Biostatistics Welcomes New Faculty

On behalf of the Department of Biostatistics, please welcome Dr. Xiangyang (George) Lou and Dr. Qing Lu who joined the department in June as a Research Professor and Professor, respectively. Lou earned his PhD in Statistical Genetics and Bioinformatics from Zhejiang University. He came to the U.S. to pursue postdoctoral training in the Department of Statistics at the University of Florida in 2002. Lou's research primarily concentrates on developing and applying powerful innovative analysis methods to solve real-world statistical and computational problems in biomedical sciences and other sciences.

Lu is a Faculty 500 hire within the teacher/scholar initiative. He earned his PhD in Statistical Genetics from Case Western Reserve University following a master’s degree in Statistics from the University of Florida in 2003. Lu’s research interests are primarily in statistical genetics and statistical learning. One area of research is the development of statistical learning methods (e.g., deep learning) and software for high-dimensional data analysis (e.g., genetic data analysis).

(pictured from left: Dr. Xiangyang (George) Lou and Dr. Qing Lu)

Dean Wins Travel Award

Dr. Natalie Dean, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics, is the winner of the 2019 CWS (Caucus for Women in Statistics) Do-Bui Travel Award. This award was recently established, owing to the generous donation by Dr. Kim-Anh Do, to support promising early-career researchers who are attending the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) and are presenting their research work. The award provides $500 to be used towards travel to this year’s Joint Statistical Meetings in Denver, CO. This award will be presented to Dean during the CWS business meeting and reception at the JSM.


Clinical and Health Psychology

CHP Doctoral Students Awarded Scholarships

Third year doctoral student Charles Moreno (left) and second year doctoral student Elle Wiggins (right) were awarded two of three graduate scholarships by the Stephanie Nicole Ross Foundation, Inc. Three $1,000 scholarships are awarded to graduate students studying psychology, cognitive or behavioral science, or any related field in the state of Florida in order to help students pursue their academic goals.

Stephanie Nicole Ross planned to pursue a doctorate degree in aging studies in order to further her research on human cognition and non-pharmacological interventions for cognitive impairment across the lifespan. She was dedicated to working with people with neurological conditions and hoped to teach others about the wonders of the human brain. The Stephanie Nicole Ross Foundation honors her life and celebrates her passions.

Bowers and Colleagues Receive Parkinson’s Foundation Impact Award

Dr. Dawn Bowers and her colleagues, Dr. Adam Woods and Dr. Christopher Hess, have received a Parkinson's Foundation Impact Award to pilot a novel, low cost intervention for improving motor skills and cognition in individuals with Parkinson's disease. The intervention is based on positive neuroprotective and disease modifying effects of near infrared (NIR) stimulation in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. The UF study is a blinded sham controlled RCT that involves transcranial and intranasal delivery of low level light (near infrared) over a two-week period. Presumed mechanisms of change induced by NIR stimulation will be tested via neuroimaging procedures (MRI, MRS) that are linked to mitochondrial function, blood flow, and neural network changes. This study will be among the newest interventions being carried out at the new Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases.

(pictured from left: Dr. Dawn Bowers, Dr. Adam Woods, and Dr. Christopher Hess)


Dean's Office

Seven PHHP Faculty Members Awarded Tenure and Promotion

The following College of Public Health and Health Professions faculty members were awarded tenure and/or promotion from the University of Florida for the 2018-2019 cycle. Congratulations to these individuals on the well-deserved recognition of their significant academic accomplishments:

(left to right, top to bottom)

David Fedele, PhD – promoted to Associate Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology with tenure

Song Liang, PhD – awarded tenure in the Department of Environmental and Global Health

Michael Marsiske, PhD -- promoted to Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology

Arlene Naranjo, PhD – promoted to Research Associate Professor of Biostatistics

Mattia Prosperi, MEng, PhD – awarded tenure in the Department of Epidemiology

Claudia Senesac, PhD, PT  – promoted to Clinical Professor of Physical Therapy

Adam Woods, PhD – promoted to Associate Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology with tenure

Eight PHHP Faculty Members Awarded University Term Professorships

On June 21, Dean Michael Perri recognized the recipients of the 2019 University Term Professorships at the college's faculty-staff meeting. Congratulations to these individuals who have been recognized by the university for their outstanding scholarly achievements:

(left to right, top to bottom)

