Environmental and Global Health

Dr. John Lednicky Participates in a Mitre Corporation Sponsored Workshop in Washington, D.C.

Dr. John Lednicky and four other world renowned virologists were invited to give "state-of-the-science" presentations at a workshop in Washington, D.C. that was hosted by the Mitre Corporation. The Mitre Corporation is an American not-for-profit organization that manages federally funded research and development centers supporting several U.S. government agencies. Titled “Trends in Virology Research,” the workshop was for an audience consisting of science leaders from numerous U.S. government agencies. The other speakers were Drs. Ian Lipkin, Jonathan Dinman, Erica Ollmann Saphire, and Nikos Vasilakis. The workshop was designed to inform decision makers about the state of contemporary virology and future directions in research. Lednicky stressed that new viruses such as MERS coronavirus continue to emerge, while known viruses spread and public health agencies are unable to adequately cope with these events. Surprisingly, the U.S. does not have a formal mechanism or funding for rapid response to virus outbreaks, and some countries such as China are now outspending the U.S. in virus-related research. Dr. Lednicky’s talk, “Detection and Isolation of Viruses from Medical Specimens and Aerosols,” was one of three talks that highlighted the need for virus surveillance and rapid response mechanisms for outbreak investigations and the development of technological advances of virus aerosol collection systems.

EGH Postdoc Awarded for Poster Presentation

Maha Elbadry, 2015 EGH PhD graduate and current postdoctoral researcher, recently received Best in Group for Poster Presentations at UF’s Postdoc Research Symposium. The symposium aims to promote the research of UF postdocs as well as provide avenues for professional development. Dr. Elbadry presented her work on submicroscopic malaria infections in pregnant women in Haiti.



Dr. Lusine Yaghjyan Uncovers Association Between Air Pollution and Breast Density

Assistant professor in Epidemiology Lusine Yaghjyan, MD, MPH, PhD, recently published in Breast Cancer Research. Her paper, entitled “Association between air pollution and mammographic breast density in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium,” examines the potential links between exposure to environmental air pollutants (fine particulate matter and ozone) and breast density. Higher-density breasts, which contain more connective and glandular tissue than lower-density breasts, are a well-established risk factor for breast cancer. The study found that women with higher exposure to environmental fine particulate matter are more likely to have dense breast tissue, while women with higher exposure to environmental ozone are less likely to have dense breast tissue. Dr. Yaghjyan’s work has been covered substantially in the press, with interviews and articles appearing on AOL, MSN, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, and many more. Congratulations to Dr. Yaghjyan on her research and the enthusiastic media reception it has received.

HealthStreet Undergradute Wins Top Prize at Santa Fe Research Festival

Janice Dalmond, an undergraduate at HealthStreet, presented a poster at the Santa Fe Research in Undergraduate Education (RUE) Research and Creative Scholarly Projects Festival on April 10. Janice is a student in the SF2UF program, the Baccalaureate program between Santa Fe College and the University of Florida that supports the education, research experience, and professional development of students from Santa Fe. Janice’s research interests are breast cancer survivors’ experiences with their disease and treatment, family history, and trust of researchers and research. Her poster, entitled “Future Breast Cancer Research and HealthStreet Initiatives” and co-authored by her mentor, Dr. Linda Cottler, took home the first place award in the Humanities and Social Sciences category of the Santa Fe RUE Festival. Congratulations to Janice from HealthStreet and the Department of Epidemiology!

Dr. Ron Shorr Receives NIH-NIA R56 Grant to Study Fall Prevention in Hospitals

Professor in Epidemiology Ron I. Shorr, MD, MS, recently received an R56 grant from the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). An R56 grant is a high-priority, short-term grant awarded to projects with exceptionally high impact ratings. Each year, roughly one million patient falls occur in U.S. hospitals resulting in over 250,000 injuries and 11,000 deaths. Dr. Shorr’s research will identify patient- and organization-level approaches to fall prevention employed in hospitals with the goal of ascertaining which traditional or innovative approaches are most effective in reducing falls. Dr. Shorr, who also recently published in JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports a paper entitled “Effectiveness of falls prevention interventions for older adults newly discharged from hospital: a systematic review protocol,” will be funded by this R56 through August 2017.


