College Leadership

Beth A Virnig

Beth A Virnig Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dean And Robert G. Frank Endowed Professor
Phone: (352) 273-6214
Physical Address:
1225 CENTER DR
GAINESVILLE FL 32610

Beth A. Virnig, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the dean and Robert G. Frank Endowed Professor at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions. She joined the university in July 2022 as the sixth dean of the college in its 64-year history.

She served as a professor in the division of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and as director and lead of the school’s Strategic Global Public Health Programming, where she guided efforts with partner universities in Thailand, India, Mexico and Ghana. Prior to that, she served as the school’s senior associate dean for academic affairs and research.

Dr. Virnig’s research examines how patient factors and system factors combine to influence care and outcomes. Her research focuses on cancer care, women’s health, end-of-life care, and the measurement of racial and ethnic disparities in care and health outcomes among Medicare beneficiaries. Her work has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. She serves on the American Cancer Society’s Council for Extramural Research. She is the author or co-author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, including an article on breast cancer surgery that was named one of the 10 best papers of the decade (1999-2009) by the American Society of Breast Surgeons.

She directed the Research Data Assistance Center, or ResDAC, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-funded program providing free assistance to academic, government and nonprofit researchers interested in using Medicare and Medicaid data in their work.

She earned both her Ph.D. and M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Dr. Virnig held positions at the University of Miami and Dartmouth Medical School’s Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences.

Stephanie L Hanson

Stephanie L Hanson PhD, ABPP (Rp)

Executive Associate Dean
Phone: (352) 273-6377
Mailing Address:
PO Box 100185
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Physical Address:
4101 HPNP ROOM 4114
4101 HPNP
GAINESVILLE FL 326110001

Stephanie Hanson, Ph.D., ABPP (Rp) is the executive associate dean and a clinical professor in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. In her current position, Dr. Hanson oversees significant components of PHHP academic program development. She chairs the PHHP Blended Learning Task Force, which is spearheading the implementation of the college’s vision for a pedagogical educational model in which the use of technology and a blending of on line and interactive live class sessions facilitate student learning. She is also integrally involved in implementation of the college’s strategic plan. A member of the college since 1996, Dr. Hanson received her Ph.D.’s in developmental psychology and clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University. She was one of the first women board certified in rehabilitation psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. She subsequently served on the Board of Directors for the American Board of Rehabilitation Psychology as well as on the Executive and Ethics and Social Responsibility Committees of the Division of Rehabilitation Psychology of the American Psychological Association. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association based on her significant contributions to the field of rehabilitation psychology, particularly in the area of ethics.

George Hack

George Hack PhD, MEd

Associate Dean For Educational Affairs
Phone: (352) 273-6377
Mailing Address:
PO BOX 100185
PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH PROFESSIONS-DEAN'S
GAINESVILLE FL 326100185
Physical Address:
ROOM HPNP 4112
GAINESVILLE FL 326100001

George Hack, PhD, MEd, is the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions’ Associate Dean for Educational Affairs and a Clinical Associate Professor in the department of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Hack received his PhD in Educational Technology from the University of Florida and has designed online and face-to-face instruction in a variety of environments, including secondary, undergraduate, graduate, professional, adult vocational training, and military schools.

At the University of Florida, Dr. Hack has served in various roles, working in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as a coordinator of extension nutrition education programs, teaching graduate and undergraduate technology courses in the College of Education, and as assistant director for instruction and information systems in the Health Science Center Libraries. He has also collaborated on the Compendium for Children’s Health with a team of international physicians, setting up an online environment for pediatricians to receive instruction in Community Pediatrics.

Dr. Hack’s research interests include human-computer interactions in learning as well as pedagogy influenced by situated and grounded learning theories. In addition, he has served ten years in the military, with four years of active duty in the Marine Corps.

Adam J Woods

Adam J Woods Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Research, College of Public Health and Health Professions
Phone: (352) 294-5842
Mailing Address:
PO Box 100165
GAINESVILLE FL 32610