Lori Altmann, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Xinguang (Jim) Chen, MD, PhD, FACE - Professor, Department of Epidemiology

Linda B. Cottler, PhD, MPH, FACE - Associate Dean for Research and Dean’s Professor, Department of Epidemiology

David Fedele, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology

Arch Mainous, PhD - Florida Blue Endowed Professor and Chair, Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy

Thomas Pearson, MD, MPH, PhD - Professor, Department of Epidemiology

Tara Sabo-Attwood, PhD - Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental and Global Health

Krista Vandenborne, PhD, PT - Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Physical Therapy


Environmental and Global Health

Coker Travels to Uganda for Air Quality Research

Dr. Eric Coker, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Global Health, recently traveled to Uganda, a land-locked East African country to conduct air quality research. This trip was part of Coker’s global fellowship awarded by the University of Florida International Center’s Global Fellows Program, which supports junior faculty in conducting international research.

During his trip, Coker worked to establish an air-monitoring system to address air pollution in the region. This was an opportunity for him to expand on his previous research in air quality and pollution. Dr. Coker also focused on developing relationships with research collaborators, who can serve as key partners for future research endeavors.

EGH Student Awarded FLAS Fellowship

Katie McNamara, a PhD student in the One Health program, was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Academic Year Fellowship. This fellowship was awarded by the Center for Latin American Studies through the U.S. Department of Education to support participation in an intensive study program of a less-commonly-taught Latin American language.

This June, McNamara will participate in the Andes and Amazon Field School Summer Quecha Language Program in Napo, Ecuador, for several weeks. She will also continue to take language courses once she returns to UF as part of her fellowship.



Wang Receives Pilot Award

Yan Wang, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, has received a new pilot award from The University of Florida Center for Research to Investigate Substance Use and Pain (UF-CRISP). Her project is titled, “Medical marijuana use in older adults with chronic pain: A pilot project to build a prospective cohort.” The UF-CRISP will fund Wang’s project for one year with the goal for Wang to use the pilot data collected to support the generation of a larger extramural grant. Wang will also give an oral presentation at the first Symposium on Pain and Addiction Research (SPAR) in December as part of the pilot award.

Wang’s pilot award is part of the UF Moonshot Initiative that is designed to address some of society’s most challenging health issues. This initiative includes the opportunity for faculty like Wang to collect pilot data in new and innovative research areas, such as medical marijuana use for chronic pain in older adults, with the ultimate goal to reduce or ameliorate disease and disability. The department congratulates Dr. Wang on her great work.


Health Services Research, Management and Policy

Marlow and Hong Receive Award

Dr. Nicole Marlow and PhD student Young-Rock Hong have been selected as the recipients of the 2018 Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ) Impact Article of the Year Award for the paper entitled, “Benchmarking Implications: Analysis of Medicare Accountable Care Organizations Spending Level and Quality of Care.” This award was established to recognize an article that made a significant impact on the healthcare quality profession and professionals who read JHQ. Marlow and Hong will be recognized at the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) Annual Conference taking place later this year.


Occupational Therapy

OT Takes AOTA by Storm

The Department of Occupational Therapy had a strong presence at the annual American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference held in New Orleans. This conference promotes scholarship and professional development among occupational therapy practitioners, scientists, and students across the nation and from abroad. Twenty-one faculty members and students took advantage of this opportunity to present their scientific work and delivered a total of 20 presentations, including a preconference institute, short courses, research posters, and a scientific research panel. Representing the department, 10 faculty members and PhD students attended the annual Breakfast with a Scholar. This event’s speaker, Alan Hobson, a Mount Everest summiteer and cancer survivor, shared how setbacks can be overcome with courage, faith, and rehabilitation services such as occupational therapy. The Department of Occupational Therapy was recognized for its contributions and support of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. The department concluded the conference with a well-attended alumni reception, sponsored by the PHHP Development Office, to reconnect alumni and friends.

(pictured: OT students presenting at AOTA)

OT Receives Funding from the Paralyzed Veterans of America

Principal Investigator Dr. Sherrilene Classen and Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Justin Mason, Department of Occupational Therapy, with Co-Investigators Dr. Emily Fox, Department of Physical Therapy and Brooks Rehabilitation, and Dr. Babette Brumback, Department of Biostatistics, received funding from the Paralyzed Veterans of America to elucidate the perceptions of adults living with a spinal cord injury and/or disease (SCI/D) as it relates to autonomous (i.e., self-driving) vehicles. Autonomous vehicles (AVs) may provide an equitable transportation opportunity for individuals with SCI/D, if they adopt this mode of transportation. Participants in this study will provide their perceptions of AVs before and after riding in an autonomous shuttle. Information gained from this research will inform clinicians, rehabilitation scientists, community partners, manufacturers, and care partners of opportunities and barriers to improve individuals’ with SCI/D interaction with autonomous vehicles. Their perceptions and feedback may lead to important steps toward transportation equity for such individuals.

