Title: PHHP news
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089847/00021
 Material Information
Title: PHHP news
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: College of Public Health and Health Professions
Publisher: College of Public Health and Health Professions
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Fall 2009
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089847
Volume ID: VID00021
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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FALL 2009








By Jill Pease
Bpublic health

he University of Florida College of Public
Health and Health Professions has been
awarded five-year accreditation as a school
of public health by the Council on Education
for Public Health, an independent agency
recognized by the U.S. Department of Educa-
tion. The college joins only 41 other U.S. universities that have
received accreditation in public health at the college level.
"Our college has developed a unique educational model
that promotes collaboration across public health and health
professions disciplines, two areas that have traditionally oper-
ated independently of each other," said Michael G. Perri, Ph.D.,
dean of the college. "By combining the public health focus on
populations and prevention with the individual treatment per-
spective of the health professions, we have created important
synergies in education, research and service. Our ultimate goal
is to improve people's lives by promoting healthy lifestyles and
addressing critical issues, such as the health needs of a grow-
ing population of older adults and the prevention and control of
outbreaks of infectious diseases."
The collaborative missions of the College of Public Health
and Health Professions are critical to the future of UF's entire
health care enterprise, said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D.,
senior vice president for health affairs and president of the
UF&Shands Health System.

"Research in the college .-p.'l.e 1, 1, I-_ i. . i. I.I ii .I.
behavioral and health services I p li l.:. ll '. -.i ,.i I Ilic he
national focus on improving heali ..Ie ...,_ .Ir..I .ii.,iII ,ii a
cost-effective manner, and the training of health professionals
in key areas of need promotes high-quality care at Shands and
at other health care facilities in the state," Guzick said. "Ac-
creditation by the national certifying body gives well-deserved
recognition to Dean Perri and his faculty for the excellence of
their college."

"Our college has developed a unique
educational model that promotes
collaboration across public health and
health professions disciplines, two
areas that have traditionally operated
independently of each other."
Michael G. Perri, Ph.D.


Accreditation celebration
Sept. 24, 2009

1. Dean Michael Perri thanked administrators, faculty
and staff for their contributions throughout the
accreditation process.
2. Special guest Donna Petersen, dean of the
University of South Florida College of Public Health,
congratulated the college on becoming one of only 41
accredited schools of public health in the nation.
3. Dean Emeritus Richard Gutekunst with Tom
Belcuore, former director of the Alachua County Health
Department and John Montgomery, senior medical
director, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida.
4. Barbara Richardson, program director of the UF
Area Health Education Centers and chair of the
college's Public Health External Advisory Committee
with occupational therapy department Chair William
Mann and Gwen Mann.
5. Nabih Asal, an epidemiology professor, Megan Witte
a post-doctoral associate, and Sherrilene Classen, an 4
assistant professor in occupational therapy.

To develop a new public health enterprise, the college
established departments of epidemiology and biostatistics; envi-
ronmental and global health; and behavioral science and com-
munity health. The College of Public Health and Health Profes-
sions also added two Ph.D. programs, one in epidemiology in
conjunction with the UF College of Medicine and the other in
biostatistics. The college expanded the Master of Public Health
degree concentrations and added a distance-learning certificate "
program, and will launch an online MPH degree in January.
These programs complement the college's existing nationally 1
recognized academic programs. *


