Winter/Spring 2016

Letter from the Chair and Director

The Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and the Institute for Child Health Policy have continued to evolve and grow. Not only have we welcomed several new faculty members that will enhance our ability to conduct innovative and rigorous research, but we also recently received permission to launch an M.S. degree program in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Biomedical Informatics.

Our recent faculty additions include experts in tobacco cessation, nutrition, obesity, maternal-child health, and metabolic syndrome, positioning the department to continue to build new research synergies across disciplines throughout the Academic Health Center and the University. For instance, Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor, who has a background in nutrition and obesity research, and François Modave, Ph.D., who has a growing portfolio around mHealth, have recently teamed up and received funding from the UF CTSI to create an app that assists chronically ill patients in managing their diabetes and obesity. In addition, Dominick Lemas, Ph.D., has received funding to examine health outcomes related to C-section births. Our  faculty have really hit the ground running!

I also wanted to extend a special welcome to Matthew J. Gurka, Ph.D., professor, who will serve as the new associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy and who brings a wealth of knowledge to our lifespan research portfolio. Dr. Gurka joined us in November as part of UF Preeminence and is already spearheading strategic planning for the Institute.

All of our faculty and staff — both new and longstanding — have helped to bring us to the forefront of research at UF Health, as highlighted by David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., in a recent “On the Same Page”. Our commitment to rigorous research in implementation science, comparative effectiveness, biomedical informatics and population health has become noteworthy both around UF and nationwide. I invite you to read about all this incredible work — and the attention it is garnering — in the newsletter entries below. 

Betsy Shenkman

---
Associate Chair Named for the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy

Associate Chair Named for the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy

Keith Muller, Ph.D., professor, has been named the associate chair of the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy. READ MORE »

Expert in Biostatistics, Metabolic Syndrome Joins HOP Faculty

Expert in Biostatistics, Metabolic Syndrome Joins HOP Faculty

Matthew J. Gurka, Ph.D., early childhood preeminence professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy,  will serve as the associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy. READ MORE »

---

Upcoming Events

Seminar: Kimberly Shoenbill, M.D., M.S., “From Workflows To Guidelines:  Using Informatics To Expedite Research And Improve Patient Care,” on March 29, from 3-4 p.m. in CTRB 3161. 

Seminar: Heather Allore, Ph.D., “Universal Outcomes of Older Adults: Multiple Conditions & Medications, Disability, and Healthcare Utilization,” on April 20, from 11 a.m.-noon, in CTRB 3161.

Below you'll also find several updates on our research endeavors, divided into four pillars: Improving Health Care Delivery, Advancing Health Research, Leveraging Big Data, 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 our educational programs

---

Improving Health Care Delivery

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 during the past six months.

Dr. Guzick Highlights OneFlorida, Implementation Science, and Comparative Effectiveness Research

Read about the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium’s $7.9 million funding award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and UF Health’s new emphasis on implementation science and comparative effectiveness research, as highlighted in the October column of “On the Same Page” by David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health, here.

HOP Assistant Professor Receives NCI Grant to Help Increase HPV Vaccine Rates among Florida Youths

HOP Assistant Professor Receives NCI Grant to Help Increase HPV Vaccine Rates among Florida Youths

Stephanie Staras, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, received a 2-year, $371,550 Developmental R21 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to fund her research on methods for increasing rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among adolescents in Florida. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Invited to Present at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting

HOP Faculty Invited to Present at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting

Heather Morris, Ph.D., assistant research scientist in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, has been invited to give an oral presentation entitled “Development and Validation of an Instrument to Measure Collaborative Goal Setting in the Care of the Patients with Diabetes” at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting. READ MORE »

Online Calculator for Metabolic Syndrome Launched

Online Calculator for Metabolic Syndrome Launched

Matthew J. Gurka, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and the associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy, has launched a website at UF that offers an online calculator for metabolic syndrome severity scores that can be used by clinicians and researchers. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Invited to Join United States Medical Licensing Examination Committee

HOP Faculty Invited to Join United States Medical Licensing Examination Committee

Matthew Gurka, Ph.D., has accepted an appointment to serve on a committee of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Member Participates in a Panel at the National Academy for State Health Policy Conference

HOP Faculty Member Participates in a Panel at the National Academy for State Health Policy Conference

Ryan Theis, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, participated in a panel entitled “Measuring What Matters: Marrying Individual Outcomes to Aggregate Data in HCBS and Beyond” at the National Academy for State Health Policy Conference, which was held in Dallas, Texas, on October 19-21. 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 six months that demonstrate our commitment to advancing the field.