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

HSRMP PhD Student Wins Award at PHHP Research Day

Ivana Vaughn, a second year PhD student in Health Services Research received the Outstanding Research Award at the 2017 PHHP Research Day. Along with this award, Ivana received a travel award which she will use to help fund her travel to present research at the annual meeting of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics in July. Congratulations Ivana!


Occupational Therapy

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Contracts with the UF OT Department

Building on previous collaborations with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (2007; 2011), the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation will provide expert services to revise and compile Smart Features for Older Drivers version 3. This task will involve synthesizing the literature, as well as identifying/ including/ classifying/ and rating the importance, support, potential benefit, and usability of vehicle automation technologies for older drivers. Information will be widely disseminated through national professional and stakeholder networks (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, n.d.). Details about the project are:

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (Project Director: Dr. Sherrilene Classen)
Research Team: Dr. Sandra Winter, Dr. Linda Struckmeyer, Ms. Mary Jeghers, Dr. Luther King (absent from the picture)
Smart Features for Older Drivers Version 3
Goal: Update the Smart Features initiative to include classifying the benefits of in-vehicle and automated vehicle technologies for older drivers.

MOT Student Jennifer Lotz Awarded the Edith Weingarten Memorial Scholarship

Congratulations to Jennifer Lotz, master of occupational therapy student, who was awarded the Edith Weingarten Memorial Scholarship from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. While an undergraduate at UF, Ms. Lotz was an active volunteer with Haven Hospice and the Arts in Medicine Program. As a graduate student she has participated in research with Dr. Christine Myers, most recently presenting with Dr. Myers at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s annual conference in Philadelphia and authoring a research report currently under review. Ms. Lotz plans to work with veterans after graduation, focusing on mental health.



Physical Therapy

12th Annual Neuromuscular Plasticity Symposium

More than 150 attendees gathered for the 12th Annual Neuromuscular Plasticity Symposium plenary lectures by keynote speakers Joseph Jankovic, MD, Chet Moritz, PhD, and Craig M. McDonald, MD. A poster session at University House highlighted the research of 43 Health Science Center graduate and post-doctoral students. The program also welcomed two symposium scholars who were selected from a national pool of candidates: Lila Wollman from University of Arizona and Alec McKenzie from University of Utah.

Congratulations to the following graduate students, each of whom received a $500 travel award: (Mentors are in parentheses) Abhi Batra (Dr. Krista Vandenborne); Rachel Kelley (Dr. Leo Ferreira); Christopher Lacko (Dr. Christine Schmidt); Trevor Lentz (Dr. Steven George); Raele Robison (Dr. Emily Plowman)

Congratulations also to Dr. Arash Tadjalli (mentored by Dr. Gordon Mitchell) who won the Post-doctoral $250 travel award.

(left to right: Dr. Perri, poster winner Christopher Lacko, Program Director Dr. Krista Vandenborne, and Program Co-Director Dr. David Fuller)

NMPT T32 Trainees Present Data Blitz

The Neuromuscular Plasticity Training Program (NMPT) T32 Trainees - Aaron Morton, Latoya Allen, Christopher Lacko, Alison Barnard, Kelly Hawkins, Michael Sunshine, and Lauren Tabor - presented their research projects the evening prior to the 12th annual symposium at a pre-symposium reception and data blitz. Each student presented a six minute “data blitz” and fielded questions and feedback regarding their research project. The T32 Neuromuscular Plasticity Training Program (NMPT) is an interdisciplinary pre-doctoral training program directed by Krista Vandenborne, PT, PhD, and co-directors Barry Byrne, MD, PhD, and David Fuller, PhD. The program emphasizes the interaction and joint training of rehabilitation clinicians and basic scientists with a common interest in translational research in neuromuscular plasticity and selects trainees from a pool of outstanding students with diverse backgrounds.