Michael G. Perri named PHHP dean

ichael G. Perri, Ph.D., has
been named dean of the
University of Florida College 1
of Public Health and Health
Perri joined the college's
faculty in 1990 and has served as the interim dean since
June 2007. A professor in the department of clinical and
health psychology, Perri has held several administra-
tive positions in the college including associate dean for
research and head of the health psychology division.
"Under the leadership of (Nursing dean and associ-
ate provost) Kathleen Long, Ph.D., R.N., as chair of the
search committee, we conducted a vigorous national Dr.
search for this critical position at the Health Science Center
and University of Florida," said Joseph Glover, Ph.D., provost
and senior vice president for academic affairs. "After reviewing
an extremely strong field of finalists, the search committee was
uniformly supportive of Dr. Perri as the best fit for the next dean
of the College of Public Health and Health Professions. I enthu-
siastically concur."
Perri's research findings have had a significant impact on
theory, research and clinical care related to behavioral treatment
of obesity. He has contributed to
more than 120 scientific publications
and has served as principal investiga- "After reviewing an
tor or co-investigator for more than field of finalists, the
$30 million in research grants and was uniformly supp
contracts from the National Insti-
as the best fit for th
tutes of Health, the Department of
Veterans Affairs and private indus- enthusiastically
try. His current studies involve the
development of effective programs
for the management of obesity in
underserved rural communities. In
2008 Perri received the American Psychological Association's
Samuel M. Turner Award for Distinguished Contributions to
Applied Research in Clinical Psychology.
"UF and its health science center will benefit greatly from
Dr. Perri as the dean of the College of Public Health and Health
Professions," said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice
president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands
Health System. "During his tenure as interim dean, Dr. Perri

Michael G. Perri





successfully spearheaded the college's public health accredi-
tation. He also stabilized a shaky financial foundation and
launched several initiatives to foster collaboration across pub-
lic health and the health professions disciplines, including the
establishment of a funding program for interdisciplinary pilot
studies and the founding of the Florida Trauma Rehabilitation
Center for Returning Military Personnel."
Perri is a diplomat of the American Board of Profes-
sional Psychology and a fellow of
the American Psychological As-
'xtremely strong sociation, the Society of Behavioral

search committee Medicine and the Obesity Society.
rtive of Dr. Perri He was recently appointed associate
Irtive of Dr. Perri
editor of the Journal of Consulting
next dean. I and Clinical Psychology, the leading
"ur." peer-reviewed journal in the field of

Oseph Glover, Ph.D. clinical psychology
Perri earned his doctorate in
Provost . .
clinical psychology from the Uni-
versity of Missouri Columbia.
Before arriving at UF he served on the faculty at the Univer-
sity of Rochester, Indiana University and Fairleigh Dickinson
"I am honored and excited about the opportunity this ap-
pointment presents," Perri said. "The college has accomplished
a tremendous amount over the past five years. We are now at the
starting point to go on to more significant achievements through
our collaborative efforts in education, research and service." 0



Amy Rodriguez, a doctoral student in
the rehabilitation science program, is one
of 15 students to receive a fellowship
from the National Institute on Deafness
and Other Communication Disorders
to attend the 2009 Clinical Aphasiol-
ogy Conference. The fellowship covers
Rodriguez's travel and registration costs
associated with attending the conference,
and provides special mentoring opportu-
nities with senior researchers.

Whitney Walker, a student in the
master's in health administration
program, received a Foster G. McGaw
Graduate Student Scholarship from
the American College of Healthcare
Executives. Walker received $5,000 to
help offset tuition costs, student loans
and other expenses. 0


Senior physical therapy students Arnold Kuypers, Sally Goodwin, Ed Lundgren
and Jan Muzurek received financial aid from the March of Dimes Foundation to
attend the national American Physical Therapy Association meeting in Chicago
in 1969.

Two UF communication science departments

move forward as one

wo University of Florida communication science
departments have joined to form the largest aca-
demic program of its kind in Florida.
The merger of the department of communica-
tion sciences and disorders in the College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences with the department of communicative disorders in the
College of Public Health and Health Professions was announced
in May as part of a series of university cost-cutting measures.
"We worked closely with the dean of the College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences and the chairs of the respective departments
to develop a plan that would eliminate duplication, reduce costs
and produce a merged department with a stronger focus on re-
search and Ph.D. education," said Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean
of the College of Public Health and Health Professions.
The expanded department, located in the College of Public
Health and Health Professions, has 45 faculty members and
offers a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, on-campus and
distance-learning Doctor of Audiology programs, and a Ph.D.

