Dean’s Message

Dean Michael G. Perri

The University of Florida has a long history of serving the people of Florida and the nation. Now with the addition of new faculty members and projects, our college has been able to spread our reach beyond U.S. borders.

Dr. Linda Cottler, chair of the department of epidemiology, leads a new program funded by a grant from the NIH’s Fogarty International Center that will bring together UF and Indian partners for behavioral health training and research projects. Dr. Cottler’s previous work in India has laid the foundation for us to develop countless research and educational partnerships between UF and Indian colleagues. Dr. Cottler has also recently received a new grant to study drug use among residents of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Dr. Richard Rheingans, an associate professor in the department of environmental and global health, studies interventions to improve water quality and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest countries. His research is one of many international projects in the department of environmental and global health, chaired by Dr. Gregory Gray. Dr. Gray is an expert on diseases that can spread between animals and humans, and he leads influenza studies in Cambodia, Thailand, Nigeria, Romania, and Mongolia, and collaborates with researchers in Georgia and Australia. Dr. Ira Longini, a professor in the department of biostatistics, also conducts research related to influenza and has investigated how drug-resistant strains of the virus have spread throughout the world.

In South Africa, Dr. William Latimer, the chair of the department of clinical and health psychology, begins a new study of the therapy he developed, Integrated Family and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, as an HIV prevention tool. Dr. James Hall, a professor in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences, also serves on the faculty at South Africa’s University of Pretoria, where he conducts ongoing studies on noise-induced hearing loss. 

Several students and faculty members conduct annual education and service trips: Drs. Alice Holmes and Scott Griffiths lead audiology groups to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Dr. Alba Amaya-Burns directs public health teams working in El Salvador and Guatemala, and Drs. Mark Bishop and Terese Chmielewski lead physical therapy groups to Nicaragua.

And, our work continues in Haiti. As you saw in our cover story, we have opened the UF Public Health Laboratory and have several other projects underway. Edsel Redden and Drs. Afsar Ali and Bernard Okech are key members of our A Better Tomorrow for Haiti initiative.

Impacting the health of people in other countries is just one of the reasons international programs are important to our college. Working with international colleagues also enhances our students’ educational experiences and makes us better researchers, clinicians and world citizens.