The public health academic staff welcomes you!
Julia R. Varnes, PhD, MPH, MCHES is the director of the Master of Public Health Program for the College of Public Health and Health Professions, and a Clinical Associate Professor with the Department of Health Services Research, Management, and Policy as well as faculty within the Social and Behavioral Sciences concentration. She is also an affiliate professor with the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research. Dr. Varnes received her PhD in health behavior, with a minor in research and evaluation methodology, from the University of Florida. Dr. Varnes holds two masters degrees, one in health education (UF), and one in public health (University of Maryland, College Park).
Dr. Varnes has worked in college health at UF for nearly 15 years, first as a public health practitioner with UF’s Area Health Education Program (AHEC) and later with GatorWell Health Promotion Services. She joined UF as faculty in 2014, and joined the College of PHHP in 2021. Dr. Varnes is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), and also a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT).
Focusing on psychosocial health, Dr. Varnes’s research and academic interests are specific to interpersonal violence, objectification, and gender role expectations; inclusivity and accessibility for persons with disabilities; and professional preparation. In her teaching, advising, and mentoring, she aims to instill concepts of empowerment, compassion, acceptance, and cultural competency/humility in future professionals.
Telisha is a triple Gator with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the UF Department of Health Education and Behavior as well as a Master’s of Arts from the UF Department of Sociology. She has been with the MPH program since October 2011 and currently serves as the Academic Advisor for both campus and online MPH students. She advises MPH students on their plans of study for completion of the MPH and other curriculum and program related requirements.
Olivia is the Academic Assistant for UF’s Masters in Public Health program. Her duties include answering prospective students’ admission questions, offering enrollment support to current students, assisting students register for their coursework, and managing the ProSeries Canvas course. She also supports the preparation of the MPH program’s schedule of courses and updates the website. She earned both a BFA in Studio Art and an undergraduate certificate in Arts in Medicine from the University of Florida in 2018.
Olivia has over two years of professional experience working for both the Center for Arts in Medicine and UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine (AIM). She also volunteered with Shands AIM in both clinical and community settings throughout her upperclassmen years at UF. As an AIM practicum student, Olivia developed an interdisciplinary program called Painting with Poetry that she offered at the bedside to patients on the orthopedic unit at Shands Cancer Hospital and at weekly workshops at Oak Hammock, a local assisted living facility affiliated with the University of Florida. While she facilitated the bedside and workshop practices with different approaches, Olivia found that patients and assisted living residents were more likely to participate when offered more than one avenue for creativity. In 2020 Olivia also served as a literary artist in residence for Shands AIM. During her residence, she developed poetry + creative writing resources and facilitated personalized literary arts engagements for patients at their bedside.
Aubrey is the Admissions Coordinator for the MPH Program. She processes applications for students interested in the Masters of Public Health or Graduate Certificate in Public Health. In addition to serving as the link between applicants and the program’s concentration coordinators, she also is a point-of-contact for students interested in our curriculum.
In addition, Aubrey also offers administrative support to Dr. Cindy Prins, Assistant Dean for Educational Affairs and Dr. Julia Varnes, MPH Program Director.
Karina E Wilson MPH
Karina is a Double-Gator, who graduated from the Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Public Health Program at the University of Florida. Karina is the Applied Practice Experience (APE) and Outreach Coordinator for the Master of Public Health Program. Some of her responsibilities include serving as a primary point of contact for current and potential internship sites, maintaining contact with preceptors during APE/internship placements, communicating (through multiple modalities) with students, faculty, and internship preceptors about the process of identifying and securing an APE, and reviewing students’ internship work plans, product proposals, and final products for competency alignment.
In addition to APE, Karina serves as a professional public health representative to the community through participation in public health community events and meetings. She also manages multiple aspects of outreach for public health programs, including (but not limited to) engaging alumni, identifying community collaboration opportunities, and engaging in limited attendance at local, regional, and national events/conferences to promote and represent public health programs.
Andre is the Academic Advisor for the Master of Public Health Programs, assisting students with last names beginning with the letter G through Z and combined bachelor’s/MPH degree students. His duties include meeting students for the Plan of Study, course selection, and other academic advising needs. Andre is also an admission coordinator, where his responsibilities include answering prospective student questions about the process, managing the SOPHAS application materials, and meeting with students about program logistics. Andre earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography with an undergraduate certificate in Climatology and Meteorology from the University of Florida in 2015. In addition, Andre is working on his Master of Science in Management degree here at the University of Florida.
Andre has over seven years of professional experience working in Higher Education. Andre started working for the UF Housing and Residence Education department as a desk receptionist. He was responsible for managing the area desk operations, which included delivering and receiving packages, answering family inquiries about housing options, and giving tours. In 2018, Andre worked in the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships department. He worked with prospective students and families on financial aid, managing a call center team of 30 students and two full-time employees, giving presentations to incoming students and families at Preview, and doing outreaches to recruit students. Andre’s recent experience comes from working as a dedicated financial aid advisor to students at the Hough Graduate School of Business. His responsibilities include: presenting information on financial assistance to 900 students annually, assisting with coordinating events and projects, meeting with students about their financial aid awards, and training financial aid staff on financial aid processes and procedures.