program. U.S. News and World Report ranks the audiology
program 3rd in the nation among AAU public universities and
the speech pathology program is ranked 9th.
The department also delivers a full range of speech and
hearing services through clinics on UF's campus and in the
Gainesville community and continues to partner with Shands
HealthCare for rehabilitation services.
"We couldn't be more excited to be in the College of Public
Health and Health Professions and the Health Science Center,
where the flexibility and clinical research focus allows us to
maximize growth," said Christine Sapienza, Ph.D., who was
named chair of the newly expanded department of communica-
tive disorders after serving as the chair of the department of
communication sciences and disorders in the College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences since 2005. "We are now next to our col-
leagues in PHHP and down the road from the College of Medi-
cine, allowing us to optimize the clinical training model that
should be going on at a university like UE" *



Study: 1 in 5 drinkers is underage, drinks more

and stays later at bar

By Cathy Keen

s many as one in five alcohol-consuming
customers in bars is underage, and underage
patrons tend to stay later at night, according
to a new UF study.
The study is significant because it un-
derscores the dangers of underage drinking,
both to participants and to the wider public.
"That there are a fair number of underage people in the
bars who are intoxicated may have implications for their fu-
ture involvement with alcohol," said Dennis Thombs, Ph.D., a
professor in the college's department of behavioral science and
community health who led the research. "It is helping to set a
pattern of chronic bar drinking for the college years and pos-
sibly beyond."
The new study, published in the Journal of American Col-
lege Health, is unusual in that it obtained breath samples and
interview data from bar-goers as they were leaving rather than
relying on self-report surveys that ask sober students to recall
their alcohol use in the past two weeks or 30 days, Thombs said.
The later it was at night, the
younger the customers were who left
the bar, so that by the time the drink-
ing establishments closed at 2 a.m. the
median age of the exiting patrons was
19 years old, he said. In addition, for
each successive hour the bars were
open a greater share of patrons intend-
ed to drive and their breath-alcohol
Dr. Dennis Thomabs levels increased as the evening wore
on, Thombs said.
The researchers collected information on 305 men and 164
women 92 percent of whom were college students outside
bars in the midtown bar district in Gainesville on four nights in
July and August 2007 between 10 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. Partici-
pants were interviewed as they left the bars and walked out onto
the sidewalks. Then they blew into a hand-held breath-testing
device to determine their blood-alcohol levels. In addition, they
filled out a 15-item survey about their drug use that night and
during the past 30 days. One in five who reported drinking that
night in a bar acknowledged being under the legal drinking age
of 21, Thombs said.
More than half of the participants were highly intoxicated
upon leaving the bar, Thombs said. Fifty-five percent of the men

and 59 percent of the women had blood-alcohol levels of 0.08
- the alcohol level at which a person is considered to be legally
impaired or higher, he said.
Between 10 and 11 p.m. 7.4 percent of those interviewed
between those times intended to drive off within the hour,
compared with 18.8 percent between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m., and
27.2 percent between 12 and 1 a.m., and 38.6 percent between 1
and 2 a.m. After the bars closed, the percentage dropped to 7.9
"As the night goes on it becomes clear that bar patrons in-
tending to drive become more and more intoxicated, underscor-
ing concerns that a great deal of high-risk driving takes place
late at night in campus communities," Thombs said.
A number of measures could be taken to reduce the inci-
dence of intoxicated bar patrons who drive, including setting
earlier last-call times for serving alcohol, eliminating drink
specials late at night and increasing safe ride services, he said. *


New campaign encourages women with

disabilities to get breast cancer screenings

or June, a cancer
survivor, the breast
cancer screening pro-
cess was an "ordeal."
June was born with
cerebral palsy, which 4 .
makes remaining still for mammograms
difficult. In the beginning it was hard to
communicate her needs to health care
"So I finally found a provider who
would listen to me," June said. "Once I
found him I stayed with him for many
June is one of four breast cancer
survivors with physical disabilities who
share their stories in the new public
health campaign, The Right to Know.
A team from the Florida Office on Disability and Health in the
College of Public Health and Health Professions will lead the
campaign in Florida. Designed to fill the need for breast health
education materials targeting women with disabilities, The
Right to Know was developed by the Centers for Disease Con-
trol and Prevention and will be launched initially in four states.
"The ultimate goal of the campaign is to encourage women
with physical disabilities to get regular breast cancer screening
in order to increase early cancer detection and potentially save
lives," said Eva Egensteiner, M.A., C.PH., the campaign project