Dr. Betsy Shenkman Appointed to Co-chair National PCORI Pediatrics Research Group

Dr. Betsy Shenkman Appointed to Co-chair National PCORI Pediatrics Research Group

Building upon years of research in children’s health, pediatric cancer outcomes and health disparities among vulnerable populations, Betsy A. Shenkman, Ph.D., was appointed to serve as national co-chair of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s PCORnet Pediatrics Cross-Cutting Research Group (CCRG). READ MORE »

Ready to Enroll: Short Course in Power and Sample Size for Multilevel and Longitudinal Studies

A new short course for graduate students and researchers on power and sample size for multilevel and longitudinal studies is now being offered by the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute in partnership with the University of Colorado at Denver Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. The course was offered in Denver in January and will be offered in Gainesville in May. READ MORE »

 

Statewide research consortium receives $7.9 million for research to improve patient outcomes

Statewide Research Consortium Receives $7.9 Million for Research to Improve Patient Outcomes

A statewide partnership among the University of Florida, University of Miami, Florida State University, health care systems, health plans, providers and patients was approved for a three-year, $7.9 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI, to support patient-centered health care research throughout Florida and the country. READ MORE » 


A press release about the PCORI funding award was picked up by The Business Journals, which has a circulation of more than 3 million. READ MORE »

Two HOP Faculty Members Selected as NCI Cancer Fellows at Washington University in St. Louis

Two HOP Faculty Members Selected as NCI Cancer Fellows at Washington University in St. Louis

Stephanie Staras, Ph.D., and Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., were two of fourteen named Cancer Fellows in the 2016-2018 cohort of the Mentored Training for Dissemination and Implementation Research program at Washington University in St. Louis. The national program trains researchers in methodologies for conducting dissemination and implementation (D&I) research, which aims to shorten the time it takes for research findings to be incorporated into cancer treatments and cancer prevention interventions. READ MORE »

Delcher Selected to Present on Florida’s Prescription Drug Epidemic Trends at Annual Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta

The National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit has selected Chris Delcher, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, for a panel discussion at the summit on March 28-31 in Atlanta, Georgia. The annual summit is the largest national meeting of professionals impacted by prescription drug abuse and heroin use. A week before the meeting convened, President Barack Obama announced that he would address the summit on March 29.  READ MORE »

2015-08-07_Dr._Michelle_Cardel-0894-Edit

New HOP Faculty Selected as Grand Prize Winner of the American Society of Nutrition’s Young Minority Investigator Award

Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was selected as the 2015 recipient of the American Society of Nutrition’s Grand Prize for Young Minority Investigators. READ MORE »

ICHP Fellow’s Article on Benefits of Fasting Featured in Several News Outlets

ICHP Fellow’s Article on Benefits of Fasting Featured in Several News Outlets

Martin Wegman, an ICHP fellow and M.D.-Ph.D. student in the College of Medicine and the College of Public Health and Health Professions, co-authored an article on the benefits of intermittent fasting that was featured in the journal Rejuvenation Research and picked up by a number of online outlets, including the Huffington Post, Science Daily, and The Conversation. READ MORE »

HOP Study Shows an Increase in Alcohol Tax Appears to Have Decreased Gonorrhea Rates in Maryland by 24 Percent

Increasing state alcohol taxes could help prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea, according to a research team led by Stephanie Staras, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy. The team found that gonorrhea rates decreased by 24 percent in Maryland after the state increased its sales tax on alcohol in 2011. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Member Invited to Speak at the CDC’s 2016 STD Prevention Conference

HOP Faculty Member Invited to Speak at the CDC’s 2016 STD Prevention Conference

Stephanie Staras, Ph.D., has been invited to speak at a plenary session at the 2016 STD Prevention Conference about her recent journal article detailing how an increase in Maryland’s alcohol taxes impacted the state’s sexually transmitted infection rates. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Members’ Article Featured in a Podcast for the American Journal of Public Health

