March-May 2015

Letter from the Chair and Director

Moving forward with “The Power of Together”

Five years ago, UF Health launched our first-ever integrated strategic plan: Forward Together. It united everyone in the UF Health family across our colleges, hospitals, centers, and institutes with our shared vision, values, and goals. And it worked. Now that Forward Together has reached its five-year mark, Dr. David Guzick has introduced our next five-year strategic plan: The Power of Together. The result of a year-long process that involved hundreds of faculty, staff and students across the organization, it builds on our “unstoppable momentum” and outlines goals that will enable us to serve more patients and to make an even stronger impact academically and in the research arena.

We are excited about how The Power of Together not only strongly aligns with the work we are already doing but also sets a high standard for continued success. I would like to briefly outline below a few of the many ways our efforts contributed to The Power of Together to demonstrate how our work in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, the Institute for Child Health Policy, and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute connects to the strategic vision and mission of UF Health as a whole.

- The plan highlights the role of the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium as a means for creating a statewide system through which research results and clinical data are translated back into diverse health care delivery settings to improve health, health care, and health policy for Floridians.
- The plan notes the need to address critical workforce shortages in areas such as bioinformatics, biostatistics, epidemiology, outcomes research, and health economics, which we address directly through our education programs. There was also a particular emphasis on expanding UF Health’s educational offerings in population science, including the possibility of a second Health Science Center Interdisciplinary Program focused on population and data science.
- The plan emphasizes continued growth in research funding, especially in our research areas, such as comparative effectiveness research and implementation science.
- The plan outlines increased support for existing research and new IT and data infrastructure through the establishment of a center for advanced data capabilities and a new research building focused on health outcomes and data science to accommodate expanding programs that have already outgrown their space.

The fact that our research and educational endeavors play such an integral role in the Power of Together is a testament to the work of our dedicated faculty and staff, and I look forward to contributing to the strategic vision within the University of Florida and pursuing continued success together over the next five years.

Betsy Shenkman

---

Upcoming Events

Since March 1, the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy has hosted six seminars on various topics, including biomedical informatics, children's health, and health disparities. For a schedule of upcoming seminars and events, see below.

Upcoming Seminar: Kelly Gurka, Ph.D., MPH, on June 10, 1-2 p.m. in CTRB 2161

---

Each newsletter, we will rotate through some of our major projects in order to give the entire department a glimpse into the progress we are making in clinics and communities across the country. This month, read about The Prevention Trial in the Cherokee Nation, which is featured in Impacting Communities.

Below you'll also find several updates on our research endeavors, divided into five pillars: Improving Health Care, Advancing Health Research, Analyzing Policy Effects, Impacting Communities, and Helping the Most Vulnerable. These sections encapsulate the work that we do, demonstrating how our efforts are moving forward on multiple fronts.

You'll also find updates on new faculty and staff as well as news from up the hill and our educational programs

Improving Health Care

As a department, we conduct research to improve health care across the entire lifespan of patients. Here are a few highlights that demonstrate our impact on health care from March through May.

Scientists Use Innovative Methods, New Technology to Increase HPV Vaccinations in Florida

Even though a safe HPV vaccine is available that can prevent several types of cancer, less than half of American teens youth in the U.S. receive the vaccine. Now a team of researchers, including four from the University of Florida Institute for Child Health Policy, has increased the odds of adolescents starting the vaccine series by 140 percent among girls and 60 percent among boys. The researchers not only identified key factors that influence how likely parents are to start the vaccination series, they also implemented an innovative multipronged approach that included mailings and using new technology in primary care clinics.  READ MORE »

Shenkman Joins Selby of PCORI and Munster of UCSF as Invited Speakers at the Association for Health Care Journalists Conference in April

Betsy A. Shenkman, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was invited to speak on a panel discussion at the annual Association for Health Care Journalists conference in Santa Clara, Calif., in April. READ MORE »

