Occupational Therapy

The Department of Occupational Therapy Hosts the Inaugural Sandra Edwards Colloquium on February 18th

The Department of Occupational Therapy will host the inaugural Sandra Edwards Colloquium on February 18th. The keynote speaker, Elizabeth R. Skidmore, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Professor and Chair of the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Occupational Therapy. Her federally funded research addresses associations among cognitive impairments, mood symptoms, and activities of daily living in persons with brain injury and neurocognitive decline; and interventions designed to promote independence and community integration among adults with cognitive impairments.

Dr. Skidmore is the recipient of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Deborah Wilkerson Research Career Award. She was the first occupational therapist to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on early career scientists.

This annual series will be funded by an endowment from Sandra Edwards and her husband, Al Garcia. Sandra Edwards is a graduate of the UF occupational therapy program.

Occupational Therapy Researchers Involved in the Driving Simulator Lab Upgrade at UF’s Smart House

In Fall 2016, the team from UF’s Institute for Mobility, Activity, and Participation excitedly accepted delivery of a new Realtime Technologies Inc. (RTI) driving simulation system at UF’s Smart House. “The system features up-to-date technology to study human-vehicle interactions”, said Jason Rogers, coordinator of computer applications in the Department of Occupational Therapy (OT). Dr. Sandra Winter comments that driving simulation opens up opportunities to evaluate the driving of persons with medical conditions in a safe environment, and affords opportunities for training, intervention, and collaboration. Dr. Sherrilene Classen, Professor and Chair of the OT Department stated, “With the emerging driverless vehicle and advances in smart technology many questions still need to be answered. Specifically we are interested in knowing how this new technology can enhance (or not) the driving performance of the medically-at-risk, teen, or older driver.”

Driving Simulation Book Edited by Dr. Sherrilene Classen is Scheduled for Release in Summer of 2017

Dr. Sherrilene Classen, Professor and Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, is recognized internationally for her research in driver screening, assessment or intervention with behaviorally or medically-at-risk drivers. She is the editor of an in-press simulator book, entitled “Driving Simulation for Assessment, Intervention, and Training: A Guide for Occupational Therapy and Health Care Professionals.” This book will be released in the Summer of 2017 through AOTA Press.


Physical Therapy

Patten and Jayaraman Tour New Shirley Ryan Ability Lab at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

UF Physical Therapy Department Professor Carolynn Patten, PT, PhD, FAPTA, and Arun Jayaraman, PT, PhD, a Rehabilitation Science and Physical Therapy department alumnus who is currently serving as the Director of The Max Näder Lab for Rehabilitation Technologies and Outcomes Research Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Associate Professor at Northwestern University, recently toured the new Shirley Ryan Ability Lab at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). In addition to viewing the new rehabilitation hospital, which will integrate research labs into clinical care areas, and which is slated to open this spring, Dr. Patten presented a talk at the RIC Research Seminar series entitled, “Upper-extremity Rehabilitation Post-stroke: are we asking the right questions?”


Rehabilitation Science

Video Highlights RSD Program Opportunities and Strengths

The PhD in Rehabilitation Science (RSD) program jump starts the new year with its new video which highlights its many program opportunities and strengths. The program welcomes two new graduate faculty, Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, Professor and Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, and Todd Manini, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research. Shabnam Medhizada, MS, who has a bachelor of science in psychology from York University in Toronto, ON and a master of science in health and rehabilitation sciences from the University of Western Ontario, is the newest student of the program and is mentored by Dr. Classen. 

The Center for Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation Hosts Annual Retreat

The Center for Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation hosted its annual retreat on Friday, January 6 at the Harn Museum of Art. The event featured keynote speaker Dr. William Milsom, Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, as well as poster presentations and talks from faculty, students, and fellows. The center is led by rehabilitation science and physical therapy department faculty members Dr. Gordon Mitchell (Center Director) and Dr. David Fuller (Associate Center Director) and brings together UF scientists and clinicians studying neuromuscular control and rehabilitation of breathing and airway function.


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

SLHS and UF Hearing Center Host 11th Annual Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference

On January 6 and 7, the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and the Hearing Research Center hosted the 11th annual meeting of the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Society (ACNS). The conference included top scientists from Europe, Canada, and all around the United States presenting work on the neural encoding and processing of complex sounds such as music, speech, and alarm calls. The presentations were open to the public and were attended by students and faculty from a variety of University of Florida departments. Among the presenters were SLHS faculty members Susan Nittrouer, Andrew Lotto, and Kathy “Nico” Carbonell. ACNS was founded in 2007 by Andrew Lotto, the current head of the UF Hearing Research Center, to bring together researchers from linguistics, cognitive science, computer science, neuroscience, speech pathology and audiology to discuss solutions to some of the biggest challenges in speech and hearing sciences. 