HOP Faculty Members’ Article Featured in a Podcast for the American Journal of Public Health

An article by HOP faculty, Alexander C. Wagenaar, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, and Stephanie Staras, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was featured on the monthly podcast for The American Journal of Public Health with Alfredo Morabia, M.D., Ph.D.  READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Serves on Editorial Boards and Department of Defense Review Panel

HOP Faculty Serves on Editorial Boards and Department of Defense Review Panel

 Mildred Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, has accepted an invitation to serve on the editorial board for Prevention Science, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes research articles on a range of health and social issues, such as substance abuse, mental health, HIV/AIDS, violence, accidents, teenage pregnancy and obesity, among others. READ MORE »

---

Leveraging Big Data

The diverse field of biomedical informatics plays a large role in our research portfolio. Read the entries below to learn more about this growing aspect of our department and institute. 

HOP Faculty Member Writes Two Papers for the International Conference on Biomedical Ontology

HOP Faculty Member Writes Two Papers for the International Conference on Biomedical Ontology

William Hogan, M.D., M.S, professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, co-authored two papers that were presented at the 2015 International Conference on Biomedical Ontology in Lisbon, Portugal, on July 27-30. READ MORE »

Amanda Hicks

HOP Faculty Member Presents Paper at AMIA Conference

Amanda Hicks, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, presented a paper at the American Medical Informatics Association’s 2015 Annual Symposium. The conference was held from November 14-18 in San Francisco, California. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Member Attends mHTI Workshop

HOP Faculty Member Attends mHTI Workshop

François Modave, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was selected to attend the 2015 mHealth Training Institute, an interdisciplinary conference with 30 participants from the behavioral and social sciences; health science specialties; biological, physical or earth sciences; computational science and mathematics; and engineering. READ MORE »

Amanda Hicks

HOP Faculty Has Two Papers Accepted to the Global WordNet Conference

Amanda Hicks, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, had two papers accepted to the Global WordNet Conference, which will be held in Bucharest, Romania, January 27-30. Hicks is the first author of the paper “An Analysis of WordNet’s Coverage of Gender Identity Using Twitter and The National Transgender Discrimination Survey.” READ MORE »

Cardel and Modave Receive a UF CTSI Pilot Project Award to Create App for Diabetes and Obesity

Cardel and Modave Receive a UF CTSI Pilot Project Award to Create App for Diabetes and Obesity

François Modave, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, and Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, received a UF CTSI Translational Pilot Program award to create and test DiaFit, a bilingual English-Spanish mobile app that collects and analyzes multi-source data to help patients with Type II diabetes and obesity understand and manage their chronic conditions. READ MORE »

Free fitness iPhone apps fail to meet American College of Sports Medicine exercise guidelines

Free Fitness iPhone Apps Fail to Meet American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Guidelines

Are you planning to ramp up your exercise regimen? There may not be an app for that — at least not a reliable one, according to a team led by François Modave, Ph.D. READ MORE »

A press release about the fitness app research findings from a team led by François Modave, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was picked up by more than 40 news outlets, including the Washington Post, Shape Magazine, Yahoo, and Health.com, and reached a potential readership of more than 44 million peopleREAD 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 and other racial/ethnic minorities. Read the entries below to learn more about how our faculty is making a positive impact.

HOP Assistant Professor Receives Funding to Investigate Health Consequences of C-section Births

HOP Assistant Professor Receives Funding to Investigate Health Consequences of C-section Births

Dominick Lemas, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was recently awarded $20,000 for his project, “Assessing the Evidence for the Microbiome as a Potential Path for Reducing C-sections and Improving Child Health Outcomes in New York City,” which aims to reduce the rates of medically unnecessary cesarean sections among low-income women and mitigate the long-term health consequences of these births. READ MORE »

ICHP Assistant Director's Research Team Termed “Leaders” in Recent Journal of Adolescent Health Editorial

Lindsay Thompson’s innovative efforts to launch an accessible and confidential patient portal for adolescents and their parents have garnered her team national recognition as “leaders in this space” in a recent editorial in the Journal of Adolescent Health. READ MORE »