Women with physical disabilities
are significantly less likely to receive
breast cancer screening than women
without disabilities, according to a
study in the Journal of Cancer Causes
and Control.
"The prospect of lower or less con-
sistent screening rates puts these women
tlS W() 111 it. at risk for late-stage diagnosis and poor
p health outcomes," said Allyson Hall,
Ph.D., an associate professor in the
S.... ... department of health services research,
management and policy "This presents
.7,* a significant public health concern, as
'"I" .;' the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that
O"' n.. nearly one in five women in Florida is
-l living with at least one disability."
The Right to Know campaign ma-
terials, available in English and Spanish, include posters, fliers,
print advertisements, audio files and a tip sheet with informa-
tion on how women with physical disabilities can prepare for a
mammogram. The UF team has also developed specific infor-
mation to help Florida women with disabilities navigate through
obstacles and get screenings. 0
The Right to Know campaign will run in Florida ;1 ... 1,
2012. For more information or to request the free materials,
please visit the campaign Web site at, id i.1,1,, -l. i,,. or call

What's that sound?

James W. Hall III, Ph.D., (left) a clinical professor of audiology
in the department of communicative disorders and an extraordinary
professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, blows a
vuvuzela on the University of Pretoria campus while his colleague
De Wet Swanepoel, Ph.D., measures the horn's decibel levels. The
vuvuzela, whose loud sound has been compared to an elephant's
trumpet or an air horn, is widely popular among fans at South
African soccer matches, despite concern that the noisemaker may
contribute to noise-induced hearing loss. Hall and Swanepoel's
initial findings, which showed vuvuzela output levels above
those recommended for safe exposure, will be published in the
South African Medical Journal. The research is particularly timely
considering South Africa will be hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup,
and as many as half a million soccer fans, next year.


e ANNUAL REPO RT UF College of Public Health and Health Professions
Fiscal year 2008-2009


450- Bachelor's
400- Master's
300-- -- -

250 ---- ----- ----- ----- Total

2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009


Audiology 3
Physical therapy 4
Rehabilitation counseling 5
Occupational therapy 6
Speech-language pathology 9
Health care management 13
Clinical psychology 17








2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009



2004-2005 2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009


2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009


Russell Bauer, Ph.D.
Elected President, International
Neuropsychological Society
Andrea Behrman, Ph.D., P.T.
Catherine Worthingham Fellow,
American Physical Therapy
Babette Brumback, Ph.D.
Awarded tenure
Alba Burns, M.D.
UF International Educator Award
Robert Cook, M.D., M.P.H.
Awarded tenure
Bruce Crosson, Ph.D.
Honorary Professor of Health and
Rehabilitation Sciences,
University of Queensland
Sheila Eyberg, Ph.D.
Distinguished Career Award,
Society for Clinical Child and
Adolescent Psychology
Nicholas Hobbs Award, Society for
Child and Family Policy and Practice
Eileen Fennell, Ph.D.
Lifetime Distinguished
Contribution Award, International
Neuropsychological Society
Steven George, Ph.D., P.T.
John C. Liebeskind Early Career
Scholar Award, American Pain Society
Awarded tenure and promoted to
associate professor
David Fuller, Ph.D.
New Investigator Award, American
Physiological Society
Awarded tenure and promoted to
associate professor
David Janicke, Ph.D.
Awarded tenure and promoted to
associate professor
Steven Kautz, Ph.D.
Named UF Research Foundation
Professor for 2009-2012
Promoted to professor
Patricia Kricos, Ph.D.
Elected President, American Academy
William Mann, Ph.D., O.T.R.
Outstanding Research Mentor Award,
Institute for Learning in Retirement
Christopher McCarty, Ph.D.
Awarded tenure
Mary Ellen Young, Ph.D.
Promoted to clinical associate