SLHS Faculty Featured on National Parkinson’s Foundation Website

Faculty members Ianessa Humbert (left), Emily Plowman (center), and Karen Hegland (right) were recently featured on the ‘Expert Care’ portion of the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) website for their podcast on Swallowing Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease. The three SLHS faculty members were invited by the NPF to share their expertise in the identification and management of both speech and swallowing disorders across all stages of Parkinson’s Disease. The podcast series entitled “Down the Hatch” was created by Dr. Humbert and features "unscripted discussion" on topics related to swallowing by national and international experts in the field.



Dr. Somnath Datta Elected President of IISA for 2018

In November of 2016, Dr. Somnath Datta was elected as President of the International Indian Statistical Association (IISA) for 2018. The IISA is a non-profit organization with the key objective of promoting education, research, and application of statistical and probability throughout the world with special emphasis on the Indian subcontinent. Dr. Datta has been involved with the organization for many years. As Dr. Datta prepares to join the leadership team, he will serve on the Executive Committee in 2017 as the president-elect. He will also serve the year after as the past-president.

UF Plays Key Role in Trial for Successful Ebola Vaccine

An international group of researchers associated with the World Health Organization has published its final report on the Ebola vaccine trial in Guinea, finding that the vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent Ebola infection.

Researchers at the University of Florida have played an integral role in the vaccine trial’s execution, finding that it is 100 percent effective at preventing Ebola when given 10 or more days prior to exposure to the deadly virus. The study findings were published on December 22, 2016 in The Lancet.

“The goal was to estimate the vaccine efficacy from a phase III randomized vaccine trial,” said Dr. Ira Longini, a professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine, and the director of the UF Center for Statistics and Quantitative Infectious Diseases. Read more


Clinical and Health Psychology

Dr. Smith’s Clinical Work Featured in UF Health Managed Care Newsletter

Clinical and Health Psychology faculty member, Stephanie Smith, PhD, (far left) is a vital member of the UF Transitions of Care Clinic, which strives to reduce the 30-day hospital readmission rate at UF Health Shands Hospital. The UF Health Managed Care newsletter recently put a spotlight on the work of this clinic team. We congratulate Dr. Stephanie Smith and her colleagues on their outstanding clinical efforts! Read more

Dr. Lang Celebrates 35 Years of Service to UF

Peter Lang, PhD, came to the University of Florida in 1981 as a Graduate Research Professor in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology. Over the past 35 years he has made countless contributions to the study of emotion, anxiety and phobia, psychophysiology, brain imaging, and cognitive neuroscience through his research and teaching. He serves as the Director of the NIMH Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention (CSEA) and oversees the UF Fear and Anxiety Disorders Clinic.

Dr. Lang was recently honored by the College of Public Health and Health Professions for his continued commitment to the department, college, and university at the PHHP Annual Staff and Faculty Appreciation Dinner in December 2016. Thank you Dr. Lang for your continued service and contributions to the department, students, and the field of psychology!


Dean's Office

Introducing Sara Gould, UF Career Resource Center Liaison for PHHP

Sara Gould serves as the embedded liaison for PHHP, providing customized career development opportunities and industry connections for students through collaboration with employers, faculty, and staff. She meets one on one with students during career planning appointments, provides customized educational workshops to classrooms and student organizations, and connects students to employers seeking their talent.

If interested in a presentation for your class or student organization covering topics including but not limited to interviewing strategies/professionalism, creating effective resumes/CVs/personal statements/LinkedIn accounts, job/internship search strategies, and negotiating a job offer, please send requests to Ms. Gould via email to SaraGo@crc.ufl.edu.

Upcoming Event:
Discovering Your Career in Healthcare: Mini Conference
February 27, 2017
1 pm – 6 pm
Reitz Union Grand Ballroom

This conference will provide a greater understanding of the diverse opportunities in the health field through interactive workshop sessions and conference-style presentations. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend to represent their department.