New Medicaid Health Care Program for Disabled Adults Improves Aspects of Patients’ Care

A team of researchers including Betsy A. Shenkman, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, and Martin Wegman, an M.D.-Ph.D. student in College of Medicine and the College of Public Health and Health Professions, have found that care linked to heart attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, among disabled adults covered by Medicaid has improved with the expansion of a new health care program in Texas over the last decade. READ MORE » 

This press release has garnered a potential readership of more than 4.3 million people and been picked up by 11 news sites, including Medical News TodayREAD MORE »

Larger and private colleges and universities more likely to attract hookah establishments

Larger and Private Colleges and Universities More Likely to Attract Hookah Establishments

Larger and private colleges and universities seem to attract hookah cafes and lounges, but smoke-free policies decrease these odds, according to findings published by Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. READ MORE »

Local Newspaper Features HOP Expert on Risks of Smoking Hookah

Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., was featured as an expert in “Research shows hookah may not be the safe alternative to cigarettes after all,” in the Independent Florida Alligator. READ MORE »

HOP Research Team's Nutrition Study Reaches Readership of 16 Million People

An article published in The Journal of Nutrition featured results from a research team led by Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was picked up in August by Medical News Today, which has an average of 16 million page views per month. READ MORE »

 

480px-NIH_logo_svg

Summer Presentations on NIH-funded Project with the Cherokee Nation Well Received

Kelli Komro, Ph.D., former associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy at UF, and other members of her research team from the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy discussed preliminary results of their five-year, NIH-funded community-based trial at several venues this past summer. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Member Featured in a Supplement Published by Tobacco Control

HOP Faculty Member Featured in a Supplement Published by Tobacco Control

Ramzi G. Salloum, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was the lead author on a paper, “Cigarette price and other factors associated with brand loyalty in Zambia,” published by Tobacco Control in the supplement Economics of Tobacco Control in July 2015. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Member Featured in a Variety of Media Sources

Since her arrival in August, Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, has made three guest appearances on television stations in Denver, Colorado, and Orlando, Florida. READ MORE »

During the winter holidays, she  made three more guest appearances on Fox 35 News in Orlando. READ MORE »

In an article by Healthday, Cardel, a spokesperson for the Obesity Society, provided expert commentary on how dieters can replace saturated fat with high-quality carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fats.  READ MORE »

Cardel also was featured in an article by WalletHub, “2015’s Best and Worst Foodie Cities for Your Wallet,” where she discussed how to keep a budget while eating out. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty to Present at American Diabetes Association’s 76th Scientific Sessions

HOP Faculty to Present at American Diabetes Association’s 76th Scientific Sessions

Ashby Walker, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, and her colleagues will present “Healthcare Utilization for Publicly Insured Children with Type 1 Diabetes in Florida and Texas” in a moderated poster discussion at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 76th Scientific Sessions in New Orleans on June 10-14. READ MORE »

---

Education

The department's educational endeavors included student successes and approval of a new M.S. degree program!

Biomedical Informatics M.S. Degree Approved

Biomedical Informatics M.S. Degree Approved

The Department of Health Outcomes & Policy’s M.S. in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Biomedical Informatics was approved by UF on November 19. The interdisciplinary program features courses from across the UF campus to familiarize students with the foundational concepts they need for the growing field of biomedical informatics. The goal is to begin recruiting students for Fall 2016. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Member Selected as Exemplary Teacher in the College of Medicine for Second Year in a Row

HOP Faculty Member Selected as Exemplary Teacher in the College of Medicine for Second Year in a Row

Mildred Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D., associate professor and director of training and education in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, will be recognized as an Exemplary Teacher in the College of Medicine for the second year in a row at the annual Medical Education Reception, held March 16, 2016. READ MORE »

AMIA Provides Great Venue to Share Information about Growing BMI Programs

AMIA Provides Great Venue to Share Information about Growing BMI Programs

Several members of the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium as well as representatives from the Biomedical Informatics team attended the most recent American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Annual Symposium in San Francisco, Calif., from Nov. 14-18. READ MORE »

HOP Faculty Provide a Wide Array of Offerings for the 2016 Medical Student Research Program

HOP Faculty Provide a Wide Array of Offerings for the 2016 Medical Student Research Program