(left to right, NMPT T32 trainees and mentor: Kelly Hawkins, Chris Lacko, Layota Allen, Dr. Andrew Judge, Aaron Morton, Alison Barnard, Lauren Tabor)

Judge Co-chairs the Advances in Skeletal Muscle Biology in Health and Disease Conference

Associate professor Andrew Judge served as co-chair for the Advances in Skeletal Muscle Biology in Health and Disease Conference which hosted 300 international adult muscle biology and physiology researchers.

The conference was supported by the Myology Institute and Wellstone Center, the colleges of Health and Human Performance, Medicine, and Public Health and Health Professions, the department of applied physiology and kinesiology, the department of physical therapy, and the UF Office of Research, Abbott, the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, Catabasis, Sarepta Therapeutics, Aurora Scientific, Summitt, Marathon Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, SomaLogic, and the FEBS Journal. The premier conference included a lecture by molecular biologist Kenneth Holmes, PhD, who directed the department of biophysics at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Germany for 35 years; grant writing workshops with Q & A sessions; and opportunities to network and exchange research ideas with other muscle experts from around the globe. Read more

(pictured: poster presenters and researchers at the Advances in Skeletal Muscle Biology in Health and Disease Conference)


Rehabilitation Science

Chatterjee Wins Aging Exposition Research Award

Rehabilitation Science PhD student Sudeshna Chatterjee placed first at the 2017 Robert A. Levitt Awards for Student Research on Aging, sponsored by the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Oak Hammock (ILR). Annually, UF students are invited to submit abstracts; a subset of abstracts are selected for poster presentations at Oak Hammock where faculty and ILR members select the top five posters. Winners are then invited to present orally at the annual exposition. Chatterjee presented “Quantifying the challenge of walking after stroke: insights from sympathetic nervous system activity during complex walking tasks.” This research, conducted under the mentorship of Dr. David Clark, used skin conductance and gait speed as measures of the level of challenge of different walking tasks with patients in post-stroke rehabilitation.

(pictured: Rehabilitation Science student, Sudeshna Chatterjee (far right), with judges and other Levitt Award finalists)

Butera Collaboration Wins CSM Section Award

Rehabilitation Science PhD student, Katie Butera, co-mentor Dr. Steven George, and UF Health clinician and first author, Kathryn Zeppieri, OT, collaborated on a platform presentation entitled, “Predictive Tools in Inpatient Disposition Outcomes: A Pilot Study for Hip and Knee Arthroplasty Patients,” for the 2017 Combined Sections Meeting (CSM)  of the American Physical Therapy Association. The project was selected as the Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy’s Outstanding Platform Presentation from the 2017 presented at Combined Sections Meeting (CSM)  of the American Physical Therapy Association.

The presentation was judged in a number of areas, including the significance of the problem, scientific design and methodology, clinical implications of the work, and presentation style. Katie completed the data analysis for the design and served as second author. Reviewers encouraged the authors to consider submitting this and future work for review as potential publication in the academy or association research journals.

PHHP Research Day a Success for RSD Students

On Wednesday, April 12, more than half of the students enrolled in the Rehabilitation Science program presented at the 30th Annual PHHP Research Day. Dr. Michael Perri, Dean of the College of Public Health and Health Professions explains Research Day “is a time that allows our students and faculty to share findings from their research and allows us to celebrate milestones on the road to discovery.” Discovering effective ways to improve the health of individuals and communities is a core tenant to both the College and Rehabilitation Science PhD program. In total, 21 students from across the Rehabilitation Science program showcased their work.

(pictured: Rehabilitation Science student, Tommy Sutor, presents his work to fellow students, Ela Sajjadi and Kavya Kamalamma)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Kelli Selwyn Wins First Place at 1st Annual Diversity Research Symposium Poster Presentation

Second year MPH candidate in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Program, Kelli Selwyn, won 1st place in the Social Sciences Poster Division at the 1st Annual Diversity Graduate Research Symposium on March 22 at the J. Wayne Reitz Student Union. Her poster, entitled "LGBT-Inclusive Obstetrics and Nursing Support (L.I.O.N.S.): Culturally-Competent Training for Healthcare Providers", previewed her ongoing work with Suwannee River AHEC, University of Florida, and the George Washington University. Her project, which is an educational program for healthcare professionals and students took place in a live webinar on April 14, 2017. The program focuses on cultural-competency, LGBT healthcare (with a special focus on transgender health), and cultivating inclusive healthcare practices. It is her hope that this program will encourage experienced and future healthcare professionals to learn more about LGBT health and offer their services to these communities, which often face discrimination. For more information about the webinar, you can contact Kelli at: kselwyn@ufl.edu.

