co-first authors.

The microbiome has emerged as a central theme in environmental toxicology because microbiomes interact with the host immune system. This article covers two case studies, nanomaterials and hydrocarbons, with special emphasis on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, to illustrate how investigations into the microbiome can improve understanding of adverse outcomes.

Humes Wins Occupational and Public Health Award

Sarah Humes, an EGH doctoral student in the One Health track, was a recipient of a travel award from the Occupational and Public Health Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology. For this award she attended the National Society of Toxicology conference in Baltimore, MD, where she presented her work on 1-bromopropane. This chemical is a solvent that is used in manufacturing and can cause neurological effects in exposed populations. Humes is working on understanding the cellular mechanisms that lead to neurotoxicity. 



Hu Receives Sandra A. Daugherty Award

Dr. Hui Hu, an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology, received the Sandra A. Daugherty Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Disease or Hypertension Epidemiology. This award was created in honor of Daugherty’s outstanding scientific career in the areas of hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome, and women’s health issues. Hu was chosen for his work on hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. He currently serves as principal investigator on a research project funded by the American Heart Association entitled, “The Total Environment and Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy: A Precision Public Health Approach.”

As an epidemiologist with specializations in spatial analyses and health data science, Hu’s research interests also include exposome data integration and use of machine learning algorithms to identify actionable patterns from population-based health data.

Pearson Recognized for Exceptional Mentoring

Dr. Thomas Pearson, a Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, was selected as this year’s recipient of the Epidemiology and Prevention Mentoring Award from the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. This award highlights the importance of exceptional individual and institutional mentoring and advocacy in cardiovascular epidemiologic research. This award recognizes Pearson’s lifelong commitment to mentoring. Pearson has been the mentor to 68 trainees at Johns Hopkins, Columbia, the University of Rochester, and the University of Florida, which include graduate students, medical students, postdoctoral fellows, and career development awardees.

Pearson currently serves as the Director of the MD-PhD Program in the College of Medicine and the Director of Translational Workforce Development of the UF Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program. He also is the principal investigator of the KL2 Program.


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

Romero and Kates Present at HIMSS Global Conference

PhD student Ryan Romero, from the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy and the Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Program, and Dr. Rick Kates, a clinical assistant professor in the department, presented at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Global Conference & Exhibition 2019. The presentation titled, “Modifying the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) to Evaluate Specific Health Applications,” addressed how to improve content validity and the use of standardized metrics in the evaluation of e-health applications for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Other collaborators on this study included Dr. Mark Hart (SBS Program Director), Itai Meirom, Amanda Ojeda, and Stephen Hardy (SLHS Lecturer).

(pictured from left: Dr. Rick Kates and Ryan Romero)

Sandoval Selected for NCI-Funded Internship

Zachary Emmanuel W. Sandoval, an MPH student in the Public Health Management and Policy concentration, was selected to participate in the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded summer internship program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Cancer Prevention Research Training Program (CPRTP) summer research experience is a paid internship designed to provide research experience and mentoring for undergraduate, graduate, and health profession students interested in cancer prevention research. The department congratulates Sandoval on being selected for the internship.


Occupational Therapy

OT Introduces Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows

Drs. Zack Ahonle, Gail Castañeda, MJ Lee, and Justin Mason are postdoctoral associates in the Department of Occupational Therapy working with Drs. Sherrilene Classen and Sergio Romero. Ahonle earned his PhD in Special Education and Rehabilitation Counselor Education from the University of Texas. His research interests include community reintegration and diversity in outcomes of vulnerable populations. Castañeda earned her PhD in Public Health (social and behavioral sciences concentration) from UF. Her research interests involve psychometric testing and development of health-related constructs, particularly co-occurring substance abuse and disordered eating behaviors. Lee earned her PhD in Rehabilitation Science from UF. She is currently working on developing and testing an Annie protocol to deliver NIH-PROMIS Measures. Her research interests include measurement outcomes, remote health services and technologies, and home modifications. Mason earned his PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Florida State University. His current project is assessing aging adults’ perceptions of automated vehicle technologies.

(pictured from left: Dr. Zack Ahonle, Dr. Gail Castañeda, Dr. Mi Jung Lee, and Dr. Justin Mason)

Ellison Presents at HIMSS Global Conference

PhD student Carlyn Ellison, from the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Rehabilitation Science Program, presented at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Global Conference & Exhibition 2019. The HIMSS conference is the largest health information and technology conference in the world, attracting more than 45,000 attendees from more than 90 countries. Other UF collaborators included Dr. Rick Kates and Samantha Larson from the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy. The collaborative study highlighted how data can be presented in a more impactful way through the utilization of an infographic assignment among graduate level students entitled, “Infographics: Maximize Critical Thinking and Engagement.” Under the mentorship of Dr. Sherrilene Classen and supervision of Dr. Linda Struckmeyer, Ellison is studying the implementation of home modifications for aging-in-place among persons with disabilities.