New study measures hookah use among

Florida teens

ookah pipe smoking has gained a foot-
hold with Florida teens, according to a
new University of Florida study, which
shows 11 percent of high school students
and 4 percent of middle school students
have tried it.
The findings appear in the November issue of the American
Journal of Public Health. The study was conducted in collabora-
tion with the Florida Department of Health.
Rooted in Middle Eastern culture, hoo-
kah pipes burn charcoal and tobacco, also
known as shisha. Air is drawn through the
tobacco and into the pipe, where it passes
through water.
Hookah smokers commonly but mis-
takenly believe that the pipe is a harmless
alternative to other forms of tobacco smok-
ing, said lead researcher Tracey Barnett,
Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UF
College of Public Health and Health Profes-
sions' department of behavioral science and
community health.
"Users tend to think smoking with a
hookah is safe because they believe the water
in the pipe acts as a filter," Barnett said. "Many
actually don't think that shisha has tobacco, while
others feel it's a more pure form of tobacco that
doesn't have as many chemicals, although there's really
no reason to believe this."
In fact, during a typical 20- to 80-minute hookah session,
users may smoke the equivalent of 100 or more cigarettes,
according to the World Health Organization. Hookah smoking
can deliver 11 times more carbon monoxide than a cigarette, in

"The social nature of hookah smoking

appeals to young people. An 18-year-old
high school senior can't get into clubs

where alcohol is served, but he or she

can legally smoke."
-Tracey Barnett, Ph.D.

addition to high levels of other car-
cinogenic toxins and heavy metals
found in cigarettes. While the water
in the hookah pipes does absorb
some nicotine, researchers believe
smokers are exposed to enough to
cause addiction.
The UF researchers' findings
are based on data from the
2007 Florida Youth Dr. Tracey Barnett
Tobacco Survey, an
anonymous, annual survey administered by the
Florida Department of Health to a random sample
of public middle and high schools. The 2007
survey, completed by 9,000 students, was the first
to include questions about hookah use.
There are at least 100 hookah lounges in
Florida and most have opened in the past few
years, Barnett said. Hookah is typically shared
in groups and smoked with sweetened, flavored
"The social nature of hookah smoking
appeals to young people," Barnett said. "An
18-year-old high school senior can't get into
clubs where alcohol is served, but he or she can
legally smoke."
In addition to overall prevalence of hookah
smoking, the UF researchers found that hookah
usage rates were higher among boys, students
who reported a history of cigarette smoking, and those who
believe that cigarette smoking can relieve stress and help people
feel more comfortable in social situations. Rates also increased
with each advancing grade. Twelfth graders were eight times
more likely to have used a hookah than 6th graders.
"Beliefs about the relative lack of harm associated with
hookah use may also be held by policy-makers, scientists and
the general public. This could explain the slow response to
both restricting hookah use in public settings and mounting a
full-scale research effort to understand its health effects," said
Barbara Curbow, Ph.D., one of the study's co-authors and chair
of the UF department of behavioral science and community
health. "We hope that our work encourages policy-makers and
researchers to become more involved in understanding the
phenomenon." 0


dsel Redden has been volunteering in Haiti for
20 years to assist in the production of protein-
rich foods for young children. Today, 1,800
children a day receive farmed fish and eggs at
the Christianville School in Gressier, Haiti.
But more work needs to be done, said
Redden, director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sci-
ences Putnam County Cooperative Extension Service.
"Public health programs to address issues like malaria,
clean water and latrines are pretty much nonexistent," Redden
said. "I knew the expertise was here at UF to help us with these
Redden recruited faculty from the College of Public Health
and Health Professions and the Interdisciplinary Family Health
program to investigate potential public health projects during a
trip to Haiti in April. Group members toured the Gressier area,
conducted interviews with health professionals and led two
community needs assessment groups with parents. The UF group
then identified four project areas for future trips to Haiti: malaria
detection and screening; clean water assessment; health education
for teachers, parents and children; and health data tracking and
basic medical care for children in a local orphanage.
With input from locals, the UF group named their initiative
"Sant6 pou Lavi," Creole for "Health for Life." *

UF Sant6 pou Lavi team members (kneeling) Andrew
Kane, a PHHP associate professor; (standing left to right)
Michael G. Perri, PHHP's dean; Bernard Okech, a PHHP
research assistant scientist; Edsel Redden, Putnam
County Extension director; Gina Murray, educational
coordinator for Interdisciplinary Family Health; Slande
Celeste, public health internship coordinator; and
Rhondda Waddell, associate director of Interdisciplinary
Family Health.


