Physical Therapy

Two PT Faculty Recognized by Florida Physical Therapy Association (FPTA)

Gloria Miller, PT, PhD, NCS, Clinical Assistant Professor & Doctorate of Physical Therapy Curriculum Coordinator, has been named the 2017 recipient of the FPTA Award for Excellence in Academic Teaching. This award recognizes a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant who demonstrates exceptional teaching effectiveness and excellence as a role model in academic teaching for students, faculty, and clinicians. Dr. Miller's tireless work and efforts in educating our next generation of physical therapists are incredibly valuable to the profession.

Associate Professor Mark Bishop, PT, PhD, is the 2017 recipient of the FPTA Award for Scholarly Impact on Practice. This award acknowledges and honors a physical therapist whose individual and/or collaborative scholarly activity has made a meaningful difference to clinical practice by physical therapists in Florida. Dr. Bishop's highly valuable work in musculoskeletal pain has indeed impacted the clinical practice of PTs and PTAs in Florida and beyond.

(left to right: Dr. Mark Bishop, Dr. Gloria Miller)

Lanier Receives Fuller E. Callaway Foundation Scholarship

Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) student Amber Lanier is the recipient of the Hatton Lovejoy Graduate Studies scholarship sponsored by the Fuller E. Callaway Foundation in LaGrange, GA. The scholarship is awarded based on numerous factors, including a superior scholastic record, graduate program entrance test scores, recommendations from instructors and others with personal knowledge of the applicant’s character and ability, and a personal interview. Lanier will receive $17,500 while in the DPT program.

DPT Students Participate in Hong Kong Exchange Program

Four DPT students in the Class of 2018 participated in an exchange program for PT students at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Macy Gill, Michaelene Genter, Becky Lawrence, and Natasha Petrovich received full scholarships to attend the Summer Overseas Exchange program, "Opening Minds, Shaping the Future." The program offered the opportunity for participants to be exposed to and gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge rehabilitation research in the four areas of Neuroscience and Neurological Rehabilitation; Orthopaedic and Sports Rehabilitation; Geriatric Rehabilitation; and East meets West in Rehabilitation Sciences. The students were immersed in lectures, seminars, group and individual consultation, and laboratory observations. Outside the classroom, cultural exchange activities were shared allowing students to experience Hong Kong’s dynamic Chinese and Asian cultures.

(left to right: Natasha Petrovich, Michaelene Genter, Becky Lawrence, and Macy Gill)


Rehabilitation Science

New Additions to RSD Program Roster

The Rehabilitation Science PhD (RSD) Program welcomes six new students beginning their journey to obtain their PhDs: Kanika Bansal, MPT, (mentor: Dorian Rose, PT, PhD); Jennifer Chapin, MS, CCC-SLP, (mentor: Emily Plowman, PhD, CCC-SLP); Alayna Ernster, BHS, (mentor: Ianessa Humbert, PhD, CCC-SLP); Lara Zwilling, MHS, VSP, LMHC, (mentor: Jamie Pomeranz, PhD, CRC, CLCP); Abigail Wilson, DPT, (mentor: Joel Bialosky, PT, PhD, FAAOMPT, OCS); and Yuhan Mou, MA, CF-SLP, (mentor: Karen Hegland, PhD, CCC-SLP).

In addition, the RSD program welcomes three new faculty members: Elisa Gonzalez-Rothi, DPT, PhD, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy; Karen Wheeler Hegland, PhD, CCC-SLP, Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences; and Russell Hepple, PhD, Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy.

(new RSD students top left to right: Kanika Bansal, Jen Chapin, Alayna Ernster; bottom left to right: Yuhan Mou, Abby Wilson, and Lara Zwilling)

RSD Fall Social and Orientation

The Rehabilitation Science program hosted its annual Fall Social on Thursday, August 25th at Blue Gill Quality Foods. The event provided an opportunity to bring together students and faculty from across the interdisciplinary PhD program and welcome our six new PhD students. The social followed the RSD program orientation held the week prior for new students.

(pictured: RSD students and faculty at Fall Social)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Social and Behavioral Sciences MPH Student Wins International Research Award for Diversity Research

Dawit Rumicha presented his research at the 17th International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations at the University of Toronto this past July. This was following an initial presentation he gave at the 7th International Conference for Religion and Spirituality in Society in London. He received the International Emerging Scholar Award, given by the Diversity in Organizations, Community and Nations Research Network, which recognizes outstanding graduate students who have an active research interest in the themes of the conference, which were urban diversity and economic growth. The award also provides a strong professional development opportunity by creating networking opportunities and giving awardees the chance to lead discussions and panel sessions during the conference. His collaborated research project with his colleague, Gabrielle Rind from Florida Atlantic University, focused on viewing best practices by higher education professionals in fostering inclusion among a dynamically changing student body.