Environmental and Global Health

Dr. Sabo-Attwood Appointed to Advisory Board of Nanotechnology Journal

Dr. Sabo-Attwood has been recently appointed to the Advisory Board for the journal Environmental Science: Nano. The first issue was published in February 2014 and was developed to “serve as a comprehensive source of information on nanomaterial interactions with biological and environmental systems, and the design and use of engineered nanomaterials for sustainability.” Nanomaterials, small particles in the nanometer size range, equivalent to viruses, are being synthesized for numerous industrial and commercial product use such as cosmetics and sunscreens, electronics, and fuel cells. As most nanomaterials are currently unregulated by governmental agencies, research to discern their potential for unintended exposure and health effects is warranted. Several types of nanomaterials are likely to benefit society but the goal is for this to occur with minimal health risks. The journal disseminates high quality research and commentaries that inform on the implications of nanotechnology as it relates to human health and the environment. Read more

Successful Service Initiatives from the EGH Student Council

The EGH student council closed out its first year in 2016 with an organized event to create holiday cards for the residents of a local nursing home and started 2017 by volunteering at the Martin Luther King Day of service and cleaning at the Natural Area Teaching Lab (NATL) on campus. The event brought together students from across campus and their friends and family. The event was led in collaboration with several graduate students from NATL who coordinate volunteer cleanup efforts. The EGH student council plans on engaging with NATL on a semester basis to help keep our environment clean!  



Dr. Tracey Barnett Among Reviewers for Surgeon General Report

Dr. Tracey Barnett was among the reviewers for the E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. The report states that the use of electronic cigarettes is increasing quickly among American youth and contain harmful ingredients that are dangerous. The findings of the report reinforce the importance of supporting programs to prevent youth from using any form of tobacco. Read more

Dr. Tracey Barnett has also taken a position as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health in downtown Dallas. She will begin in Texas at the end of January. We are excited for her new opportunity but she will be greatly missed!

Dr. David Cheng Joins Epidemiology Faculty

Dr. David Cheng joined the Department of Epidemiology as an assistant professor on November 15. Dr. Cheng is a cancer and nutritional epidemiologist. He received his PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Washington and trained at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Before moving to UF, he spent 3 years in Roswell Park Cancer Institute as faculty. His major research area is using molecular epidemiological approaches to study genetic and non-genetic risk factors for solid tumors, mainly breast and lung cancers, in the human population. His work has two main elements: 1) studying the role of genetic susceptibility, environmental exposure, and their interactions; and 2) investigating molecular markers in cancer subtypes to elucidate cancer etiologies. Current efforts emphasize molecular pathological markers that not only classify cancer subtypes but also elucidate carcinogenic mechanisms and etiology. He is currently funded by a NIH/NCI K07 Career Development Award (2016-2021) focusing on the mTOR pathway in relation to obesity and breast cancer subtypes by race. He also teams up with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers to investigate human exposure of novel growth hormone through dietary intake. We are eager to have Dr. Cheng as part of our department.

New Year News for Dr. Robert Cook

Dr. Robert Cook, Director of the Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC), recently received word from the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President that his proposed SHARC Center for Translational HIV Research at UF has been approved. The overall mission of the SHARC is to improve health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission among the diverse range of populations affected by alcohol and HIV infection in the Southeastern United States. This new center holds great promise for new and enhanced collaborations to translate HIV research to benefit the community.

In related news, Dr. Cook was named Chair of the Florida Consortium for HIV/AIDS Research (FCHAR) after Jeffrey Beal, MD, stepped down. FCHAR’s focus is on promoting and arranging inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration on HIV Research. As Chairperson, Dr. Cook will have a consultant role in providing input and oversight for the committees. He will also participate as research investigator in selected studies and will approve FCHAR communications, announcements, and press releases. Congratulations!


Health Services Research, Management and Policy


Class of 2017 Accepting Prestigious Fellowship Opportunities

The Master of Health Administration Class of 2017 has already begun preparing for their careers. Ten students have accepted prestigious fellowships at locations such as the Mayo Clinic, Emory University, Carolina Health System and our very own, UF Health! Congratulations to these students!







Drs. Marlow, Beau de Rochars, and Mainous Publish Paper on Hearing Loss in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research

The paper, “Hearing Impairment and Undiagnosed Disease: The Potential Role of Clinical Recommendations,” was published on January 1, 2017. The study looks at the relationship between self-reported hearing impairment and undetected disease such as diabetes and hypertension. Read more