New HOP Faculty Member Joins Cancer Research Network 2015 Scholar Cohort

New HOP Faculty Member Joins Cancer Research Network 2015 Scholar Cohort

Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was one of ten researchers from around the country selected to join the Cancer Research Network 2015 Scholar Cohort, which aims to develop cutting-edge skills for conducting research in a network of health care organizations.  READ MORE »

Picture Perfect: Walker, Others Use Photos to Understand How Diabetes Affects Kids

If a picture is worth a thousand words, UF Health Type 1 diabetes researchers and their colleagues have tapped into an encyclopedia, revealing new insights into how young people cope with the disease.

The sophisticated scientific instrument? A camera.

READ MORE »

Walker to Give Oral Presentation at Upcoming American Diabetes Association Conference

Walker to Give Oral Presentation at Upcoming American Diabetes Association Conference

Ashby Walker, Ph.D., will give an oral presentation, “Type 1 Diabetes through Two Lenses: Comparing Adolescent and Parental Perspectives with Photovoice,” at the American Diabetes Association annual conference in early June.  READ MORE »

Advancing Health Research

Our work pushes boundaries, creating new ways of conducting research and implementing findings in health care systems and communities. Here are a few news briefs from the past quarter that demonstrate our commitment to advancing the field.

Shenkman Receives UF Research Foundation Professorship Award

Shenkman Receives UF Research Foundation Professorship Award

Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was selected to receive a University of Florida Research Foundation (UFRF) Professorship, which recognizes faculty who have established a distinguished record of research and scholarship.  READ MORE »

HOP Biostatistician Selected to Join National Cancer Institute Cancer Care Delivery Research Steering Committee

HOP Biostatistician Selected to Join National Cancer Institute Cancer Care Delivery Research Steering Committee

Keith E. Muller, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, has been invited to join the Cancer Care Delivery Research Steering Committee of the National Cancer Institute as a statistical representative.

The steering committee aims to identify and promote the best science in cancer care delivery research and represents a diverse set of stakeholders and investigators with expertise in translational science, community oncology, patient advocacy, and biostatistics.  READ MORE »

HOP Assistant Professor Inducted Into Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society

Chris Delcher, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy, has been inducted into the Beta Upsilon Chapter of Delta Omega, the honorary society of public health.

“Dr. Delcher has shown a long-term commitment to public health from his work in the Virginia Department of Health...  READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Attend UF’s Informatics Institute's Inaugural Symposium

Several faculty members from the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy attended the Informatics Institute's Inaugural Symposium on March 19, and Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., chair of the department, was one of the symposium’s speakers, with a presentation on medical big data and computing.  READ MORE »

Department Hosts Biomedical Informatics Networking Reception

The Department of Health Outcomes & Policy successfully hosted its first biomedical informatics networking reception on April 15. In total, 52 guests registered to attend the event, which served to convene the biomedical informatics community and those interested in its work with the intent of facilitating introductions, starting conversations, and sparking collaborations.

Analyzing Policy Effects

Much of our research examines the role of policies in improving health, health care, communities, and vulnerable populations' lives.

Researchers See Significant Reduction in Fatal Car Crashes after an Increase in Alcohol Taxes

Increasing state alcohol taxes could prevent thousands of deaths a year from car crashes, say University of Florida Health researchers, who found alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes decreased after taxes on beer, wine and spirits went up in Illinois.  READ MORE »

HOP Press Release on the Impact of an Illinois Alcohol Tax on Fatal Car Crashes Reaches Potential Readership of more than 272 Million People

A recent press release from team of researchers led by Alexander Wagenaar, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, has been picked up by more than 150 news outlets, including Time, The Washington Post, and Huffington Post. The release details the relationship between a 2009 alcohol tax increase and a reduction in fatal car crashes.  READ MORE »