(left to right: Dawit Rumicha, Gabrielle Rind)

Brunny Accepts Directorship of United for Children

Jarrett N. Brunny, a current doctoral candidate (public health, social and behavioral sciences), will join with United Way of South Hampton Roads in Virginia as Director, United for Children. United for Children is a collaborative partnership of over 100 organizations that work to provide resources and opportunities for at-risk families combating extreme poverty. The company, a public charity, serves communities in Chesapeake, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.

"UWSHR has done an excellent job building a multimillion-dollar portfolio and engaging community leaders to take a stand and fight for the well-being of local children," Brunny said. "We know that many families are struggling out there, and we need more people at the front lines working towards collective impact and applying translational research to contemporary social challenges."

Brunny is preparing to defend his dissertation, titled "Exploring Factors Influencing Providers' Substance Abuse Screening Behaviors during Routine Prenatal Care," this fall.

Social and Behavioral Sciences Doctoral Students Present Posters at Conference

Brittney Dixon, second year doctoral student, and Lindsey King, third year doctoral candidate, had the opportunity to present research posters on Friday, September 22, 2017 at the People’s Scientific Conference on Promoting Minority Health through Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR): Community Health Workers Lead the Way & 7th Annual Florida Community Health Worker Coalition Summit in Gainesville, Florida.

Dixon’s poster was titled "Becoming a Trauma-Informed Community: Identifying Critical Needs in Tarpon" and was co-authored by Dr. Mark Hart. This was a qualitative research study that used a CBPR methodology in partnership with Peace4Tarpon to identify critical factors experienced by individuals in Tarpon Springs, Florida that could influence the prevalence of trauma. Factors identified will assist Peace4Tarpon and the Tarpon Springs community in becoming more trauma-informed and in developing multi-level interventions to lower the prevalence of trauma. 

King’s poster was titled “Exploring Maternal and Child Health Protective Factors Using CBPR and the Life Course Perspective.” This qualitative, CBPR focus group study explored maternal and child health protective factors from the perspective of community residents in Tampa, Florida and will assist maternal and child health researchers and community members in developing effective public health interventions. Both students acknowledge the academic mentorship of Dr. Mary Ellen Young and peer debriefing provided by students of the Summer 2017 Qualitative Data Analysis Course and the Qualitative Research Colloquium.

(left to right: Brittney Dixon, Lindsey King)


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

 Second Year AuD Students Receive Pins

In a ceremony designed to honor the progress and the promise of doctor of audiology students entering their second year of the program, nine AuD students received their audiology pins. The students were pinned by their clinical mentors, and applauded by family, friends, and peers. In the ceremony, the students also took the audiology oath administered by Dr. Dana Ulmer, UF audiology clinical faculty member and president of the Florida Academy of Audiology, and heard an inspirational address from Dr. Mark Kielecki, supervising audiologist with the Veteran's Administration in Ocala, Florida.



Recent Graduate Joins NIEHS as Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Sinjini Sikdar was recently awarded a PhD in Biostatistics. She successfully defended her dissertation in June 2017, entitled “Statistical Methods for Analyzing Genomics Data.“ She was mentored by Professor, Susmita Datta. Prior to attending the University of Florida, Dr. Sikdar earned a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Statistics at the University of Calcutta, India. After graduation, Dr. Sikdar joined the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) as a post-doctoral fellow in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Congratulations, Dr. Sikdar. The Department of Biostatistics is very proud of all of your past and future accomplishments.

(left to right: Dr. Datta, Dr. Sikdar)

Dr. Caleb Huo Appointed Director of Biostatistics Consulting Lab

Dr. Caleb Huo, Assistant Professor, was recently appointed as the Director of the Biostatistics Consulting Lab. The BCL offers the services of researcher statisticians who are highly skilled and knowledgeable in statistical and data-related services. Services include, but are not limited to, the development of design, measurement and analysis strategies for research studies, statistical analyses and interpretation of experimental results, methodological and statistical review of manuscripts, generation of graphics and written summaries to enhance presentation of study results and database creation, management and cleaning, and manual entry of data into databases. As director of this program, Dr. Huo is not only the main point of contact but will also be responsible for determining the scope of a project, estimating a fee schedule, providing a timeline, etc. Read more

Dr. Samuel Wu Receives NIH Grant

Dr. Samuel Wu (PI) from Department of Biostatistics, Dr. Shigang Chen (co-PI) from Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering, and Dr. Michael Okun (co-I) from Department of Neurology, received an R01 grant from NIH/NIGMS. In responding to the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, the proposed research will combine expertise from biostatistics, computer science, cyber-security, and medical practice to develop data sharing technologies. The interdisciplinary project entitled, “New Statistical and Computing Technologies for Breaking the Barrier to Medical Data Sharing,” will develop new methods of data masking that promise to allow free exchange of medical information with strong privacy protection.


