A Message from Dean Perri

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

As we finish out the semester, I want to express my sincere thanks for all of your efforts, particularly over the past six weeks. These last several weeks have brought tremendous challenges that have forced us to re-imagine the ways in which we teach, learn, serve and conduct research. Throughout it all, you have demonstrated flexibility, creativity and an incredible work ethic. While it is impossible to predict what the coming weeks and months will bring, I want you to know how much your contributions to the college, university and community are valued. You exemplify all that is great about being part of the Gator Nation.

Best wishes,



Office of the Dean

MPH Student Receives Benton Award

Zachary Sandoval, a MPH student in the Public Health Management and Policy concentration, was the recipient of the 2020 John Joseph Benton M.D. Humanitarian Award and Scholarship. The award is given to a student who exemplifies a commitment to better the health and lives of children and who demonstrates integrity, compassion, good scholarship, and a good sense of humor. Sandoval, who has volunteered with the Footprints Buddy and Support Program since 2016, is currently completing his internship as a congressional staffer in the United States House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. and will attend medical school in the fall.

Submitted by Dr. Cindy Prins



Change Maker Project

Joining the Change Maker Project, a part of UF HealthStreet, Professor Ji-Hyun Lee and students Sam Anyaso, Natalie DelRocco, and Meilin Jiang, went to a local middle school. At Howard Bishop Middle School, they gave a lecture entitled “What is statistics/data science” and conducted a mini project with the middle school students.

Submitted by Melissa Stabel

UF Health Researcher Explains New Challenges to Testing Treatments During an Outbreak

Researchers testing new treatments and vaccines amid a disease outbreak, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, face a number of challenges. Unpredictability in size, geographic location and the duration of the outbreak can make it difficult for scientists to determine if a drug actually works. An international team of infectious disease experts, including Natalie Dean, Ph.D., and Ira Longini, Ph.D., faculty in the Department of Biostatistics, propose a core protocol for such trials in a commentary published April 2nd in The New England Journal of Medicine. Dean and Longini played an integral role in the design and analysis of trials testing the effectiveness of the new Ebola vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV.

(pictured from left: Dr. Natalie Dean and Dr. Ira Longini)

Submitted by Melissa Stabel



Clinical and Health Psychology

Natalie Koskela-Staples Receives Poster Award at Annual Society of Pediatric Psychology Conference

Doctoral student, Natalie Koskela-Staples, has won a poster award from the Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant (HemOncBMT) special interest group at the Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference (SPPAC). Koskela-Staples' poster was titled, “Caregiver Disease-Specific Coping in Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease: Impact on Youth Coping, Quality of Life, and Hospital Utilization.” Her study found that while caregiver primary control engagement was correlated with youth coping, caregiver coping did not predict youth health-related quality of life or hospital utilization.

Submitted by Melissa Naidu

Erin Ferguson Receives RSA Small Grant Award

Doctoral Student, Erin Ferguson, has received a $5000 Research Society on Alcoholism Graduate Student Small Grant award for her dissertation project, "The Impact of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness on Alcohol and Marijuana Demand Among Co-Users". The overall goal of this proposal is to advance knowledge about pain as a determinant of substance use, particularly alcohol and marijuana use. This award follows a competitive Dissertation Aid Grant that Ferguson received from the UF Center for Addiction Research and Education (CARE) to fund the project. 

Submitted by Melissa Naidu


Environmental and Global Health

Congratulations to the Spring 2020 EGH Graduates!

We would like to take this opportunity to spotlight all of the students that are graduating from the Department of Environmental & Global Health this Spring 2020 with their Master’s degree.

Thank you all for your hard work and dedication! To help commemorate their graduation during this time, we will be hosting a Zoom ceremony on Wednesday, April 29th at 10:45 am, open to friends, family and colleagues. If you are interested in participating, see flyer for details and and follow the Zoom link here.

Submitted by Brynn Dalton

PHHP COVID-19 Testing Lab Developed and Fully-Functioning Within 10 Days

Once COVID-19 began its spread across Florida, and as testing became less and less accessible, a team of researchers, students and lab technicians collaborated to build a high capacity testing research lab in the Emerging Pathogens Institute with only a 10-day timeline. To read more about the behind the scenes process of the lab’s conception, visit this link for DeLene Beeland’s story on the EPI homepage. To get a glimpse of what it is like working inside the COVID-19 testing research lab, follow this link for Sarah Bisesi’s ‘point of view’ of her experience.

