Social and Behavioral Sciences

Shantrel S. Canidate Graduates with PhD in SBS and Publishes HIV Avatar Manuscript

Shantrel S. Canidate is a summer 2017 graduate with a PhD in Public Health concentrating in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her dissertation research aimed to evaluate the complex social phenomenon of hazardous drinking among women with HIV infection by investigating biopsychosocial factors associated with reducing hazardous drinking. She is seeking a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship. Shantrel’s long-term goal is to implement culturally relevant and acceptable alcohol interventions in prevention and care at the individual and provider levels to reduce the burden of substance use and HIV infection in men who have sex with men (MSM). 

Dr. Shantrel Canidate, along with Dr. Mark Hart, recently had an article, “Examining Patterns in Choice of Avatar and Demographic Characteristics of Health Information Seekers Using the Internet to Access HIV/AIDS Information,” published in the Journal of Medical and Internet Research. The article identified patterns in choice of avatar among health information seekers (patients or public health worker) using the Internet to obtain HIV/AIDS information, and described the demographic characteristics (age, gender, and ethnicity) of health information seekers in order to determine if they prefer an avatar that is similar to their own gender and ethnicity.

(left to right: Dr. Giselle Carnaby, Dissertation Chair/Advisor; Dr. Shantrel Canidate; Dr. Robert Cook, Dissertation Committee Member and Primary Mentor)

MPH Graduate Kelli Selwyn Wins Awards for LGBT Health Research

Summer 2017 MPH graduate, Kelli Selwyn, recently had the opportunity to present at the International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations at the University of Toronto. She received the International Emerging Scholar Award for her research, as well as funding from the University of Florida’s Graduate Student Council. Her presentation was on healthcare provider behaviors and inclusive practices to promote higher quality healthcare for LGBT patients and clients.

Additionally, Selwyn has recently been granted the Student Assembly Scholarship and the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Early Career Professionals Scholarship from the American Public Health Association to attend the APHA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. She will be presenting on the results of her LGBT-Inclusive Obstetrics and Nursing Support (L.I.O.N.S.) Project.

Johanzynn Gatewood Receives CDC ORISE Health Communication Fellowship

Johanzynn Gatewood, a recent Social and Behavioral Sciences MPH graduate, will be an ORISE Health Communication Fellow in the Travelers’ Health Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention starting in September 2017. The CDC Travelers’ Health Branch in Atlanta works to keep US travelers safe and healthy while traveling and living overseas and to prevent the importation of disease into the United States. Johanzynn will be supporting the Communication and Education Team in content development of the branch’s web resources, media and social media outreach, evaluation of communication efforts and platforms, and supporting the Travelers’ Health emergency response campaign efforts. This is a training fellowship that will provide an opportunity to learn the application of communication and public health principles to the development, implementation, and evaluation of critical public health programs at the CDC.


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

SLHS Welcomes Students to the Bachelor of Health Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders Program Orientation

The undergraduate BHS-CMS orientation took place on August 18, 2017. Sixty-seven juniors participated in the first gathering of the fall semester. The event was kicked off by Dr. Susan Nittrouer, the chair of the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Taylor Price, the academic advisor for the upper division students, and Dr. Laurie Gauger, the undergraduate program director, presented information regarding the program’s policies and procedures. The Senior Honors Thesis program, which has recently been revised, was also discussed. Students had the chance to mingle with fellow students of the program, as well as representatives from the UF chapter of the National Student, Speech, Language and Hearing Association.

Welcome to the UF AuD Class of 2021

The Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences welcomes the AuD Class of 2021 at the orientation on August 17, 2017. They met with current faculty and representatives from the UF Student Academy of Audiology. The Class of 2021 is an impressive group; students come from a range of undergraduate institutions, with strong academic records, and an impressive array of volunteer and work experiences. As future doctors of audiology, the new cohort is eager to begin their academic coursework and clinical experiences in their chosen field.