(pictured from left: Dr. Rick Kates and Carlyn Ellison)

Profiling OT and RSD PhD Students

PhD students from the Department of Occupational Therapy enrolled in the Rehabilitation Science Doctoral program are actively involved in research. The following students recently published alongside their mentors: Mary Jeghers (Mentor: Dr. Winter and Dr. Classen), Sharon Medina (Mentor: Dr. Kreider), and Shabnam Medhizadah (Mentor: Dr. Classen).

Students presenting at the 2019 American Occupational Therapy Association in April include: Carlyn Ellison (Mentors: Drs. Classen and Struckmeyer), Mary Jeghers, Jaewon Kang (Mentor: Dr. Romero), Sharon Medina, Shabnam Medhizadah, and Marcia Schneider (Mentor: Dr. Shechtman). Additionally, Schneider, Wang, and Melissa Knott (Mentor: Dr. Classen) were selected to present in the Young Scientist Theater of this conference. Shabnam Medhizadah and James Wersal (Mentor: Dr. Classen) are presenting research findings at the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) conference in August. The department congratulates all of the PhD students and their mentors.

 (pictured from left: Shabnam Medhizadah, Marcia Schneider, James Wersal, Sharon Medina, Mary Jeghers, Carlyn Ellison, and Jaewon Wang)


Physical Therapy

14th Annual Neuromuscular Plasticity Symposium

The T32 Neuromuscular Plasticity Training (NMPT) Program and T32 BREATHE Training Program hosted the 14th Annual Neuromuscular Plasticity Symposium on March 15 at the Emerson Hall. Guest speakers included world-renowned experts Susan Harkema, PhD; Chris Adams, PhD, MD; and Rajesh Rao, PhD. Over 50 graduate students and postdoctoral associates presented their research posters and eight were granted $400 travel awards. Travel award winners include postdoctoral fellows Dr. Daria Neyroud and Dr. Mohamad El-Chami, and graduate students Agostina Casamento-Moran, Alicia Vose, Dongwoo Hahn, Chandler Callaway, Katie Butera, and Latoya Allen. Additionally, Dr. Krista Vandenborne was honored for her leadership during her time as director of the NMPT T32 Program. 

(pictured from left: Dr. David Fuller, director of the NMPT T32 program, Dr. Krista Vandenborne, former director, and PHHP dean, Dr. Michael Perri)

DPT Spring Break in Mexico

During the first week of March, four Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students and two Department of Physical Therapy faculty, Drs. Kim Dunleavy and Claudia Senesac, joined the well-established interprofessional College of Medicine Project Yucatan for the first time. The group of 42 volunteers, including pharmacy, physician assistant and medical students and licensed providers, provided care in four rural areas outside Merida in Yucatan, Mexico. Over 70 health professional students from the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan (UADY) worked with community partners to organize the events, serve as translators and work with patients.

DPT students, faculty, and UADY students evaluated over 130 patients in four days, providing education and exercise aimed at functional improvement. The interprofessional team interactions and care provided a rich and meaningful learning experience for all, while providing valuable service.

(pictured: Dr. Dunleavy (far left) and Dr. Senesac (far right) with UF and Mexican PT students)


Public Health

Public Health Programs Host First Open House

On January 25, representatives from each of the six Master of Public Health (MPH) program concentrations, along with the Bachelor of Public Health (BPH) program, hosted an open house to show how different interests and goals align with Public Health degree programs. Over 45 prospective students connected with current students, alumni, faculty, and staff to learn more about the MPH and BPH programs and the dynamic field of public health.

MPH Preceptor Fair

On February 4, the Master of Public Health program held the Spring 2019 Preceptor Fair. This event provided an opportunity for students to meet and interview with prospective preceptors (organizations or programs who are seeking interns.) Students got the chance to network with professionals in the public health field, practice interviewing skills, and learn about opportunities in public health. Students will complete an internship at a preceptor site during their final semester as part of the Master of Public Health degree.


Rehabilitation Science

Two RSD Students Recognized at India Fest

The India Cultural and Educational Center hosted India Fest on March 16 at Bo Diddley Plaza. Rehabilitation Science PhD (RSD) students Kanika Bansal and Kavya Kamalamma received $500 travel awards on behalf of the Give to Research, Education, and Advancement of Technology (GREAT) foundation and were recognized during this event. Both Bansal and Kamalamma presented their research at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in Washington, D.C., and used these travel awards. The awards were presented by Dr. Bhavani Sankar, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida and Dr. Nisahnth Sunny, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland.