Clinical and Health Psychology

CHP Faculty Member Launches Perioperative Cognitive Evaluation Program (PeCAN)

For adults age 60 or older, pre-operative markers of brain neuroanatomical and functional integrity are risk factors for negative post-operative cognitive outcome including acute cognitive decline, delirium, and mortality. In conjunction with UF's Department of Anesthesia, Dr. Catherine Price has launched a Perioperative Cognitive Anesthesia Network (PeCAN) that includes interdisciplinary research, clinical, and training arms. This effort represents a stellar example of translation from clinical research to clinical care. The clinical program is housed in UF Health's presurgical center where nurses and anesthesia clinical staff now routinely assess "cognitive vital signs."


Dean's Office

Dean's Citation Awards

On September 15 at the PHHP State of the College Meeting, Dean Michael Perri presented award certificates to the Dean's Citation Winners. Each year the departments are asked to review their faculty members' publications from the previous calendar year and to pick one paper that is considered to be the most outstanding paper. Congratulations to each of these individuals for their award winning contributions to science.

Top row, left to right

• Dr. Russell Bauer - Department of Clinical and Health Psychology

• Dr. Sherrilene Classen - Department of Occupational Therapy

• Dr. Somnath Datta - Department of Biostatistics

• Dr. John Lednicky - Department of Enviromental and Global Health

Bottom row, left to right

• Dr. Nicole Marlow - Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy

• Dr. Gordon Mitchell - Department of Physical Therapy

• Dr. Emily Plowman - Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

• Dr. Lusine Yaghjyan - Department of Epidemiology


Environmental and Global Health

Dr. Sarah McKune Publishes in Journal of Health Communication

As part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers from UF, Rutgers University, and the World Health Organization, Dr. Sarah McKune analyzed findings from a rapid-response community based qualitative research initiative conducted in August 2014, during the height of the West African Ebola outbreak. The article, entitled “The Opposite of Denial: Social Learning at the Onset of the Ebola Emergency in Liberia” looks at the content, transmission, and change in beliefs and behaviors related to Ebola transmission over a two week period during a time of escalating crisis in Monrovia, Liberia. The study finds rapid evolution in the beliefs about the source of Ebola, modes of contagion, and infection prevention and control practices, illustrating abandonment of most incorrect information. Importantly, the study also finds that changes in practice lagged behind changes in knowledge - in other words, the acquisition of accurate beliefs did not necessarily mean improved behaviors. It also showed that conspiracy theories or cultural myths endured, even in the face of changed, accurate knowledge. The findings have important implications on social media and marketing campaigns, which are frequently used to change behavior during disease outbreaks, as well as on historical interpretation of the "resistance" reported during the Ebola outbreak in Monrovia. Read more

One Health PhD Candidate Publishes in Antimicrobia Agents and Chemotherapy

Marissa Valentine-King, a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental and Global Health had her latest work, “Antibacterial Resistance in Ureaplasma species and Mycoplasma hominis Isolates from Urine Cultures in College-aged Females,” featured in a press release by the American Society of Microbiology after publication in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy this past August. In this study, under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Brown, Valentine-King uncovered a rare mutation causing levofloxacin resistance in an Ureaplasma parvum urinary sample from a college-aged woman presenting with a first-time urinary tract infection (UTI). Resistance in this organism is especially problematic as drugs typically used to treat UTIs, such as penicillin and Bactrim are useless against Ureaplasma due to its unique structure and properties. The study is also the first of its kind to evaluate antibiotic resistance in Ureaplasma in this population. Studies like this one can help physicians select appropriate treatments based on regional resistance profiles. Read more



Epidemiology PhD Students Publish in Several Elite Journals

Over the past months, Epidemiology PhD students have seen several first-authored publications appear in elite journals. In June, Epidemiology PhD student Zhaoyi Chen and Epidemiology faculty Dr. Mattia Prosperi published in Biomedicine Hub; Epidemiology PhD students Yunan Xu and Kai Wang and Epidemiology faculty Dr. Xinguang Chen published in Journal of the American Society of Hypertension. In July, Mr. Wang and Drs. Prosperi and Chen had their paper accepted for publication in International Journal of Cancer; Epidemiology PhD students Mirsada Serdarevic and Vicki Osborne and Epidemiology faculty Drs. Catherine Striley and Linda Cottler had their paper accepted for publication in Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. In September, Ms. Osborne, Ms. Serdarevic, recent Epidemiology PhD graduate Dr. Hannah Crooke, and Drs. Striley and Cottler published in Addictive Behaviors. Congratulations to the successful PhD students and their faculty mentors on their recent publications!