The Class of 2017 Takes Flight

The Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders (MA-CSD) degree program held its annual New Student Orientation on Thursday, August 18, 2017. The five-semester-long graduate program prepares students for professional practice in the field of speech-language pathology. During the full-day orientation, students learned about the program’s academic and clinical education components, various policies and resources, as well as steps that are necessary to attain clinical certification and state licensure. The MA program’s Fall 2017 cohort has 29 students, and is comprised of graduates from the College of Public Health and Health Profession’s Bachelor of Health Science program as well as bachelor degree programs from several other in-state and out-of-state universities. The students’ program commences on August 21 with an intensive, one-week “boot camp” that is designed to prepare them for clinical practice during the upcoming semester.

(pictured: students launch paper airplanes as part of an introductory “ice-breaking” activity during the Fall 2017 New Student Orientation)



Online Master of Science in Biostatistics

The Department of Biostatistics is excited to kick off the new Online Master of Science in Biostatistics program which began Fall term. This online program is the first of its kind in the nation. The inaugural class consists of 33, both domestic and international, students. The program is designed to facilitate the development of a strong theoretical foundation in biostatistics, a broad-based understanding of biostatistical methods, and advanced skills in data analysis. The goal is to provide high-quality teaching and helpful resources to ensure the online experience is a positive one. The department is committed to providing top-notch education and research contributions to biostatistics.


Congratulations to Summer 2017 Graduates

The Department of Biostatistics welcomes seven more graduates to its alumni circle. Jing Liu, Yushuf Sharker, Sinjini Sikdar, and Suwa Xu graduated with their PhD in Biostatistics on August 4. Kuei-Hsun Chiu, Yiqing Chen, and Chuan Zou graduated with their Master of Science in Biostatistics on August 5. Both the PhD and the MS degrees take years of dedication and work from the students and their mentors. The department is proud of these students for their achievements.


Clinical and Health Psychology

CHP Faculty Member Educates the Public About Concussion

Dr. Russell M. Bauer, along with colleague Michael Jaffee, MD, recently contributed an article to foster public education about concussion, brain injury, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The article is meant to give perspective to the problem and clarify the risks. According to the study, “Regarding sports concussion, there are many gaps in our knowledge and many associated issues to consider as we develop ways to keep the athletes, both young and old, safe.” Read more

CHP Trainees Receive APA Student Awards

CHP doctoral student Elise Turner and predoctoral intern Tarrah Mitchell each won a Society of Pediatric Psychology, American Psychological Association Division 54, student poster award. Turner’s poster was entitled “Eating Behaviors in Pediatric Food Allergy” and Mitchell’s was entitled “Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Patterns in Elementary School-Aged Youth.” Turner also received two travel awards to attend APA. One was the American Psychological Foundation’s Ungerleider/Zambardo travel scholarship and the other was an APA student travel award.


Environmental and Global Health

Team Reports Case of Locally Acquired Dengue Fever

Dr. Sarah White, a post-doctoral associate working with Dr. John Lednicky in the Department of Environmental and Global Health, and co- investigators Drs. Iovine and Nickels (UF Health/Shands Hospital) and Dr. Glenn Morris (Emerging Pathogens Institute) have revealed the first known laboratory-confirmed case of locally acquired dengue fever in Gainesville, Florida, which occurred in 2016. Genetic sequence analyses performed in the Lednicky laboratory identified the causative agent as Dengue serotype 2 virus. The case likely represents a rare event, as there has not been a dengue outbreak in Gainesville. Nevertheless, this report highlights the importance of virus surveillance efforts performed at UF.  Read more

Multidisciplinary and Inter-institutional Team Wins RO1 Award

Drs. John Lednicky (UF EGH), John Driver (UF Animal Sciences), and Jeurgen Richt (Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine) have won a multi-year NIH R01 grant titled “Harnessing Natural Killer T cells to counteract swine influenza.” The proposed work centers on activation of natural killer T (NKT) cells to help fight off influenza infections. NKT cells make important contributions to host immunity against many pathogens. The grant addresses whether NKT cells respond to, and may be targeted against zoonotic swine influenza (SI) viruses, which pose a global threat to human and swine health. The proposed work will provide an understanding about how NKT cells can be harnessed in both humans and swine to limit the current cycle of swine influenza virus transmission between these species. The PI, Dr. Driver, provides immunology expertise, whereas Drs. Lednicky and Richt add virology and pathobiology dimensions to the work.