The science of feelings

UF professor lays foundations in the psychology of emotion

By Laura Mize

eter Lang was on the cusp of earning his
Ph.D. in psychology in the 1950s when the
U.S. military came calling.
He was drafted into the Army. Instead
of finishing his degree then, Lang, now
executive and research director of the Fear
and Anxiety Disorders Clinic in the College of Public Health
and Health Professions and director of the National Institute of
Mental Health's Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention,
served as a clinical psychology technician in the neuropsychia-
try ward of a stateside military hospital.
"I never got out of Fort Knox, Ky.," Lang said of his Army
career. "Of course, many patients were veterans or were active
in the Korean War. (They) wound up as patients with PTSD
(post-traumatic stress disorder) and other mood or anxiety
disorders, although that wasn't the diagnosis at the time."

"You can't ever know another's feelings,

but you can measure what one says,
how one behaves, how the body's

organs react, and increasingly, how

the brain orchestrates this complex

expression of emotion."
Peter Lang, Ph.D.

After the war, Lang finished his Ph.D. and focused initially
on schizophrenia. But a new treatment for fear and anxiety
disorders caught his attention and shifted his focus. "Desensi-
tization therapy," developed by the late Joseph Wolpe, a well-
known South African psychiatrist, involves exposing patients to
an increasing amount of stimuli that cause fear until the patient
is no longer afraid.
"If somebody had a phobia in regard to snakes, then maybe
it would be just writing the word snake," said Lang, also a
graduate research professor in the department of clinical and
health psychology. "And then (Wolpe) would build a hierarchy
with the patient of different situations and then have him or her
imagine them successfully."
Lang tested the new therapy to see if it stood up in a

"We began studies
of systematic desen-
sitization, and they
were probably the first
comprehensive stud-
ies done, certainly the
first studies funded by
NIMH, in behavior
therapy," he said. "They
were quite successful."
Lang continued
to study treatments for
fear and anxiety and
determined that a better
scientific understanding
of emotion was neces-
sary He developed a set
of factors to measure
emotion, which include
language, behavior and
physiology. With the advancement of technology, brain imaging
has become a big part of the study of emotion.
"You can't ever know another's feelings, but you can mea-
sure what one says, how one behaves, how the body's organs
react, and increasingly, how the brain orchestrates this complex
expression of emotion," Lang said.
Greg Miller, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the Uni-
versity of Illinois who studied under Lang, said his former pro-
fessor "has made pioneering contributions in each of these areas
and has provided leadership in how to integrate these different
kinds of data."
Miller said Lang's work in the field has been "extensive
and trend-setting." Lang developed a well-known paradigm
about the startle reflex, which states that a person's mood can
dictate the intensity of his or her reaction when startled. Lang
also developed the International Affective Picture System, a
series of images used in psychological experiments worldwide
that Miller described as the "most commonly used stimulus set"
in emotion research.
Miller said one way Lang affected him was by teaching
him how to think about and organize ideas into research studies.
"What's a wise way to go about testing this idea you
have? What's a really careful way to test a creative idea? I'm
still kind of realizing how much I learned from him about
that," Miller said. 0