(pictured from left: Dr. Babette Brumback, Dr. Justin Mason, Mr. Stephen Hardy, Dr. Emily Fox, and Dr. Sherrilene Classen)


Physical Therapy

Longtime Faculty Member Retires

After 34 years, the Department of Physical Therapy will be saying a bittersweet goodbye to Danny Martin, PT, PhD, FACSM, a revered cardiopulmonary physical therapist, mentor and friend. Having worked his way up through the tenured academic ranks and retiring as a full professor, Martin plans to retire on June 27.

Martin joined the department in August 1985, when the entering class size was 30 students who received a bachelor’s degree. Over the years, he has seen tremendous growth in the department, which now graduates over 70 DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) students.

Not only has Martin made an impact on countless students, but over the past 24 years he has also helped more than 850 patients while at the UF Health Shands Hospital Lung Transplant Center. He played a fundamental role in shaping the pre- and post-transplant rehabilitation programs for those patients. 

The department is truly happy for Martin and wishes him the best of times during his retirement, catching lots of fish and spending quality time with his wife and family.

Connolly Named PHHP Outstanding Alumna of the Year

The College of Public Health and Health Professions selected physical therapy alumna Barbara Connolly PT, DPT, EdD, C/NDT, FAPTA, as the 2019 Outstanding Alumna of the Year.

Connolly, who received her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy in 1970, is recognized as the Outstanding Alumna of the Year in recognition of exemplary leadership and advocacy in physical therapy education, research, and practice.

She is a professor emeritus at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) where she served as chair of the physical therapy department for 24 years and interim dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences for two years.

The Department of Physical Therapy is proud to have alumni like Connolly who continue to make a positive impact in the PT community.


Rehabilitation Science

Hawkins Receives Outstanding Student Publication Award

Congratulations to Kelly Hawkins who was awarded the Rehabilitation Science Program’s Outstanding Student Publication award for 2018-19 for her paper “Prefrontal over-activation during walking in people with mobility deficits: Interpretation and functional implications.”

In collaboration with her lead mentor Emily Fox, PT, DPT, PhD, NCS, research assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, and co-mentor David Clark, ScD, research associate professor in the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, this study was conducted at the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center of Excellence located at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center and the Brooks Rehabilitation Center, with additional support from the Departments of Physical Therapy and Aging and Geriatric Research.

This research used a mobile neuroimaging approach (fNIRS) to measure prefrontal cortical activity during walking. Compared to healthy young participants, prefrontal/attentional demand during walking was substantially increased for frail elderly and people post-stroke. This study shows the importance of accounting for neural control strategies of walking, which may be better than traditional measures such as gait speed for understanding one’s ability to walk safely in complex environments.


Social and Behavioral Sciences

SBS Publications Accepted for APHA

The Social and Behavioral Sciences Program is proud to announce SBS students, faculty, and alumni have had a number of publications accepted for the American Public Health Association's 2019 annual meeting on November 2–6 in Philadelphia, PA. PhD candidate Kelsea LeBeau; alumna Kanathy Haney, PhD; and faculty members Mark Hart, EdD, and Elizabeth Wood, DHS, are among SBS members with publications. Read more for the list of publications.

(pictured: Dr. Mark Hart with SBS students at the APHA 2018 annual meeting)


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Gainesville Brain Injury Support Group Offers Insights to Speech Pathology Students

On June 10, five members of the Gainesville Brain Injury Support Group and their mentor, Nicole Ferrier, MA, CCC-SLP, of the UF Health Rehab Hospital, returned to UF for their third annual visit to the master's class on neurocognitive disorders of language in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. The guest speakers related stories of their injuries, triumphs, and continuing challenges, and offered advice to the future speech pathologists in the class. Dr. Altmann and the class would like to offer their gratitude and admiration to the guest speakers for their honesty and openness and to Ms. Ferrier for demonstrating her master clinician skills in guiding her group.