Ten faculty members from the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and the Institute for Child Health Policy participated in this year’s Medical Student Research Program (MSRP). READ MORE » 

University Scholars Program Student Published in UF’s Journal of Undergraduate Research

University Scholars Program Student Published in UF’s Journal of Undergraduate Research

Deina Bossa, a current M.D. candidate and former undergraduate participant in the University Scholars Program with the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was published in the Spring 2015 issue of the University of Florida’s Journal of Undergraduate Research. READ MORE »

HOP Student Wins Alongside Team Members at the UF Global Health Case Competition

HOP Student Wins Alongside Team Members at the UF Global Health Case Competition

It takes a village to solve a global health problem.

Sarah Chavez, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy, says this strategy proved to be a winner when she and five teammates applied it to a real-world public health problem in Lagos, Nigeria, during the 2016 UF Global Health Case Competition in January. READ MORE »

---

New Students

A new cohort of students joined the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy in the fall:

Guanming Chen is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy. She received her master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from China Pharmaceutical University. Prior to enrollment in the Ph.D. program here, she had an internship and consulting work at Genentech. Her research projects there included developing a database for oncology patients with organ dysfunction and cassette dosing used in rat brain microdialysis.

Guanming is interested in the big picture of health policy. Her research interests are in health economics and patient-reported outcomes. In the future she would like to investigate cancer-related health outcomes improvement and its utilization in providing affordable treatment plans for patients. Her goal is to help people benefit from the significant amount of new findings in health care research.  READ MORE »

Mathew Diller graduated with a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Florida and currently is working under Dr. William Hogan building biomedical ontologies that support the integration of data and information. In addition, he volunteers at the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases working in the laboratory of Dr. Sylvain Doré. He assists investigations that aim to identify and understand the underlying cellular and molecular pathways that contribute to hemorrhagic stroke outcomes. His ultimate goal would be to combine his interest in analytic philosophy, biomedical informatics, and neuroscience to studying brain function and neurodegeneration. For leisure, Mathew enjoys cooking, gardening, and reading--especially classic fiction and philosophical/political nonfiction. His favorite authors are Ta-Nehisi Coates, Oscar Wilde, Hannah Arendt, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  READ MORE »

Alex Lee is a first year Ph.D. student in Health Outcomes & Policy. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in applied physiology and kinesiology from the University of Florida in May and is a certified exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. As an undergraduate, Alex interned with the Division of General Pediatrics at UF Health and served as a volunteer and director of the leadership team for a student organization that mentors local at-risk K-12 students.

Her research interests include investigating how the education system affects health and implementing interventions that seek to increase physical activity and improve nutrition in children. READ MORE »

 Alyson Listhaus, who currently works as a research coordinator in the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine, is a new student in the biomedical informatics graduate certificate program. She has a master’s degree in health policy and management with a certificate in comparative effectiveness outcomes research. She is interested in clinical decision support and quality/process improvement. READ MORE »

 

Alexander Loiacono is a student in the biomedical informatics graduate certificate program and is currently working on thebiomedical informatics (BMI) team within the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy. His role on the BMI team is to program applications (apps) for the OneFlorida project. In his free time he likes to exercise, ride bikes, and travel. READ MORE »

Shannon Taylor is a new graduate student enrolled in the M.S. degree program in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy. Shannon recently graduated cum laude from the University of Florida with a bachelor of science in biology and a minor in nutritional sciences. Her previous research experience includes work in the University of Florida’s Pediatric Psychology lab, Diabetes Institute, and Institute for Child Health Policy.

