We believe our students are some of the nation’s very best. They are incredibly bright, creative and compassionate. They enroll in our college with a number of accomplishments already under their belts and they continue to make impressive contributions throughout their academic careers. It’s no wonder that by the time they graduate, our students are highly sought-after by employers and graduate programs.
In this issue we feature three of our spring graduates who have made an impact at the local, state and national levels during their time as PHHP studens. I’d like to highlight a few other current students and recent graduates who are already making a difference. We can’t wait to see what they do next.
Meryl Alappattu, doctorate in physical therapy ’08 and doctorate in rehabilitation science ’14, was elected director of research for the American Physical Therapy Association’s Section on Women’s Health. In this role, she oversees all the section’s research activities, including grant submissions and research recognitions, and she works with the Foundation for Physical Therapy and other groups to increase research funding.
Lindsey Dhans, a 2012 graduate of the master’s in occupational therapy program, along with a team of current UF OT students, established an equal access occupational therapy clinic for Gainesville residents who are uninsured or underinsured. It is the first such clinic in Florida and one of only four in the U.S.
Our master’s in public health students complete internships that take them all over the state, country and to international locations. Sadaf Milani, an MPH student in the epidemiology concentration, had the unique opportunity to spend a semester working in Switzerland at the World Health Organization. She worked with WHO’s Global Malaria Programme to communicate and promote the adoption of evidence-based standards, policies and guidelines for malaria control.
When the power went out at one of their hearing testing sites in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Erika Ortiz and Chrisanda Sanchez, doctorate in audiology students and Project Yucatan team leaders, turned to tablet-based audiometry applications to test participants’ hearing. Back home, they decided to evaluate the apps’ reliability and validity and they received funding from the American Academy of Audiology to support their research. They found that the apps are reliable and valid measures for clinic settings and hold potential for improving access to care in remote areas. Their work garnered the AAA’s James Jerger Award for Outstanding Student Research.
Adam Reid, a student in the clinical psychology doctoral program and epidemiology master’s program, received the Distinguished Graduate Student in Professional Psychology award from the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students for his work with Free Therapy Night, which is believed to be the only student-run clinic in the U.S. that provides free psychological services. He will present an award address at APA’s annual conference in Toronto in August on the importance of increasing access to mental health care for patients who are underserved.
Anna Yam, a 2014 graduate of the clinical psychology doctoral program, authored an article that challenges the commonly-held belief that skills of everyday cognition, such as paying bills or reading a nutrition label, remain relatively stable in older adults. Her paper was published as the lead article in an issue dedicated to cognitive aging research in Neuropsychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association.
These individuals are just a small sampling of our remarkable alumni and students. We have no doubt that the future of public health and health care is in good hands!