Dr. Woods is Associate Dean for Research in the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida. He is also Associate Director of the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory (CAM) in the McKnight Brain Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology. Dr. Woods completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania after completing his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at George Washington University. His undergraduate training in Psychology was completed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has expertise in non-invasive brain stimulation, neuroimaging, and cognitive training for working memory and speed of processing/attention. He is a national leader in the field of neuromodulation, leading the largest transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) and near infrared photobiomodulation trials to date, multiple cognitive training trials, publishing the first comprehensive textbook in the field of tES, and multiple field standards papers. Dr. Woods’ research specifically focuses on discovery and application of novel non-invasive interventions for enhancing cognitive function in adults with and without neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Woods has expertise in multi-disciplinary cognitive neuroscience methodologies (MRI/fMRI, electrophysiology, non-invasive brain stimulation), extensive experience with aging-related cognitive disorders, cognitive training applications, and past research with neurological diseases. Over the past five years, Dr. Woods has established one of the largest and most well-funded neuromodulation laboratories in the United States. His lab is currently funded by five NIH/NIA R01s. He is PI of the first and largest phase III RCT for tES using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and cognitive training, the ACT study (R01AG054077, n=360), the largest phase II near infrared photobiomodulation trial (R01AG064587, n=168), and an artificial intelligence and precision dosing computational project that seeks to develop a novel brain-specific precision medicine approach to transcranial electrical stimulation treatment approaches (RF1AG071469). He also serves as site PI on two large clinical trials testing efficacy of cognitive training approaches in adults with and without mild cognitive impairment: the PACT and ACTIVE MIND Trials (R01AG070349, R01AG075014). In addition, Dr. Woods serves as an MPI for an NIH/NIA pre-doctoral T32 training grant focused on providing research training in non-pharmacological interventions for cognition in aging, MCI, and Alzheimer’s disease (T32AG020499).

Research Summary:

Cognitive Aging and Dementia: Cognitive function declines as we age. As our thinking and memory skills decline, the rate of functional dependence, mortality, and acute illness requiring hospitalization increases. Increased rates of cognitive and functional decline associated with dementia represent a growing concern in light of our rapidly aging population. There are currently a paucity of effective treatments for preventing dementia or recovering age-related cognitive decline. A variety of methods have been proposed to counteract cognitive aging and/or slow onset of dementia (e.g., cognitive training). Unfortunately, these techniques have limited degrees of success and transfer to everyday life. My work demonstrates that combining treatments like cognitive training with non-invasive brain stimulation (tDCS, TMS, tACS) facilitates neural plastic response, improves cognitive abilities (specifically working memory, attention, and speed of processing), and leads to long-term improvement. In combination with modern multimodal neuroimaging and electrophysiology recording, this work not only identifies mechanisms underlying improvement, but also provides information important for further optimizing treatment effectiveness. This work has recently led to funding of the largest and only Phase III randomized clinical trial for tDCS as an adjunctive method with cognitive training to combat cognitive aging and slow dementia onset. In addition, my lab is funded to investigate mobility enhancement in older adults, treat chronic knee osteoarthritic pain, and enhance working memory using a variety of non-invasive electrical brain stimulation methods in Phase II trials. At present, my lab maintains over 7 million dollars in NIH funding to investigate non-invasive brain stimulation-related interventions. In addition, my lab also maintains funding to investigate a variety of non-pharmacological compounds in a Phase II pilot clinical trials to investigate novel methods for improving brain metabolism, neuroplasticity, and cognitive function. This work capitalizes on novel methods for imaging mitochondrial function and cerebral energy metabolism in the brain, as well as state of the art diffusion-weighted and functional imaging methods. Collectively, my work aims to slow or reverse the effects of cognitive aging and slow the onset of dementia using non-invasive and minimally invasive approaches. In addition, the extension of my work to chronic pain and mobility decline in older adults represents an exciting new arm of my intervention work.

Research Interests:
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Attention
  • Clinical Translational Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Aging
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Dementia
  • MR imaging
  • Neuroimaging Methods
  • Neuromodulation
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Non-invasive Brain Stimulation
  • Speed of Processing
  • Working Memory
Education:
  • 2005-2010
    Ph.D. Cognitive Neuroscience
    George Washington University
  • 1999-2003
    B.S.
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
Mattia Prosperi

Mattia Prosperi

Professor And Associate Dean For AI And Innovation
Phone: (352) 273-5860
Mailing Address:
PO Box 100231
2004 MOWRY RD RM 4234
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Physical Address:
2004 MOWRY RD
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Tara Sabo-Attwood

Tara Sabo-Attwood

Associate Dean, Professor, And Chair
Phone: (352) 294-5293
Mailing Address:
PO Box 100188
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Physical Address:
PO Box 100215
GAINESVILLE FL 32610

Dr. Tara Sabo-Attwood is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Global Health and a member of the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology and Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. She also serves as the Associate Dean of Faculty Development, Cultural Affairs, and Wellness Programs. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Biomedical Sciences and Environmental Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Her doctoral training was in the area of aquatic toxicology and she moved into environmental pulmonary pathology as an NIEHS postdoctoral fellow at the University of Vermont. Dr. Sabo-Attwood directs a laboratory group that investigates molecular mechanisms that drive various health impacts associated with environmental exposures to agents which include endocrine disruptors, mineral fibers, and nanomaterials. She is a National Academy of Science Kavli Fellow in Nanotoxicology and serves on a number of scientific boards including the International Academy of Sciences, is a member of the EPA Chartered Science Advisory Board and a Research Associate with the Smithsonian’s Global Health Program.