Alumna, Vietnamese refugee fi

helping others

By April Frawley Birdwell

he fishing boat was small, just big enough for
the fishermen and the 86 people packed into
the hull, each person lying flat and still to
avoid being seen. If the Vietnamese authorities
caught them, they could be sent to prison or
possibly killed.
Cuc Tran, then 3, huddled on top of her mother's chest. It
was 1988, about 13 years after the fall of Saigon, and Tran's
mother had decided to flee with her tiny daughter. It wasn't the
first time she had tried to escape. Her family thought her choice
was foolish, but attempt after attempt, the schoolteacher and her
daughter kept trying in hopes of finding a better life.
"The communist government oppressed us under their
rule," Tran said. "They tried to control everything our way
of life, our economic situation and our point of view. Having a
50-50 chance at opportunity is much better odds than no chance
at all, and my mother felt that taking the risk was the only op-
tion when faced with the prospect of slowly wasting away under
They almost didn't make it. Miles from shore in the middle of
the ocean, the boat broke down during a typhoon, leaving the pas-
sengers to survive with no water and only powdered porridge to eat.
"We were close to dying when the fishermen from Malay-
sia saved us," Tran said.
Tran's memories of this time in her life are vague snip-
pets from her year in a refugee camp in the Philippines, the
class she took to learn English, the shock of moving to the


United States in
1990 but these
memories, however
fuzzy, have shaped
who she is.
She wants to
help people the
way she has been
helped throughout
her own life. It's
one of the reasons
she chose to pursue
public health.
Now 25, Tran
graduated with a
master's in public
health from the
College of Public
Health and Health

nds solace Professions in Au
gust and is working
for the Emerging
Pathogens Institute
helping lead a proj-
ect to immunize all
of Alachua County's schoolchildren for the flu. The group hopes
to immunize 70 percent of local children.
"No other group has been able to immunize 70 percent.
We're hoping to be the first in the nation," Tran said.
Tran got her start in public health after she joined the Gator
Launch program while a UF undergrad. The career develop-
ment program paired her with a mentor at the Alachua County
Health Department, George Gibbs, a regional project manager
for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who is based
at the health department. Gibbs remembers how Tran jumped in
and was an immediate help to his office, which oversees STD
outreach efforts for 16 counties in North Florida. For her work
there, she received the Gator Launch award for outstanding
mentee, Gibbs said.
"I have met many students and Cuc is in my top 5 percent
of all the students I have
ever mentored," Gibbs
said. "Cuc is very mature,

very impressed with her. im
"I have seen her grow
and develop from a student
to an M.PH. graduate. We're
lucky to have someone like
Cuc in public health now."

Cuc Tran and her mother fled
Vietnam when Tran was a toddler.



Darius goes Gator

PHHP screens movie about Duchenne muscular dystrophy

By April Frawley Birdwell

our years ago, Darius Weems saw the ocean
for the first time. He saw the Grand Can-
yon, too. Every stretch of highway, motel or
restaurant outside of his hometown, Athens,
Ga., was a discovery, actually.
Before Weems, then 15, and a group
of his friends loaded into an RV and headed to California, he
had never been outside of Athens. But the trip wasn't just about
seeing the country, his friends laying a track on the beach so he
could reach the ocean. It was about raising awareness about a
disease that took Weems' brother's life at 19; a disease that will
eventually take his life, too.
Weems has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic
disease that causes a person's muscles to degenerate over time.
The disease almost exclusively affects boys and is always fatal.
Most who have it rarely live past their 20s.
The friends left Athens with a mission to make it to
California and get on the MTV show "Pimp My Ride" in hopes
of having Weems' wheelchair customized, filming their journey
along the way.
On Sept. 10, the College of Public Health and Health
Professions hosted a screening of "Darius Goes West,"
the movie that chronicles Weems' trek across the country
and details what life is like for families facing the disease.

