Department Welcomes Dr. Roy

Please welcome Dr. Arkaprava Roy, who joined the department as an Assistant Professor in June 2020. Prior to joining University of Florida, he was a postdoctoral associate at Duke University. Dr. Roy's primary focus is on data science and in developing innovative statistical modeling frameworks and corresponding inference methodology motivated by complex applications. He received his PhD from North Carolina State University, from the Department of Biostatistics.

Submitted by Melissa Stabel

Dr. Longini's Work with COVID-19

Ira Longini, PhD, has been very involved in COVID-19 research. A new article was published this month detailing COVID-19 in Florida. This article shows the difference between the reported national and statewide cases and what the projections will be. Please read further here.

Submitted by Melissa Stabel 


Clinical and Health Psychology

Natalie Koskela-Staples Receives TL1 Fellowship

Natalie Koskela-Staples was selected as a recipient of a UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) TL1 training grant.

The CTSI TL1 Predoctoral Training Program provides predoctoral trainees with the skills required to develop a career in multidisciplinary clinical and translational research. The program uses a team-science approach and provides mentoring and didactic training for predoctoral students performing clinical and/or translational research in health-related fields at UF. Natalie will be joined with Jacqlyn Yourell (Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Doty), a graduate trainee in Family, Youth and Community Sciences, to examine parent level barriers to and facilitators of physical activity among adolescents with comorbid asthma and obesity.

Submitted by Melissa Naidu


Environmental & Global Health

New Research Finds Evidence of Blood Vessel Damage due to COVID-19 Infection

Dr. John Lednicky assisted the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in new research involving autopsies of COVID-19 patients. It was found that COVID-19 may not just be a viral respiratory disease, as it also affects the vascular system. To read more, see the article written by DeLene Beeland here.

Submitted by Brynn Dalton



Dr. Cottler, Dr. Striley and Team Receive NDEWS Grant

Dr. Linda Cotter, PHHP Associate Dean for Research and Dean’s Professor in Epidemiology; Dr. Catherine Striley, Research Associate Professor in Epidemiology; and their multi-institutional team received a five-year National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) grant. NDEWS is a surveillance program that will detect novel psychoactive substances nationwide with the assistance of 18 sentinel sites. As part of a COVID-19 supplement to this grant, the team will interview first responders (EMTs) and last responders (funeral directors) about the effect of the pandemic on drug use. Students interested in working with the team on this grant should contact Tamara Millay at tmillay@ufl.edu.

 (pictured from left: Dr. Linda Cottler and Dr. Catherine Striley) 

Submitted by Abigail Hummel

Dr. Cottler Lab Students Celebrate Publications

Three students in Dr. Cottler’s lab had manuscripts accepted for publication on the same day: Amy Elliott’s “Exposure to medicines in the family medicine cabinet: is it a harbinger of later opioid dependence?” in Substance Use & Misuse; Ayodeji Otufowora’s “Sex differences in willingness to participate in research based on study risk level among a community sample of African Americans in north central Florida” in Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health; and Dr. Yiyang Liu’s “Past 30-day oral and non-oral prescription stimulant use and associated risk factors among youth 10 to 18 years of age” in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

(pictured from left: Amy Elliott, Ayodeji Otufowora, and Dr. Yiyang Liu)

Submitted by Abigail Hummel


Health Services Research,

Management and Policy

Dr. Kates Recipient of Rising Star Award

Fredrick Kates, PhD, a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Health Services Research Management and Policy, is a 2020 recipient of the UF Center for Teaching Excellence Rising Star Award. This award recognizes faculty for their commitment to ongoing educational improvements and excellence. Dr. Kates created the Health Informatics & Emerging Healthcare Technologies course, which promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and entrepreneurship for all UF students. He is also working on a national certification component where students have the opportunity to obtain the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society certificate. Learn more about the Rising Star Awards here.

 Submitted by Lance Jackson


Occupational Therapy

UFOT Contributes to the Great Good - Offers Free Continuing Education to Occuptional Therapists During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 30, 2020, UFOT began offering free online continuing education (CEU) to therapists around the world. Many OT’s have limited education opportunities due to social distancing guidelines. However, they still need to fulfill their CEU licensure requirements. UFOT is an AOTA approved CEU Provider and offers 15 asynchronous courses focusing on Driving and Mobility, Adults and Seniors, Children/Youth, Practice/Professional Topics, Education, and Mental and Behavioral Health. The free continuing education campaign officially ended May 15 resulting in over 2400 course registrations.  UFOT is excited to contribute to the Greater Good by advancing the knowledge of OT’s adhering to social distancing.  

Read more about CEU offerings here.