(clockwise from top left: Zhaoyi Chen, Yunan Xu, Kai Wang, Mirsada Serdarevic, Vicki Osborne, Dr. Hannah Crooke)

Dr. Mattia Prosperi Receives Grant from National Science Foundation

Associate Professor in Epidemiology Mattia Prosperi, MEng, PhD, recently received a Science of Organizations (SoO) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Prosperi will partner with the UF Department of Health Outcomes and Policy and the University of Minnesota on this three-year project, entitled “A Person-Centric Prediction Model of Job Loss based on Social Media.” This project will examine individual-level predictors of job loss using social media; most studies have only examined these trends at the population level. The research will exploit artificial intelligence and large amounts of unstructured data feeds to predict dramatic life events. The conceptual design can be applied to many life and health outcomes, and will be useful from a public health perspective as an instrument both to inform policymakers and to impact risk factors. Congratulations to Dr. Prosperi for this award and for his groundbreaking research in the field of big data mining.

Epidemiology PhD Student Elected President of PHHP DSC

PhD student in Epidemiology Sadaf Milani was recently elected as president of the PHHP Doctoral Student Council (DSC). The purpose of the DSC is to foster social integration and academic collaboration among the doctoral students in the College. Ms. Milani is a double graduate of the University of Florida who earned both her Bachelor of Science and her Master of Public Health from the UF before pursuing her PhD with the Department of Epidemiology. She served as an Epidemiology representative to the PHHP DSC for a year before being elected president. Her research interests include global health, specifically mental health and access to care. She is also a member of the University of Florida Prescription Drug Workgroup, founded within the Department of Epidemiology. Congratulations to Ms. Milani on being chosen to lead the doctoral students of PHHP!


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

MHA Student Receives Scholarship

Abby Wolz, MHA Class of 2018, was the recipient of the Medical Group Management Association’s 2017 Leaders Scholarship. Abby submitted her application against students from across the country and was one of two students selected. This scholarship will help Abby continue her studies in the MHA program and pursue her interests in access to healthcare and improving quality of patient care. Congratulations Abby!


MHA Student Awarded Best Abstract

Ciera Hall, MHA Class of 2018, has been awarded the Best Student Abstract by the Association of Academic Surgical Administrators. The abstract, “Improving Employee Retention and Satisfaction Through the Creation of a Standard Onboarding Program in a Subdivided Department,” looked at the process of creating a standard process for onboarding in the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado Denver. A standard onboarding program was built in the department by aligning managers, engaging incoming employees, and designing a process of cultural integration. The creation of a standard onboarding program has positioned the department for future growth to be sustained and has since become a model for other departments in the university. Ciera will be presenting this poster at the AASA annual Meeting in San Diego in October.


Occupational Therapy

OT Welcomes Master of Occupational Therapy Class of 2019

The Department of Occupational Therapy held the new student Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) orientation on August 18th. This group of 20 students represents multiple state universities and all regions of Florida. They will take pre-occupational therapy courses in the Fall of 2017 and in the Spring of 2018, joining graduates from the Bachelor of Health Science program in Summer 2018 to begin Occupational Therapy coursework. This is the last MOT class before the program transitions to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree.

OT's I-MAP Team Attends WFOT Congress

The Occupational Therapy Department’s Institute for Mobility, Activity, & Participation (I-MAP), in collaboration with international colleagues, has been accepted by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Congress to give the following presentations:

  1. "Fitness to drive and neurological impairments: An evidence-based approach to driving screening, assessment and intervention"
  2. “Fitness-to-Drive Screening Measure: A clinically useful tool for identifying at-risk older drivers”

This is a significant opportunity for the team to showcase their work and represent UF. The WFOT Congress is held every four years, attracting over 2400 abstracts from around the world. The theme of the conference is “Connected in diversity: positioned for impact” and will be held in Cape Town, South Africa 21-25 May, 2018.