The College of Public Health and Health Professions recognized 14 graduates with 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards. These graduates will be recognized at a virtual celebration for Outstanding Alumni award winners on September 24. Four of the honorees received MPH degrees:
Trevor Lentz is a three-time UF College of Public Health and Health Professions graduate with a Master of Physical Therapy (2006), Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management (2016) and PhD in Rehabilitation Science (2017). He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine, and a faculty member in the Duke Clinical Research Institute and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. His work focuses on health care system redesign to improve outcomes and reduce opioid use for patients following orthopedic injury and surgery.
Chad Neilsen is the Director of Accreditation and Infection Prevention at UF Health Jacksonville, and a faculty member for the UF College of Medicine in Jacksonville, where he is responsible for oversight of the facility’s federal accreditation and UF Health Jacksonville’s response to COVID-19. His infection prevention leadership was nationally recognized by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology in 2019. Additionally, he serves as a Public Health Officer for the Florida Air National Guard, based at the 125th Fighter Wing in Jacksonville. His role has included oversight of numerous public health outbreak responses, including Ebola in 2014, and more recently, when he deployed to the State of Florida Emergency Operations Center to augment the State Surgeon General’s response to COVID-19. His work with the Florida Air National Guard in 2020 earned him the Air National Guard’s Biomedical Science Corp Company Grade Officer of the Year award, among other state and local awards. He has also become a public educator for COVID-19, appearing in dozens of local, national and international media pieces since the pandemic began. Outside of his current work with COVID-19, he is also involved in research, primarily investigating the use of genomic sequencing as a tool for preventing hospital acquired infections.
Steven Peterson is a biologist at the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs in Washington, D.C. He is responsible for leading the re-evaluation process that ensures pesticides continue to meet the statutory standards for protecting human health and the environment. Prior to joining the EPA, he served as a Health Extension Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Tanzania, where he collaborated with community members to implement health projects at the community’s clinic and secondary school.
Kathryn Ross graduated with her PhD from the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology in 2013. After graduation, she completed her clinical internship and an NIH-funded F32 postdoctoral fellowship at the Brown Clinical Psychology Training Consortium and the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital. She then joined the faculty at the Weight Control & Diabetes Research Center and the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. In the summer of 2016, she moved back to Gainesville to join the faculty in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology and Social and Behavioral Sciences Program in Public Health at UF. She is currently an Associate Professor at UF, where she teaches, mentors graduate students, and conducts research focused on health promotion and behavioral approaches to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.