Submitted by Jamie Pomeranz

Carlyn Ellison Selected for the CTSI TL1 Traing Grant

Under the mentorship of Drs. Classen and Struckmeyer, PhD student Carlyn Ellison from the Department of Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Science program has been selected for the CTSI TL1 Training grant. The TL1 Predoctoral Training Program helps trainees develop a career in multidisciplinary clinical and translational research through team science. Ellison will be working as a team with Jennifer Applebaum, a PhD student in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law and mentored by Dr. Barbara Zsembik. Ellison and Applebaum’s project will examine how relationships with companion animals impact the health and wellbeing of older adults who are aging-in-place.

(pictured from left: PhD students Carlyn Ellison and Jennifer Applebaum)

Submitted by Betsy Westra


Physical Therapy

PT Students Supporting Gainesville Community through COVID-19 Student Service Corps

First and second year Doctor of Physical Therapy students have stepped up to join the UF chapter of the COVID-19 Student Service Corps (CSSC). The mission of CSSC is to support health systems and their patients, workforce and communities facing the COVID-19 pandemic through inter-professional student service-learning projects.

The projects that are led by DPT students include a Social Support project through Gaitor Challenge (a wellness walking program), a Special Populations project through Balance 180 (staying connected with children and their families who have attended adaptive gymnastics classes at Balance 180) and a Gratitude Project (creating and sending thank-you notes to frontline healthcare workers at UF Health Shands Hospital). Read more about the projects here.

(pictured: the Harrell Building)

Submitted by Jacky Scott


Rehabilitation Science

RSD Students Find Alternative Ways to Connect with the Community During COVID-19

Rehabilitation Science students within the Department of Occupational Therapy – Sharon “Shazz” Mburu, PT, MS; Fiorella Guerrero, MA; and Mary Jeghers, MSOT, OTR/L – are embracing the challenges of COVID-19 to continue their research and community outreach.

Shazz is a member of the Positive Transitions to Adulthood lab, Fiorella is part of the Youth and Young Adult Empowerment, Leadership, and Learning (YELL) Lab and Mary is a part of the Mobility, Activity, and Participation (I-MAP) research team. We are proud of our students for supporting the community through research and outreach activities despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Read more about their projects here.

(pictured clockwise from top left: a letter to Sharon "Shazz" Mburu, a message from a child mentee in the community, the Warmakuna Hope team delivering necessities to families affected by COVID-19, and a Warmakuma Hope team member preparing groceries for a Peruvian family)

Submitted by Jacky Scott

Catch up on the news happening within the Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program in the Summer 2020 Newsletter. The newsletter just scratches the surface of how RSD faculty, students and alumni have excelled during the most unexpected and trying times, in addition to the many great achievements seen throughout the previous semester.

Submitted by Jacky Scott


Social & Behavioral Sciences

Dixon Wins Meritorious Student Abstract Award

Brittney Dixon, SBS PhD Candidate, received a Meritorious Student Abstract award related to her dissertation work for a paper titled “Does Where You Live Matter? The Built Environment and Intervention-Related Changes among Rural Adults with Obesity.” Dixon was scheduled to present this paper at the 2020 Society of Behavioral Medicine annual meeting in San Francisco, but the conference was cancelled due to COVID-19. The abstract was also published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine (issue 54, page S441). Dixon is mentored by Dr. Ross and Dean Perri.

Submitted by Dr. Lindsey King

SBS MPH Students Contribute to Fight Against COVID-19

SBS is proud of our students who are contributing to the fight against COVID-19! Tori Johnstone is working at Palm Beach County Health Department doing contact tracing, focusing on outbreaks of staff in long-term care facilities. Megan Bohan worked as a biological scientist at Collier County Health Department, where she called people who tested positive to let them know their status and inform them of isolation guidelines. Brianna Scott is working as project leader for the Information Services project through UF College of Medicine, focusing on research and development of educational materials for vulnerable populations, in partnership with Florida Healthy Start Coalition and Florida AHEC.

(pictured from left: SBS students Brianna Scott, Tori Johnstone and Megan Bohan)

Submitted by Dr. Lindsey King


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

SLHS Offering Hanen More Than Words Workshop

The Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences is offering the Hanen More than Words Workshop this summer as an outreach to the community. More Than Words is a program developed by The Hanen Centre for parents of young children (under age five) with autism or social communication difficulties. It is specifically designed to address the core difficulties children have in communicating with others. Lori-Ann Ferraro, who is a Hanen-certified speech-language pathologist and the Director of Clinical Education for the department, is leading the program.

(pictured: Lori-Ann Ferraro)

Submitted by Aaron McEnery