(pictured: Kanika Bansal and Kavya Kamalamma receiving their travel awards)

Cyclists Circling the Globe Visit MBI

On March 5, a pair of British physicians cycling around the world to raise funds and awareness for two charities supporting spinal cord and brain research (the Spinal Research Foundation and the Brain Foundation) stopped by the McKnight Brain Institute. The cyclists, Lloyd Collier and Louis Snellgrove, visited Gordon Mitchell, PhD, director of UF’s Center for Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation. Mitchell’s team, PT and RSD faculty, and other MBI researchers were able to greet the pair as they arrived at the MBI’s entrance. See video from CBS, view photo gallery from Gainesville Sun, read more about cyclists.

(pictured: UK cyclists (center) with Dr. Mitchell (third from right), his team and other MBI researchers)


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Speech Perception Lab Represents SLHS in Arizona

Doctor of Audiology (AuD) students Caitlin Smith and Elena Hoogland recently traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona, to represent the Speech Perception Lab and the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Department at the Annual Scientific and Technology Conference of the American Auditory Society. The American Auditory Society promotes the translation of scientific discovery to clinical practice in hearing and balance disorders. Smith presented a research poster on speech perception differences between sound booths titled, “Sound Booth and Simulated Reverberation Effects on Speech Perception.” Hoogland presented a research poster on the discrimination of different sound booth environments titled, “Simulated Reverberation Effects on Discrimination of Sound Booth Environments.” Both posters generated great feedback and interest. The department congratulates Smith and Hoogland for their research and work representing UF.

(pictured from left: Caitlin Smith and Elena Hoogland)

4th Annual SLP and AuD Clinical Educators Appreciation Night

The Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences hosted its fourth annual Clinical Educators Appreciation Night. Preceptors from the community who mentor the graduate Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) and Doctor of Audiology (AuD) students at their facilities were invited for an evening out. Dr. Susan Nittrouer, the chair of the department, presented the preceptors with a certificate of appreciation and small gift for their service to the graduate students and the SLP and AuD programs. The event was held at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center.

(pictured from left: Kelli Vaudreuil, Dr. Susan Nittrouer, and Lori Ferraro)



Kang Receives Student Presentation Award

PhD student Tong (Amanda) Kang received a student presentation award at the American Statistical Association (ASA) Florida Chapter Meeting in early February. The award was for a SPEED talk plus poster presentation session. The presentation titled, “Analyzing Longitudinal Clustered Count Data with Zero-Inflation: Marginal Regression Modeling with Conway-Maxwell-Poisson Distribution,” investigated the dental dataset of the dental caries progression on a cohort of Iowa school children at the ages of 5, 9, and 13. Kang’s mentor is Dr. Somnath Datta.

You Receives Travel Award

PhD student Lu You received a travel award from the Department of Biostatistics to attend the Joint Statistical Meeting (JSM) in the summer of 2019 in Denver, CO. You will present his research on disease early detection and prevention (DEDAP). In this study, You suggests a novel and effective new method for DEDAP. To detect a disease by this method, a patient's risk to the disease is first quantified at each time point, and then the longitudinal pattern of the risk is monitored sequentially over time. A signal will be triggered by a large cumulative difference between the risk pattern of the patient under monitoring and the risk pattern of a typical person without the disease in concern. Both theoretical arguments and numerical studies show that it works well in practice.


Clinical and Health Psychology

Rozensky Receives Raymond D. Fowler Award

Ronald H. Rozensky, PhD, ABPP, has been named the recipient of the Raymond D. Fowler Award for Outstanding Contributions to the American Psychological Association (APA).  Rozensky is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology where he served as department chair. He also was associate dean for international programs in the College of Public Health and Health Professions. The Fowler Award, named after APA's long time CEO and former APA president, recognizes an APA member who has had a significant and enduring impact on the APA as an organization and who has shown a clear dedication to advancing the APA's mission. Rozensky will receive the award at a ceremony at the APA Annual Convention in August 2019, in Chicago, IL.

CHP Doctoral Students Win Awards

Several Department of Clinical and Health Psychology doctoral students have recently submitted their research for important awards. Andrea Brockmann won the Top Student Abstract Award from the Obesity and Eating Disorder Special Interest Group at the Society of Behavioral Medicine annual meeting for her work, “Is it really a two-way street? Bidirectional association between exercise and stress in adults with overweight and obesity.”

Leslie Gaynor presented the winning talk at the Institute for Living in Retirement’s Robert Levitt Award for Student Research on Aging, "Identifying Cognitive Predictors of Amyloid Positivity via Comparisons of Amyloid Positive Mild Cognitive Impairment and Healthy Aging."

Erin Trifilio and co-authors were selected as one of two runner-ups of the Fourth Annual TCN/AACN Student Project Competition (The Clinical Neuropsychologist, Official Journal of the American Academy of Clinical Neurospychology) for the manuscript, “A Tale of Two Stories: Validity of an Alternative Story Memory Test in a Sample of Older Adults.”  

(pictured from left: Andrea Brockmann, Leslie Gaynor, and Erin Trifilio)