(Kelli Selwyn is third from left in the photo)

Shantrel Canidate Inducted into Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

Shantrel Canidate, doctoral candidate in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Program, has been selected to be inducted into the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. The Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy.

Karishma Chhabria Presents Research on Impact of Fear on Treatment Outcomes in Head and Neck Cancer Patients

Karishma Chhabria, PhD candidate in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Program, recently presented her pilot study at Graduate Student Research Day, PHHP Research Day and Social and Behavioral Sciences Seminar Series. Her work titled “Does Fear Impact Treatment Outcomes in Head and Neck Cancer Patients” presents an overview of the effect of fear of treatment related side effects on newly diagnosed head and neck cancer patients. This study is the first of its kind laying the groundwork to explore further psychological and psychosocial constructs related to fear and treatment outcomes in these patients. Karishma has also received a Travel Grant Award from the Graduate Student Council at UF. She is presenting her work at the American Head and Neck Cancer Society in San Diego.

Doctoral Researchers Tackle Child Suicide

Jarrett N. Brunny (PHHP, SBS), Stephanie A. Lee (PHHP, SBS), and Chu Hsiao (Medicine; Liberal Arts & Sciences) presented their work at the UF Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP) 2017 Research Day. The project is titled "Child Suicide Prevention Policy in Florida: Strategies for Evaluation." ICHP is a multidisciplinary institute based out of the College of Medicine that conducts rigorous and innovative scientific research to inform policy and protect the health of children and youth. "Child Suicide is endemic to Florida and is at a 20 year high," said Jarrett Brunny, first author of the study. "By providing strategies for evaluation that keep us accountable to best practices in measurement and program development, we can fulfill the core principle of assurance in public health that informs adaptive, meaningful prevention policies at the state level." Their study was presented among the work of investigators in the ICHP at an event that was open to all faculty, medical residents, and graduate students across UF's campus.


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Raele Robinson, PhD Student, Wins Two Poster Awards in March

Raele Robinson, a PhD student in the Swallowing Systems Core lab, presented at the T32 Neuroplasticity Symposium held on March 17 and her poster entitled, "Respiratory Strength Exercise Program Improves Pulmonary, Cough & Lingual Physiologic Function in an Individual with C9orf72 ALS" was selected as one of five outstanding graduate student posters. A $400 travel award accompanied this recognition.

On March 22, Raele presented another poster "Relationship Between Self-Rated Communication Effectiveness and Disease Severity in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis" at the First Annual Graduate Diversity Symposium and placed first in the Biological Sciences division at this event.

Alayna Ernster Recognized as the 2017 PHHP Undergraduate Dean’s Scholar

Alayna recently completed her senior honors thesis, “Test of Cross-Systems Transfer Between Corticobulbar and Corticospinal Pathways During Goal-Directed Tasks of the Tongue and Ankle.” Recognized as the 2017 PHHP Undergraduate Dean’s Scholar, Alayna is a senior graduating with her Bachelor of Health Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Post-graduation, Alayna will begin pursuing her PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Florida. As part of her graduate school acceptance, Alayna was awarded the Dean’s Office Scholarship Award, which will fully fund her for four years. Alayna is studying with Dr. Ianessa Humbert from the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and Dr. Evangelos Christou from the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. 

Inter-professional Education

SLP and AuD students teamed up this semester to increase understanding in the importance of working as a part of a clinical team to provide the highest quality patient care. This semester the 1st year Masters in Speech Pathology students and the 2nd and 3rd year Doctor of Audiology students collaborated on a project aimed to produce clinical resource guides for varying patient populations receiving cochlear implants. The final projects, created by the AuD students, were presented in roundtable discussions during their final class meeting.