Her work in nanomaterials and other particulates (secondary organic aerosols) specifically spans toxicological assessments, primarily in a rodent model of influenza virus susceptibility and in aquatic vertebrates focused on nano-enabled applications relevant to improving water quality in aquaculture settings and understanding the impact that carbon-based materials (singly and in hybrid form with metals) have on growth and nutrient uptake in fish. Dr. Sabo-Attwood is also investigating chemical profiles present in water sources in developing nations, such as Haiti. Her most recent work has centered on understanding the connection between nature and wellness, utilizing ‘green space’ to improve health outcomes in an environmentally safe environment (optimal air quality). Her research is currently funded by NIH, NSF, and USDA.

Research Summary:

Dr. Sabo-Attwood’s expertise is Environmental Toxicology. Her current research interests include understanding molecular mechanisms controlling cellular, tissue and organism responses to environmental contaminants, effects associated with water and air exposures to nanomaterials, fibers (asbestos) and particulates and endocrine disrupting compounds, utilizing rodent and aquatic models to assess how chemicals alter susceptibility to pathogenic infections (e.g. influenza H1N1), and investigating the connection between nature and wellness to improve health outcomes.

Education:
  • 2003
    Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences, Concentration in Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Human and Environmental Toxicology
    University of Florida
  • 1996
    Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology, Specialty in Cytogenetics
    University of Connecticut
Cindy A Prins

Cindy A Prins

Assistant Dean For Educational Affairs
Phone: (352) 294-8576
Mailing Address:
BOX 100182
1225 CENTER DR RM 4108
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Physical Address:
BOX 100182
1225 CENTER DR RM 4108
GAINESVILLE FL 32610

Cindy Prins, PHD, MPH, CIC, CPH, is the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions’ assistant dean for educational affairs and a clinical associate professor of Epidemiology. Dr. Prins received her PhD in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology from Penn State University in 2000, where she studied replication of JC virus. She completed her post-doctoral training at the University of Florida, focusing on regulation of vaccinia virus transcription elongation. Concurrently, she earned her MPH in the Epidemiology concentration from the College of Public Health and Health Professions at UF in the fall of 2006. After this she worked as an Infection Control Practitioner at UF Health Shands Hospital. Dr. Prins joined the Epidemiology faculty first as an adjunct lecturer in 2009 and then full time as a clinical assistant professor in the fall of 2010. Dr. Prins’ research interests include the prevention of healthcare-associated infections, including those caused by multi-drug resistant organisms, and compliance with vaccine recommendations. Dr. Prins is Board Certified in Infection Control (CIC) and Public Health (CPH).

Education:
  • 2006
    MPH in Epidemiology
    University of Florida
  • 2000
    PhD in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology
    The Pennsylvania State University
  • 1993
    BS in Biology
    University of Central Florida
Zachary M Bielling

Zachary M Bielling MHA

Executive Director For Administrative Operations
Phone: (352) 273-6143
Mailing Address:
UF PHHP – Office of the Dean
1225 Center Dr
PO Box 100185
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Physical Address:
UF PHHP – Office of the Dean
HPNP Complex
1225 CENTER DR
GAINESVILLE FL 32610

Zachary (Zac) Bielling, MHA, is the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions’ Executive Director (Assistant Dean) for Administrative Operations. Mr. Bielling completed his Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) and Master of Health Administration (MHA) at the University of Florida and has professional leadership experience in public-higher education and private-hospital administration.

While completing his graduate training, Mr. Bielling, completed an Administrative Internship at Peace River Regional Medical Center (now Bayfront Health Port Charlotte) with Health Management Associates, Inc (now Community Health Systems). After this, he began working as the Assistant Administrator at Peace River Regional Medical Center. Following this appointment, Health Management Associates transferred and promoted Mr. Bielling to complete the acquisition, transitional leadership and management of Shands Lake Shore Regional Medical Center as the Associate Administrator (Chief Operating Officer). In both positions, Mr. Bielling was responsible for the operational and financial performance of multiple clinical and non-clinical ancillary departments, in addition to contract administration.

Following his tenure in acute-care hospital administration, Mr. Bielling began his career in public-higher education with the University of Florida in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering as an Associate Director of Administrative Services. Over his nearly nine-years of service to Engineering, he served four academic departments: Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Chemical Engineering and the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering. His service to each department required strong business acumen and leadership to oversee the daily and long-range administrative operations (assets, compliance, cost analysis, financial, human resources, and sponsored awards), in addition to, a variety other operational processes and projects.

In his role as Executive Director for the College, Mr. Bielling, serves as the Chief Financial, Operations and Systems Officer reporting directly to the Dean.

Education:
  • 2008
    Master of Health Administration
    University of Florida
  • 2006
    Bachelor of Health Science
    University of Florida