A new type of department

A new type of department

HSC forms cross-college epidemiology department, hires chair

By Jill Pease

Linda Cottler

UF has appointed internationally recognized epidemiologist Linda B. Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., the founding chair of UF’s department of epidemiology, a newly created department administered jointly by the College of Medicine and the College of Public Health and Health Professions.

The department was established in June. It brings together epidemiology faculty from both colleges, to be complemented by the recruitment of new faculty members under Cottler’s leadership.

“This innovative cross-college structure draws on the strengths of both colleges and offers new opportunities for research collaboration and growth of the educational programs,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF’s senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands Health System.

Cottler will begin her UF appointment July 1. She currently serves as a professor of epidemiology in the department of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where she directs the Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group, the Center for Community Based Research and the Master of Psychiatric Epidemiology program.

Cottler’s research has focused on drug and alcohol use and dependence in populations such as injection drug users, criminal offenders, women and African-Americans. A recent study led by Cottler, published last month in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, showed that former NFL players use painkilling opioid drugs at a rate four times higher than the general public.

The department of epidemiology will be housed in UF’s Clinical and Translational Research Building when construction is completed in 2013. The new building is designed to encourage multidisciplinary research across several departments that will share the facility with UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Institute on Aging.

“There will be many opportunities for faculty in this new department and I am excited to be working with my colleagues at the College of Medicine, College of Public Health and Health Professions, the CTSI and throughout UF,” said Cottler, who will also serve as co-director of community engagement for the CTSI. “My goal is to work on the problems that are of the greatest concern to the community and make the department one of the strongest in the country.”