Biostatistics Workshop

The Department of Biostatistics hosted a successful workshop titled, Statistical Inference for Biomedical Big Data on April 7 and 8, here at the University of Florida. The workshop brought together prominent statisticians to discuss and foster the cutting edge developments of statistical theory, methods, and tools for biomedical big data analysis. The workshop provided the opportunity for faculty and graduate students to interact with the top researchers and identify important directions for future research.

In addition to the three keynote and 23 invited speaker presentations, students and postdoc submitters had the opportunity to compete for four travel awards and three paper awards. There was also the opportunity for students to display a poster during the poster session. View photos


Clinical and  Health Psychology

Perlstein Lab Receives New Pilot Grant

Congratulations to CHP faculty member William M Perlstein, PhD, who is an award recipient in the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center’s (BRRC) of Excellence (North Florida/Southern Georgia Veterans Health System (Malcom Randall VAHS) 2017 Innovative Pilot Competition. The study is entitled Assessment of Stability of Behavioral and Neural Measures of Attention Networks across Multiple Sessions. This research will determine the stability and reliability over time of behavioral and neural measures of three attention networks probed by a single computerized task in healthy young adults. This is an essential step toward determining the utility of these measures as future rehabilitation outcomes.

CHP Students are Winners of Levitt/ILR Awards

PHHP students took the top three prizes in the Robert A. Levitt Awards for Student Research on Aging. First prize ($1,000) went to Sudeshna Chatterjee (mentor, David J. Clark), a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science, who presented her work on using skin conductance and gait speed as measures of the level of challenge of different walking tasks. Two Clinical and Health Psychology students tied for second place ($700 each). Lindsay Rotblatt’s (mentor, Michael Marsiske) talk was entitled “The link between high blood pressure and cognitive impairment.” Talia Seider’s (mentor, Ronald Cohen) talk was entitled “Activity levels link to preserved brain volume in older adults."

(pictured left: Talia Seider, right: Lindsay Rotblatt)

Stromberg Wins Division 38 Award

CHP doctoral student Sarah Stromberg (mentor: David Janicke) has won the Society for Health Psychology, American Psychological Association Division 38, Graduate Student Research Award. Her project was entitled “The Impact of Pre-Surgical Dietary and Psychosocial Factors on Post-Surgical Diet in a Population of Bariatric Surgery Patients.” This winning dissertation project is a longitudinal study that examines predictors of dietary outcomes in adults undergoing bariatric surgery. Each year the Society for Health Psychology sponsors five graduate student awards to support new research. Each award is for $1500.


Dean's Office

PHHP Announces First Staff Council

On Tuesday, April 4 the PHHP Staff Council met for the first time to hear from Dr. Perri about the goals and purpose of the council. This meeting also served as an opportunity to elect leadership and understand the background and history of the council’s development. PHHP is excited to have the newest committee together and ready for action!

Back row, left to right: Assistant Chair Mauren Piucco (EGH), Chair Lyndle Toth (HSRMP), Matt Pickett (DO), Amy Ladendorf (PT), Doug Martin (CHP)

Front row, left to right: Kristen Cason (Biostatistics), Amanda Starling (OT), Secretary Truly Hardemon (DO), Meghan Jacobsen (SLHS)

Not pictured: Erica Boyd (Epidemiology)

Career Resource Center Embedded Liaison

Faculty and staff have been involved with the CRC by creating virtual mock interviews located in Gator CareerLink. Mock interviews are a tool that can be used to help students practice for entrance to graduate school, internships, and full time employment. Sara Gould will work with you to develop the questions and then the recording and uploading process is done on her end – to be used for assignments or professional development experience. Occupational Therapy, Health Administration, and Speech-Language Pathology have been created so far. If interested in a virtual mock interview for your class/industry, requests can be submitted directly via email at SaraGo@crc.ufl.edu.

With summer and upcoming class planning approaching, if interested in a presentation for your class or student organization covering topics including but not limited to interviewing strategies/professionalism, creating resumes/CVs/personal statements, job/internship search strategies, and negotiating a job offer, requests can be submitted directly via email at SaraGo@crc.ufl.edu.