Oxycodone Overdose Deaths Drop 25 Percent after Launch of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Oxycodone-related deaths dropped 25 percent after Florida implemented its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in late 2011 as part of its response to the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic, according to a team of UF Health researchers. The drop in fatalities could stem from the number of health care providers who used the program’s database to monitor controlled substance prescriptions.  READ MORE »

HOP Press Release on the Drop in Opiod-related Deaths Reaches Potential Readership of More Than 7 Million People

A press release featuring results from a research team led by Chris Delcher, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, on Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program was picked up by more than a dozen news outlets in April.  READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Member Invited to Attend PDMP Research Forum

Chris Delcher, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was recently invited to attend the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Research Forum: Identifying Priorities to Optimize Use and Improve Public Health in Washington, D.C., May 28-29.  READ MORE »

Impacting Communities

In addition to our work in clinics and health care systems, many of our researchers engage directly with schools, parents, and members of communities in an effort to discover new information about trends in health and to prevent problems before they even start.

The POST Cover Story: Health Risks in Hiding

What if, somehow, you could see the number of calories a child burns as she runs from a slide to a swing in her local playground — or the number of calories she never consumed due to the new food policies in her school? What if you could see how the stress from her father’s mental illness is affecting her growing brain or how important her mother’s unemployment benefits were a year ago in ensuring she went to her last doctor’s visit?

Read more of The Post's April cover story, which features Kelli Komro, Ph.D., Alexander Wagenaar, Ph.D., Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., Melissa Bright, Ph.D., and Lindsay Thompson, M.D., M.S.»

HOP Professor’s Endorsement Featured in Anthony Biglan’s The Nurture Effect

Anthony Biglan’s new book The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives & Our World features an endorsement from Kelli Komro, Ph.D., MPH, professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy. Biglan is a senior scientist at Oregon Research Institute and a leader in the development of prevention science.

“Anthony Biglan’s book is an important introduction to the science behind creating nurturing environments for youth,” said Komro, who is also the associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy. “Moreover, this book is aimed at general readers, which will give more people access to this crucial information.”  READ MORE »

HOP Scientific Partnership with the Cherokee Nation Featured at Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting

A collaborative research team of individuals from the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health will present their recent research results on underage alcohol use at the Society for Prevention Research 23rd Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 26-29.  READ MORE »

NIH-Funded Underage Drinking Prevention Trial with the Cherokee Nation Marks Intervention Completion in June

Project Update: NIH-Funded Underage Drinking Prevention Trial with the Cherokee Nation Marks Intervention Completion in June

The NIH-funded intervention efforts to reduce underage alcohol use in rural towns in northeastern Oklahoma, which was a unique collaboration between researchers in the Cherokee Nation and the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, will come to a close in June.  READ MORE »

Helping the Most Vulnerable

Much of our research is dedicated to assisting the most vulnerable populations, including children, adults with multiple conditions, and populations on Medicaid or with historic health disparities, such as Native Americans.

Campaign Increases First-time Mouth and Throat Cancer Screenings among Low-income Rural Floridians

Raising awareness of the dangers of mouth and throat cancer increased the number of black men in some of Florida’s poorest counties who sought screening for the first time, opening the door to improved survival rates through early detection and treatment, UF Health researchers report.  READ MORE »

HOP Press Release on Mouth and Throat Cancer Screenings Picked Up by American Dental Association, Science Newsline, Health Canal, and More

A press release featuring results from a research team with Yi Guo, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, on mouth and throat cancer screenings among low-income, rural Floridians was picked up by ADA News, the American Dental Association’s official publication, which has a readership of 235,500 people, in May.  READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Contribute to Handbook of Adolescent Drug Use Prevention

HOP Faculty Contribute to Handbook of Adolescent Drug Use Prevention

Sarah Lynne-Landsman, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, and Alexander Wagenaar, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, co-authored a chapter in the Handbook of Adolescent Drug Use Prevention, a compendium of theory, research, and methods related to adolescent drug use prevention.  READ MORE »