Shannon’s research topic focuses on diabetes prevention and implementation of optimal care and management. Currently, she is analyzing diabetic patient adherence to physicians' referral for UF Health’s Diabetes Education Program. As a pre-medical student, Shannon aims to become a research physician who positively impacts the medical community by advocating for preventative care in chronic diseases. READ MORE »

Ms.Cilia Zayas’ work focuses on the impact of health reform on both organizational and patient level-factors, including the delivery and process of care. In 2013, she completed a master’s degree in health care administration at the University of Florida. As a Ph.D. student in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, she will continue to develop her research interests in inter-organizational dynamics between health care delivery organizations, quality, and patient satisfaction. Specifically, her research focused on the federal electronic health record (EHR) incentive program to assess differences in anticipated challenges to meaningful use for hospitals that were successfully earning meaningful-use payments compared to hospitals that intended to participate in the program but were not yet successful. She has also investigated the effect of school-based health care delivery systems on care quality and health outcomes, including patient-level research on the prevalence of pre-diabetes, as well as access-to-care barriers experienced by individuals with disabilities. She is a co-author of a study published in the British Medical Journal Open Access, which was recognized as one of the most accessed articles in 2014. During her free time, Cilia enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to Florida springs, and traveling. READ MORE »

---

Post-Doc and Affiliate News

New HOP Preeminence Faculty Member Featured in Report for Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies

The Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies recently announced several new research affiliates, including Matthew Gurka, Ph.D., the new associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy and the early childhood preeminence professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy. Other new team members include Mary McLean, Ph.D., early childhood preeminence professor in the College of Education; Brian Reichow, Ph.D., associate professor in the College of Education; and Cynthia Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology.

---

Recent Publications

The following faculty publications run through the end of 2015. Publications for 2016 will be covered in the next newsletter.

Guo Yi, Logan HL, Marks JG, Betsy Shenkman. The Relationships among Individual and Regional Smoking, Socioeconomic Status, and Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Survival: A Mediation Analysis. Cancer Medicine. 2015;4(10):1612−1619.

Anthony Biglan, Brian R. Flay, Alexander C. Wagenaar. Commentary on the 2015 SPR Standards of Evidence. Prevention Science. October 2015, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 927-932.

Sarah D. Lynne-Landsman, Terrence K. Kominsky, Melvin D. Livingston, Alexander C. Wagenaar, Kelli A. Komro. Alcohol Sales to Youth: Data from Rural Communities Within the Cherokee Nation. Prevention Science. pp 1-8.

Matthew E. Rossheim, Dennis L. Thombs, Alexander C. Wagenaar, Ziming Xuan, and Subhash Aryal. High Alcohol Concentration Products Associated With Poverty and State Alcohol Policies. American Journal of Public Health. September 2015, Vol. 105, No. 9, pp. 1886-1892.

Bradley H. Wagenaar, Kenneth Sherr, Quinhas Fernandes, Alexander C. Wagenaar. Using routine health information systems for well-designed health evaluations in low- and middle-income countries. Health Policy and Planning. April 2015. 

---

New Faculty

Michelle Cardel

Assistant Professor

Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., is a new assistant professor with a research focus in pediatric obesity and health disparities. Dr. Cardel comes to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy from the University of Colorado Denver, where she was a post-doctoral scholar studying pediatric obesity prevention and treatment programs. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, hiking, and traveling. READ MORE »

Mathew Gurka

Professor

Hired through the UF Preeminence Initiative, Matthew J. Gurka is a new professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy. Previously, Dr. Gurka was the founding chair of the Department of Biostatistics at West Virginia University, where he also directed the Clinical Research Design, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics Core of the West Virginia CTSI. He received his Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He and his wife, Kelly K. Gurka (who joined the faculty in the Department of Epidemiology), have three children (Madeleine, 9 years old; Eleanor, 7 years old; and Jack Henry, nearly 2 years old). In his spare time, Matt likes to run and cook. The entire Gurka family enjoys hiking, (the now shorter!) drives to Disney, and trying new restaurants. READ MORE »

Tanja Laschober

Assistant Research Scientist

Tanja Laschober is a new assistant scientist in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy in the College of Medicine. She works on the Texas Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Evaluation Project. Prior to joining HOP, she worked as a research scientist in the Institute for Behavioral Research at the University of Georgia. READ MORE »

Dominick Lemas

Research Assistant Professor

Dominick Lemas is a new assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy from the University of Colorado Denver. Dominick’s research focuses on understanding the functional implications of gut microflora as well the critical host-microbe interactions that contribute to pediatric obesity. In his free time, Dominick enjoys swimming, hiking and mountain biking. READ MORE »

---

New Staff

Meet some of the new staff members who have joined the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy during the last six months. The following roster includes staff who joined the department from June 2015 through January 2016. Staff who join the department after January 2016 will be introduced in the next newsletter.

