Faculty Member Elected to Academic Policy Council

Dr. Cindy Prins has been elected to serve on the Academic Policy Council, one of UF’s Faculty Senate Councils, from 2016-2019. The council will meet monthly during the fall and spring. This council’s area encompasses educational policy, curriculum, academic standing, relationship of academic units to each other, general policies on student instruction, and academic merits of candidates for academic administrative positions. The department is proud that Dr. Prins will have the opportunity to play a part in the development of academic policy for the university.

Dr. Yan Wang Wins Early Stage Investigator Honor

Dr. Yan Wang, a postdoctoral researcher, has won the Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Honor. Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (NIH/OBSSR), the Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Honors program recognizes peer-reviewed articles with demonstrated behavioral and social scientific excellence in areas within NIH’s mission.

This honor recognizes Dr. Wang’s article, “Stress and alcohol use in rural Chinese residents: A moderated mediation model examining the roles of resilience and negative emotions,” which appeared in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and is co-authored with her mentor, Dr. Xinguang Chen. The research was part of an NIH-funded project (R01 MH086322) to assess social capital and health risk behaviors using a large random sample of Chinese residents in Wuhan, China. As an underserved population, residents in rural China are facing increased stress as a result of dramatic social and economic changes. Dr. Wang’s research found a high prevalence of alcohol dependence among this population, and uncovered the underlying mechanism from stress to alcohol dependence through the mediation of negative emotions, such as anxiety and depression.


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

Jon Mills Successfully Defends His Dissertation

Jon Mills, Ph.D. candidate in Health Services Research, successfully defended his dissertation titled, “Comparative Effectiveness of Dual-Action versus Single-Action Antidepressants for Treatment of People Diagnosed with Co-Occurring HIV/AIDS and a Major Depression: A Growing Syndemic,” on June 2, 2016. Congratulations Jon!


Occupational Therapy

Classen Appointed Chair of Occupational Therapy

Sherrilene Classen, Ph.D., M.P.H., an internationally recognized scientist in driving rehabilitation, has been named chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, effective January 2, 2017. She is currently a professor and director of the School of Occupational Therapy at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. Her new appointment brings her back to UF, where she served as a member of the OT faculty from 2004 to 2013.

“Not only is Dr. Classen an excellent scientist who is renowned for her work on driving safety, she is a visionary leader who has great plans for the Department of Occupational Therapy,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “We look forward to the growth and developments in occupational therapy education and research that will happen under her leadership, as well as new opportunities for integration with UF Health’s patient services.” Read more

Shechtman Named PHHP Teacher of the Year

Orit Shechtman, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, was recognized as the Teacher of the Year at the college’s convocation ceremony April 30. She teaches courses in the occupational therapy and rehabilitation science graduate programs as well as classes in anatomy, neuroscience and pathophysiology for the college’s undergraduate health science program.

“As you might imagine these courses are demanding, but students love her classes,” said Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean of the college. “In fact, the entire first year class of occupational therapy students and many senior pre-OT students nominated her for this award.”


Physical Therapy

Faculty Honors

Four UF PT faculty were honored at the American Physical Therapy Association NEXT conference held in Nashville June 8 - 11.

Dr. Barbara K. Smith (top, left) received The Margaret L. Moore Award for Outstanding New Academic Faculty Member, which is given to faculty who have demonstrated distinct expertise in at least one subject area to which research and teaching efforts have been directed.

Dr. William F. McGehee (top, right) received  The Lucy Blair Service Award which honors a physical therapist who has provided exceptional service to the American Physical Therapy Association.

Dr. Steven George (bottom, left) received The Jules M. Rothstein Golden Pen Award for Scientific Writing, an award which recognizes demonstrated superior writing skills and a continuing record of scholarly contributions and collaborations to the benefit of Physical Therapy (PTJ). George was also selected to present the John H. P. Maley Lecture Award, which is given to a PT who has made distinguished contributions to the profession in any area of clinical practice. 

Dr. Carolynn Patten (bottom, right) received The Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association, which is the highest honor among APTA's membership.

Alumni and DPT Student Honors

DPT Class of 2014 alumna Alexandra Hill has been elected to the Board of Directors for the APTA Section on Women's Health. She will serve as the Director of Financial Development and is currently working at Duke Health in women's health and oncology rehabilitation.

Two Doctorate of Physical Therapy students have been named as scholarship recipients.  Alaine  Blessman has been named as the recipient of the Elks scholarship. Also, the Ahrano family has awarded Winston Liu a $2,000 scholarship which will be applied towards his fall 2016 tuition.

 K-12 Meeting

Numerous PT faculty attended the K12 Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program annual meeting, which was held in Los Angeles.  The annual meeting brings together scholars, mentors, and program directors from all three institutions which house the K-12 program: UCLA, UTMB, and UF.  The meeting also included special guests and advisory board and steering committee members from a variety of institutions and backgrounds. Department Chair Krista Vandenborne is the co-deputy director of this K12  grant program, which provides rehabilitation scientists who are physical and occupational therapists the skills necessary to become independent investigators and future leaders and mentors in rehabilitation. Read more 


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Piervil Selected to Receive the UF Health Shands Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship for 2016-2017

Esther Piervil, a second year doctoral student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences program, has been selected to receive the UF Health Shands Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship for 2016-2017 in recognition of her strong commitment to the ideals and endeavors of the health professions. Her research interests focus on improving health outcomes related to chronic disease in under-served and under-represented minority populations. Specifically, Piervil is interested in identifying and addressing the factors that influence health decisions and disease management among under-served racial and ethnic minorities.


Environmental and Global Health

NSF EAGER Funded Project to Study Toxicity of Emerging Materials

Dr. Sabo-Attwood, chair of the Department of Environmental and Global Health, and colleague Dr. Navid Saleh at the University of Texas, Austin have received an NSF Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER). This funding mechanism supports high-risk exploratory work with transformative potential. The team will investigate the potential toxicity associated with new materials that will likely make their way into our water systems. These materials are newer versions of nanomaterials, entities that are < 100 nm and are being widely utilized in consumer and industrial products, yet are currently unregulated. The nanoparticles they are interested in are termed ‘hybrids’ which are created by linking several single nanomaterials together. With this funding, they will be able to test the biological response of small fish to these hybrid materials in efforts to determine if they have the potential to cause adverse health impacts.

High Profile Article by Dr. John Lednicky and Colleagues Identify Zika in Hatians Prior to the WHO Declared Outbreak

An article titled “Zika Virus Outbreak in Haiti in 2014: Molecular and Clinical Data”, authored by Dr. John Lednicky and a multidisciplinary team comprised of researchers from the College of Public Health and Health Professions (Dept. of Environmental and Global Health and Dept. of Health Services Research, Management and Policy), Haiti (Christianville Foundation School Clinic), Italy (Dept. of Infectious Parasitic and Immunomediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome), the College of Medicine (Dept. of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Science, and Dept. of Medicine), and the Emerging Pathogens Institute, was chosen by the Public Library of Science (PLOS) journal as an Editors’ Pick in Microbiology, category Clinical Science and Epidemiology. The article details the discovery of Zika virus in plasma that had been collected in December of 2014 from three Haitians, approximately one year before the World Health Organization declared an outbreak of Zika disease in Haiti. Read more