HOP Professor’s Research Proposal Awarded Informatics Institute Seed Funding

Chris Delcher, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was recently selected to receive one-year, $50,000 seed funding for his research proposal, “New Collaboration to Increase the Development of Computable Phenotypes for Improving Health Outcomes.”  READ MORE »

Up the Hill

HOP Faculty Spoke at Student Data Science and Informatics Organization Symposium

François Modave, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, and Jiang Bian, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, discussed UF’s informatics research at the Data Science and Informatics Student Organization’s symposium on April 14.  READ MORE »

Education

Thus far, the semester has contained several pieces of positive news regarding the department's educational endeavors, including student successes and ramping up the department's recruitment efforts.

HOP M.D.-Ph.D. Student to Give Several Presentation on Impulse Control Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease Patients

HOP M.D.-Ph.D. Student to Give Several Presentation on Impulse Control Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Justin Rossi, an M.D.-Ph.D. student in the Departments of Neuroscience and Health Outcomes & Policy, has recently garnered several opportunities to present his burgeoning interdisciplinary research on impulse control disorders (ICDs) in Parkinson’s disease patients and their health outcomes.  READ MORE »

HOP Faculty and ICHP Affiliate Faculty Participate in the 2015 Medical Student Research Program

In an effort to expose medical students to the research conducted in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy early in their careers, faculty members, including William Hogan, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy; Melissa Bright, Ph.D., assistant research scientist in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy; and Lindsay Thompson, M.D., M.S., associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and assistant director of clinical research in the Institute for Child Health Policy, are offering mentored research experiences for medical students this summer through the College of Medicine’s Medical Student Research Program (MSRP).  READ MORE »

HOP Master’s Students Successfully Defend Theses

Leandra Stubbs, a master’s student in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, and Steve Newell, a recent graduate of the doctoral program in the Department of Psychology and master’s student in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, successfully defended their individual theses in early June.  READ MORE »

HOP Student Accepts Fellowship with the SPSSI and AAAS

HOP Student Accepts Fellowship with the SPSSI and AAAS

Recent HOP graduate Steve Newell, Ph.D., has accepted a fellowship with the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and will be speaking at SPSSI’s new conference, A Road Less Traveled: Forging Links between Psychological Science and Social Policy, in June.  READ MORE »

HOP Recruitment at Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting

Alana Christou, MPH, education and research administrator in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, and Lindsay Thompson, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and assistant director of clinical research in the Institute for Child Health Policy, attended the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting April 25-28 in San Diego, Calif., to present the department’s latest educational opportunities to physicians and health care professionals interested in pediatric outcomes research.  READ MORE »

Post-Doc and Affiliate News

UF Early Childhood Expert Named Zucker Professor in Center for Excellence

Maureen Conroy, Ph.D., an early childhood expert and professor in the University of Florida College of Education, has been named the Anita Zucker Professor in Early Childhood Studies. Conroy, who co-directs the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies at UF and is an ICHP affiliate, is working with other center researchers to transform science, policy and practices in early childhood. READ MORE »

ICHP Affiliate Faculty Member Speaks at Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting

Lindsay Thompson, M.D., M.S., associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and assistant director of clinical research in the Institute for Child Health Policy, spoke at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif., on April 26. Her presentation was on the creation of an adolescent patient portal, which is part of a pilot project started at UF to allow confidential communication between teens and their health care providers.  READ MORE »

HOP Postdoctoral Fellow Receives Society for Prevention Research Travel Award

The Society for Prevention Research and the American Indian and Alaska Native Coordinating Committee of the National Institute on Drug Abuse have selected Brady Garrett, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and counseling psychologist intern with Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health, to receive money towards the expenses associated with attending the SPR 23rd Annual Meeting and presenting at the research forum. The travel award aims to assist junior investigators early in their careers.