Kayla Getz

Research Coordinator

Kayla Getz is the new research coordinator for Ramzi Salloum. Kayla comes to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy from the University of Michigan where she recently earned her MPH in epidemiology. While in Michigan she worked for the University of Michigan Head and Neck Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) as a research assistant.  In her free time she enjoys reading and traveling.

Lauren Gilbert

Research Coordinator

Lauren Gilbert is the new research coordinator with the Texas EQRO. Lauren comes to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy after recently completing her doctorate in sociology and an MPH in health management and policy from the University of Florida. Lauren held several graduate positions during her time at UF, including a graduate teaching assistantship in sociology, a graduate research assistantship in pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, and a graduate internship in the UF Minority Cancer Research and Training (MiCaRT) Center. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and is interested in zombie-based entertainment. 

Rebecca Kofron

Administrative Coordinator

Rebecca Kofron is the new administrative coordinator for Gina Eubanks on the Texas EQRO project. Rebecca comes to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy from Baby Gator Child Development & Research Center. She has held previous positions at the University of Florida for the last three years. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors and reading. Rebecca plans to apply to the Master’s in Public Health program.  

 

Megan Lahman

Administrative Assistant

Megan Lahman is the new medical records review clerk for ICHP/HOP. Lahman comes to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy from the Department of Veterans Affairs work-study program, where she assisted in the veteran hiring process.  Lahman has also held a previous position at Santa Fe College’s Veterans Services Office.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog and going to the beach.

Tona Mendoza

IT Principal

Tona Mendoza is the new software engineer lead working for Biomedical Informatics. Tona comes from the aviation industry, where he worked on different display applications. He has a master’s degree in computer engineering and a bachelor's degree in computer science. In his spare time, he likes running and cycling.

Gerrett Rice

Senior Information Specialist

Gerrett Rice is the new writer and graphic designer with Elizabeth Hillaker Downs' communications team. He has worked in the department for the past year but accepted a full-time position while working on his master’s degree in web design and online communications. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and being outside.

Kelsey Salazar

Research Coordinator

Kelsey Salazar is the new research coordinator for Florida EQRO projects. She also serves as coordinator for Dr. Walker’s research projects. Kelsey is a Gainesville native and University of Florida alumna. She received her MPH from Emory University.

Esaa Samarah

Research Coordinator

Esaa Samarah is the new research coordinator for Dr. Stephanie Staras. Esaa continues his work with the department after serving as a research assistant with Dr. Staras for the past year and a half. During his time as a research assistant, Esaa completed his bachelor's degree in sociology and will continue working  part-time on a master's in social work during his time at ICHP. In his free time, Esaa enjoys surfing, skating, and spear-fishing.

Brian Tisher

Texas State Projects Chief Operating Officer

Brian Tisher joined the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy in July as the chief operating officer for Texas Projects. Brian received his MBA/MHS degree from the University of Florida in 1994 and has a 20+ year background in health care management, holding key leadership positions within various hospital, physician, and consulting entities. Brian enjoys being a father to his teenage daughter and cheering for the Gators.  

Diana Tonnessen

Science Writer

Diana Tonnessen is the technical writer for the Institute for Child Health Policy’s Texas External Quality Review Organization (EQRO). Tonnessen comes to ICHP from The Gainesville Sun, where she worked for 10 years as a magazine editor and feature writer. She previously worked as an independent journalist covering health and science for consumer audiences. Tonnessen has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Florida and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York. In her free time, she enjoys cycling, traveling, and making linoleum block prints. 

Yanning Wang

Statistical Research Coordinator

Yanning Wang is the new statistical research coordinator for Dr. Chris Delcher. Yanning comes to the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy from the Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine, where she worked as a statistical research coordinator on a project adopting a multidisciplinary approach to reduce prescription drug abuse. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and strength and conditioning workouts.

Donnie Weinbrenner

Research Coordinator

Donny Weinbrenner is a new research coordinator with the Florida Healthy Kids Team. Donny comes from the Department of Sociology & Criminology and Law, where he earned his MA. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, making music, and spending time with Nathan, his dachshund, and Peanut, his chinchilla.

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. Click here to fill out a feedback form.