Submitted by Brynn Dalton


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

HSRMP Welcomes New Faculty Member: Young-Rock Hong, PhD, MPH

Dr. Hong received his PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Florida in December 2019. As a doctoral student, Dr. Hong published more than 30 papers in several high impact journals and received numerous awards including the 2019 APHA Best Paper Award, UF Provost’s Research Promotion Award in 2019, and JHQ 2018 Impact Article of the Year. Dr. Hong is a health services researcher with a primary focus in the improvements of patient-provider interaction quality in clinical encounters, the design and analysis of service quality measures in health services organizations, and integrating evaluated patient-centered outcomes into value-based payment models.

Welcome to the team, Dr. Hong!

Submitted by Lance Jackson


Physical Therapy

PT Faculty Receive APTA Awards

The Department of Physical Therapy is proud to announce that two faculty were recipients of American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) awards.

Mark Bishop, PT, PhD, FAPTA, associate professor and director of Physical Therapy Education, has received the 2020 Dorothy Baethke-Eleanor J. Carlin Award for Excellence in Academic Teaching. Read more here.

Additionally, Dorian Rose, PT, PhD, research associate professor, is the recipient of the 2020 APTA Lucy Blair Service Award. Read more here.

(pictured from left: Dr. Mark Bishop and Dr. Dorian Rose)

Submitted by Jacky Scott

Gaitor Challenge: Home Edition

Since the transition to online classes, Doctor of Physical Therapy students have adapted to how they stay connected with the community through their Rehabilitation Education Activity & Community Health, or REACH, groups.

Gaitor Challenge, the weekly walking REACH group that promotes physical activity through walking and exercise programs, has offered participants the opportunity to pair with a Gaitor Challenge student physical therapist. They’ll connect once a week via phone call/text message/email to provide participants at home exercises, updates on local resources they may need during this time of quarantine, and most importantly, social interaction that many people are craving.

If anyone is interested in receiving weekly updates from Gaitor Challenge, please email Community Ambassador Jessica Silk at jsilk@ufl.edu

Submitted by Jacky Scott


Rehabilitation Science

Rehabilitation Science Student Successfully Defends Dissertation

Rehabilitation Science doctoral candidate, Katie Butera, DPT, rose to the challenge of holding the first Zoom defense and successfully defended her dissertation entitled, “Low Back Pain as a Nervous System Disease: Validation of Sensory, Psychological and Motor Processing Subgroups.”

Her dissertation study identified low back pain subgroups based on nervous system factors and initially validated these subgroups using measures of walking function, disability, and movement-evoked pain modulation. She tested 78 participants with low back pain using a cross-sectional study design and conducted primary data analyses.

Butera has been mentored by Emily Fox, PT, DPT, PhD, NCS, research assistant professor, and Steve George, PT, PhD, professor at Duke University School of Medicine.  She has accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado under the mentorship of Jennifer Stevens-Lapsley, PT, PhD.

Submitted by Jacky Scott

Rehabilitation Science Program Faculty Receive Florida Department of Health Funding

Three faculty members in the Rehabilitation Science Program have received funding from the Florida Department of Health.

Dorian Rose, PT, PhD, research associate professor, and Barbara Smith, PT, PhD, assistant professor, received funding to implement their study, “Augmenting a Post-Stroke Wellness Program with Respiratory Muscle Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Read more about the study here.

Russ Hepple, PhD, professor, and co-PI Terence Ryan, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology, received funding to implement their three-year study titled, “Role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in tobacco smoke-induced skeletal muscle atrophy.” Read more about the study here.

(pictured from left: Dr. Dorian Rose, Dr. Barbara Smith, and Dr. Russ Hepple)

Submitted by Jacky Scott


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

SLHS Transitions to Online Clinical Practica

The Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences has successfully transitioned its clinical program into an online simulation platform. Students have met on a weekly basis to maintain their clinical and critical thinking skills in the fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. The continuation allows our students to obtain clinical hours towards graduation, licensure, and certification. Partnerships were confirmed with off-site clinicians to assist in simulation cases. Amongst the transition, Directors of Clinical Education, Ms. Lori Ferraro and Dr. Krista Fitzgerald have maintained communication and relationships with clinical sites and continue to expand clinical opportunities for their students.  

(pictured from left: Dr. Krista Fitzgerald and Dr. Lori Ferraro)

Submitted by Aaron McEnery