“I’m really excited and fortunate to have received the NIDA travel award to attend SPR,” Garrett said. “Not only does it help to offset the cost of attending the conference, but it will also connect me with top prevention scientists who have conducted research on topics and areas that strongly align with my own research interests. Attending SPR will be an exciting learning experience for me as an aspiring prevention scientist.”

Recent Publications

Alexander C. Wagenaar, Melvin D. Livingston, and Stephanie A. Staras. Effects of a 2009 Illinois Alcohol Tax Increase on Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes. American Journal of Public Health. [Epub ahead of print].

Ashby F. Walker, Cathryn Johnson, Desmond A. Schatz, Janet H. Silverstein, Shannon Lyles, and Henry J. Rohrs. Using Photography as a Method to Explore Adolescent Challenges and Resilience in Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Spectrum May 2015 28:2 92-98.

Bradley H. Wagenaar, Kenneth Sherr, Quinhas Fernandes, and Alexander C. Wagenaar. Using routine health information systems for well-designed health evaluations in low- and middle-income countries. Health Policy and Planning. [Epub ahead of print].

Chris Delcher, Alexander C. Wagenaar, Bruce A. Goldberg, Robert L. Cook, Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina. Abrupt decline in oxycodone-caused mortality after implementation of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 50:63-8.

Stephanie A. Staras, Susan T. Vadaparampil, Melvin D. Livingston, Lindsay A. Thompson, Ashley H. Sanders, and Elizabeth A. Shenkman. Increasing human papillomavirus vaccine initiation among publicly insured Florida adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. 56(5), 40-6. 

Take a Walk with Your HOP Coworkers Every Other Tuesday

Enjoy a 2-mile loop through UF and Shands and meet up with fellow HOP team members along the way!

For more information contact your building’s group leader(s):
1329: Liz Manini: lmanini@ufl.edu & Alana Christou: amc417@ufl.edu
CTRB: Katie Eddleton: keddleton@ufl.edu
Modular: Meggen Kaufmann: mkaufmann@ufl.edu

New Faculty

Ramzi Salloum

Assistant Professor

Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., is a new assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy. Salloum was trained in health economics and cancer care quality research and focuses on understanding how individuals make decisions related to health and health care in the context of cancer prevention and control. He was born in Senegal and raised in Lebanon before moving to Florida for college. Ramzi enjoys traveling with his wife, Sandra, and his two children, Alyssa and Kinan.

Salloum is also featured in Improving Health Care regarding being selected to join the NCI Cancer Research Network's 2015 Scholar Cohort.

Amanda Hicks

Assistant Professor

Amanda Hicks, Ph.D., is a new assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and will join Bill Hogan, Ph.D., to develop the Biomedical Informatics Program at the University of Florida. Amanda received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University at Buffalo.  She has been developing ontologies since 2008, when she was a research scientist at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Humanities and Sciences. In addition to her interests in the history and philosophy of science and logic, Amanda also enjoys ceramics.

New Staff

Robert Albury

Research Program/Services Coordinator

Robert Albury is a new research coordinator for the Texas DADS Quality of Care Project. Albury comes to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy from the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogen Institute, where he worked as a research coordinator for the One Health Center of Excellence. Albury has also held previous positions with the North Carolina Division of Public Health. In his free time, he enjoys the wilderness, sports, and science fiction.

Irina Bondoc

Research Coordinator

Irina Bondoc is the new research coordinator for the Texas EQRO. Bondoc has a M.S. in Health Education and Behavior and worked as a research assistant for the Texas EQRO team for more than a year. Prior to her position with the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, she worked as a program assistant for the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. In her free time, Irina enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and gardening.

Josh Hanna

Staff Scientist

Josh Hanna is the new staff scientist in the Biomedical Informatics Program led by Dr. William Hogan. Previously, Josh worked with Dr. Hogan at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where he supervised all of the IT resources of the Division of Biomedical Informatics. Currently, he works with the Biomedical Informatics Program faculty on their research initiatives, such as the OneFlorida Data Trust and the MIDAS Informatics Services Group. His research background is in biology, bioinformatics, medical informatics, and research software development.In his free time (HA!), he enjoys failing to learn guitar, reading far too much about new technology, and yearning to finish his Ph.D.