Dr. Jim Chen Wins CTSI Clinical Research Pilot Award

Professor in Epidemiology Xinguang (Jim) Chen, MD, PhD, was recently awarded a Patient-Oriented Clinical Research Pilot Award from the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Dr. Chen’s research has primarily focused on the epidemiology of health risk behavior and behavioral prevention intervention. Through his CTSI-funded project, entitled “Exposure to secondhand smoke of cigarettes and marijuana in young children,” Dr. Chen will build a transdisciplinary team of researchers to investigate levels and impact factors of secondhand marijuana smoke in children aged 1-5. This pilot study will provide critical preliminary data to support future NIH funding proposals to conduct a full-scale investigation of secondhand marijuana exposure in children. The CTSI pilot award will last through November 2018. Congratulations to Dr. Chen for this award, and for the important work he is doing in this crucial area of research.

Dr. Mattia Prosperi Receives SEC Visiting Faculty Travel Grant

Associate Professor in Epidemiology Mattia Prosperi, MEng, PhD, recently received a Southeastern Conference (SEC) Visiting Faculty Travel Grant from the Office of the Provost. The SEC Faculty Travel program is run through the SECU, the academic initiative of the SEC. The program offers faculty members from each SEC university the opportunity to travel to other SEC universities to exchange ideas, develop grant proposals, and conduct research. Dr. Prosperi will be traveling to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, to collaborate with Dr. Bradley Malin, Vanderbilt’s Vice Chair for Research Affairs. While in Nashville, Dr. Prosperi will present in the Vanderbilt Informatics Seminar on his work in the areas of big data science and biomedical modeling. Congratulations to Dr. Prosperi for this opportunity to showcase his cutting-edge work in data science and epi-informatics. The department looks forward to more opportunities for collaboration with other SEC universities in the future.


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

Dr. Rick Kates Inducted as Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow

Dr. Kates’ goal in the fellowship is to create a course that takes an in-depth look at healthcare technologies. The underlying objective of the course is to connect entrepreneurial thinking to the changing U.S. demographics and the delivery of health care, and link entrepreneurship to the home discipline of Public Health and Health Professions so students have a different lens to view careers in health care. The course would help students develop a strategy for approaching the health care industry from the eyes of an entrepreneur. This is a great opportunity for Dr. Kates and the department.

Dr. Ashish Deshmukh Publishes in Vaccine

Dr. Deshmukh’s study examined value of adoption of adjuvant qHPV vaccine for anal cancer prevention. The team performed a cost-effectiveness and value of information analysis. The result was that the HPV vaccination is cost-effective for managing HIV-positive MSM with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL), a precursor to anal cancer. Read more


Occupational Therapy

OT Faculty Midyear Retreat

On July 21, 2017, the faculty and staff of the Occupational Therapy Department actively participated in a midyear retreat at the Austin Cary Learning Center in Gainesville, Florida. The retreat focused on the department’s progress towards its 2025 vision—where the department will be positioned as a vibrant preeminent research and educational entity in the U.S. Efforts are underway to meet the high-level demands, as articulated in the mission of the department, which is to “lead research innovations, present thriving and varied educational programs, embrace a clinician-scientist model, be fiscally healthy, and serve the occupational needs of people, organizations and populations.”

Dr. Classen Participates as Invited Speaker at National Meeting

Along with colleagues from industry, government, academia, medicine, and professional practice, Dr. Classen attended the National Academies of Sciences Transportation Research Board midyear meeting in beautiful Woods Hole, Massachusetts on August 8-9, 2017. The meeting addressed the topic of Advancing Awareness and Utilization of Automated Vehicle Technologies by Older Consumers. Specifically, Dr. Classen delivered an invited presentation on Perspectives of Occupational Therapists and Driver Rehabilitation Specialists Pertaining to Vehicle Automation and Older Drivers. Gaps, needs, and opportunities were identified for occupational therapists and driver rehabilitation professionals to ensure they are equipped to deal with the challenges older drivers face as they are expected to interact with semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles.   