Following the movie, Weems
and the cast and crew
addressed the 1,600-member
audience at the Phillips Center
for the Performing Arts.
"It was such an
inspirational movie, not just
A looking at the fact that Darius
has Duchenne," said Claudia
Senesac, Ph.D., PT, a clinical
assistant professor of physical
therapy and chair of the group
that organized the event.
"These young people banded
together to do something
that not only fulfills many
dreams for Darius but also
brought attention to this
really devastating disease and
shows, really, how one person
can make a difference."
About one of every 3,500 to 6,000 boys has Duchenne,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A genetic snafu sometimes inherited, sometimes spontane-
ous prevents them from producing the protein dystrophin,
Senesac said. Without it, muscle can't keep up with life's wear
and tear.
Gainesville native Dale Ginder, 7, was 5 when doctors
discovered he had Duchenne.
"We just thought he was clumsy. He reached all his de-
velopmental milestones. There were no red flags," said Lelia
Ginder, Dale's mother and a member of the group who brought
"Darius Goes West" to UE "He went out for soccer the year he
was in kindergarten. It was obvious something was wrong when
we compared him to his peers on the field."
Weems has spent the past few years traveling to raise
money and promote the cause. Recently diagnosed with conges-
tive heart failure, he isn't traveling as much but is still commit-
ted to his cause.
"I do not want people to worry about me, I'm fine," he said
in a recent blog on his Web site. "I do not want them to cry, get
down, or worry about my situation. I just want people to con-
tinue helping me carry on my story and cure this disease." 0


alumni UPDAT ES

Dwight Ash, bachelor's in physical therapy '61, is a home
health physical therapist at Northland Lutheran Home Health
in Marinette, Wis. He has served 48 years as an active physi-
cal therapist.

Lawrence Bates, bachelor's in occupational therapy '00,
says hello to his OT classmates and would like to keep in
touch. E-mail him at Iwbates@optimum.net.

Norman Cuadra, master's in rehabilitation counseling '89,
has practiced criminal and family law in the metro-Atlanta
area for the last 14 years. He is also a part-time judge in the
city of Doraville.

Alan Cudney, master's in health administration/master's in
business administration '92, is vice president of professional
services at Curaspan Health Group. Alan, wife Debbie and
two college-age children live in Charlotte, N.C.

Carol Gwin, bachelor's in occupational therapy '69, received
the Roster of Fellow at the 2009 American Occupational
Therapy Association annual conference for her contributions
to the continuing education and professional development of
association members.

Katie Algeo Holeman, bachelor's in physical therapy '99,
and her husband Jason, business administration '93, along
with son Gage welcomed Bryce Ryan to the family on March
5, 2009. They live in Lutz, Fla.

Susan Heling Kaplan, Ph.D.,
M.B.A., O.T./L., bachelor's
and master's in occupational
therapy '77 and '81, has been
promoted to associate dean
for the College of Health and Share your
Social Welfare at the University Submissions will be p
of Alaska Anchorage.

Davidge named PHHP

alumnus of the year

The College of Public Health and Health
Professions recognized Robert C.
"Hap" Davidge as the college's alum-
nus of the year at the spring commence-
ment ceremony.

Davidge, who received a master's in
health administration in 1967, was ap-
pointed president/CEO of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medi-
cal Center in Baton Rouge, La. in 1979. Under his leadership,
Our Lady of the Lake grew to become the largest hospital in the
state with more than 800 acute beds; two subsidiary hospitals;
a network of rural hospitals; its own college; and an extensive
elderly services program. He retired in April 2008.

"We are all like that turtle on a fencepost he didn't get there
by himself," Davidge told the graduates at commencement.
"Look around, especially in education and health care, there is
a universe of people who will back and support others who are
striving to make good things happen. Work hard, help others
and you too can have a successful and satisfying career." 0

news with classmates!
published in the Alumni Updates section of a future issue of PHHP News.

Melissa Schmidt, bachelor's
in physical therapy '88, writes:
"Hey PT Class of '88! Rob Ro-
hack and I made a Facebook
group [UF Physical Therapy
Class of 1988]. Come join! We
would love to hear how every-
one is doing!"

Kathy Wiedenhofer,
bachelor's in health science
'05, graduated from the
physician assistant program
at Drexel University in
Philadelphia and is now back
at UF working as a PA in the
department of aging.








MailtoPHHP News, Dean's Office, PO. Box 100185, Gainesville, FL 32610; fax 352.273.6199; e-mail jpease@phhp.ufl.edu
or post your news online at www.phhp.ufl.edu/alumni


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