Jennifer Kuminka

Research Services Coordinator

Jennifer Kuminka is the new administrative coordinator with the Texas ICHP team in the College of Medicine. Before her current position, Jennifer was employed at the UF Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, where she worked as a research assistant. Having lived in Gainesville most of her life, Jennifer is a Gator at heart. She also received her Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising from UF. In her spare time, she enjoys time with her family and getting to the beach as much as possible.

William Lentzsch

Research Services Coordinator

William (Bill) Lentzsch, who has a newly minted M.P.H. in Management and Policy, was hired as a coordinator of administrative services working on the EQRO project. Bill comes to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy from the Department of Pediatrics, where he served for almost 20 years working with the Early Steps program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities. Bill enjoys policy analysis, sports, travel, and amusement parks.

Jiawei Li

Statistical Coordinator

Jiawei Li is the new statistical research coordinator for the Family Data Center. Jiawei earned his master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from University of Florida in 2012. Before coming to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, he worked as a research coordinator for Health Services Research, Management and Policy. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and basketball.

Yingshuang Liu

OPS Programmer

Yingshuang Liu is the new research coordinator for Ranka Deepa. Yingshuang recently completed her three-month internship with ICHP and will continue to serve the institute as a full-time employee following her graduation from UF in May.  Before coming to UF, Yingshuang worked as an information engineer and data analyst at her previous positions in China.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling and watching movies.

Justine Pierson

Research Services Coordinator

Justine Pierson is the new research coordinator for Dr. Chris Delcher. She comes to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy from the Department of Surgery, where she worked as a research coordinator and data analyst on numerous retrospective research studies and a clinical trial for scar remodeling and prevention. Justine has held previous positions at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center and Sarkis Clinical Trials. With her hands full with an 8-month-old, two dogs and a cat, she doesn’t have a lot of free time, but when she does, she likes to run, play the piano and play tennis.

Matt Diller

Student Research Assistant

Matt Diller is a new research assistant for Dr. William Hogan in the Biomedical Informatics Program. He assists with the development of science-based ontologies that help improve scientists' and health professionals' access to scientific data. Diller holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Florida and plans to apply to the Biomedical Informatics Certificate Program.

Michelle Duong

Student Research Assistant

Michelle Duong is the new research assistant for Dr. Delcher. Duong is a second-year undergraduate student in the pre-pharmacy track at the University of Florida and is assisting in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy. She also volunteers in the Central Pharmacy at Shands Hospital. She likes to be active during her free time, doing things like martial arts or taking walks.

Sarah Gold

Student Research Assistant

Sarah Gold is the new research assistant for Keith Muller. Sarah is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing a degree in statistics. She is also in the ROTC program, and upon graduation, she will become an officer in the United States Air Force. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

Maria Mejia

Student Research Assistant

Maria Mejia is a new research assistant for Dr. Walker. Mejia's passion and commitment to community service and social justice has guided her towards pursuing a bachelor’s degree in family, youth, and community sciences and a minor in health disparities in society. Mejia aspires to become a pediatrician who, with a nonprofit organization in Guatemala, provides health care for underserved children. In her free time, she enjoys running and painting.

Chelsea Valenzuela

Student Research Assistant

Chelsea Valenzuela is one of the new research assistants for Dr. Delcher. Valenzuela is a second-year undergraduate student currently majoring in microbiology and minoring in health disparities in society. She enjoys reading, and in her free time, she fences with the UF Fencing Club.

Feedback

If you have an accomplishment you would like to share, an idea for a future newsletter, or would like to provide feedback on this newsletter, please contact Elizabeth Hillaker Downs, director of communications for ICHP and HOP. You can click here to fill out a feedback form.