MOT Class Showcase Posters in Evidence-based Literature Reviews

Under the guidance of Dr. Sergio Romero, students in the Research in Occupational Therapy class learn the principles of scientific discovery and the process of developing a body of knowledge relevant to the profession of occupational therapy. A series of lectures and practical exercises related to research design, statistical analysis, test psychometrics, qualitative methods and pragmatics of conducting research are presented during this summer-long course. As a final project, students prepare a scientific poster that evaluates the evidence supporting a chosen occupational therapy intervention. The goal is to effectively locate relevant literature, understand and evaluate the information, assess the quality of the research evidence, and provide recommendations for use in clinical practice. This year, students critically reviewed over 100 research articles and presented their findings in two poster sessions open to all students and faculty in the department.


Physical Therapy

Brooks Higher Institute of Learning Residency and Fellowship Commencement

The Brooks Higher Institute of Learning Class of 2017 Residency and Fellowship Graduation was held on July 15 at the Deerwood Country Club in Jacksonville and attended by numerous UF Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) alumni and physical therapy department faculty members Drs. Emily Fox, Jason Beneciuk, and Joel Bialosky. Two of the evening’s graduates included UF DPT alumnae Kelly Tusha, who completed the Brooks PT women's health residency and Lauren Surdyke, who completed the Brooks neurologic residency.

(pictured: UF DPT alumni; PT faculty members Dr. Joel Bialosky, at left, Dr. Jason Beneciuk, at right)

Several PT Faculty Research Projects and Interests Highlighted

Read up on the The POST articles highlighting the research work and preeminence hire of PT Professor Russell T. Hepple at: http://ufhealth-post.sites.medinfo.ufl.edu/2017/05/05/muscle-in-aging-and-disease/ and the latest research findings of Associate Professor Mark Bishop and his collaborators, PT Clinical Associate Professor Joel Bialosky and Research Assistant Professor Meryl Alappattu at: https://ufhealth.org/news/2017/provider-s-preference-pain-therapy-can-influence-patient-s-results-uf-researchers-find. In addition, PT Professor and Preeminence Professor of Neuroscience Gordon Mitchell was recently featured in the UF Alumni Association magazine The Florida GATOR at: http://news.phhp.ufl.edu/2017/06/02/moving-ahead/.

(pictured: top left, Dr. Russell Hepple; top right, Dr. Gordon Mitchell; bottom: Dr. Joel Bialosky)

DPT Students Participate in Special Olympics Florida

DPT students recently traveled to Orlando to work with the Special Olympics Florida athletes. This was a two-day event where student physical therapists and student physical therapy assistants screened athletes for balance, strength, endurance, and flexibility impairments. Students screened over 500 athletes over the course of the two day event.


Rehabilitation Science

RSD Program Graduates

Congratulations to the newest RSD program alumni: Sudeshna A. Chatterjee, Sandra Brown, Trevor Lentz, and Abhinandan Batra. Dr. Chatterjee’s dissertation title was “Developing a Physiological Measure of Mobility Self-efficacy" and she was mentored by Dr. David Clark. Dr. Brown’s dissertation title was “Examination of the Application of Applied Behavior Analysis Principles on a Child’s Participation in Rehabilitation from the Perspective of the Therapist” and she was mentored by Dr. Christine T. Myers. Dr. Lentz’s dissertation title was “Advancing the Understanding of Healthcare Utilization and Costs among Patients with Musculoskeletal Pain” and he was mentored by Dr. Steven George. Dr. Batra’s dissertation title was “Non-invasive Monitoring of Disease Progression in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy & Collagen VI Myopathy" and he was mentored by Dr. Krista Vandenborne.

(left to right: current RSD students Kelly Hawkins and Shakeel Ahmed, RSD alumnus Jay Nair, new graduate Dr. Sudeshna Chatterjee)