Top Investigators

Giselle Carnaby-Mann (left) and Isaac Sia (right)

Giselle Carnaby-Mann, Ph.D., M.P.H., co-director of the UF Swallowing Research Laboratory and an associate professor in the department of behavioral science and community health in the College of Public Health and Health Professions, received the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance’s 2012 Investigator of the Year Award. Carnaby-Mann received the award at the Dysphagia Research Society’s annual meeting in March, where she presented the findings of her American Cancer Society-funded Phase III randomized, controlled trial in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. The study investigated the efficacy of an exercise intervention called “Pharyngocise” in preserving the muscles involved in swallowing and preventing swallowing disability associated with head and neck cancer treatment. Isaac Sia, a graduate student in the rehabilitation science and public health programs, was also recognized at the society’s meeting. He won the third-place award for Best Overall Poster Presentation out of a field of more than 100 poster presentations. His research examined the effects of physiologic and other factors on adequate upper esophageal sphincter relaxation, which is critical for normal swallowing, in a group of healthy adults.

College of Dentistry

Roger Fillingim, Ph.D., a professor in community dentistry and behavioral sciences, will take the reins as president of the American Pain Society during the group’s annual meeting in May. Fillingim has been a member of the society since 1987 and has served in several leadership roles, including as chair of both the Scientific Program and Education Advisory committees. In 2009, he received the Wilbert E. Fordyce Clinical Investigator Award from the group for his clinical pain scholarship and research achievements. He has served as president-elect for the last two years. He will serve as president for two years, with duties including overseeing the APS Board of Directors, and setting priorities and direction for the organization.

Marc Heft, D.M.D., Ph.D., a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, was recently elected by the UF Faculty Senate as the chair-elect. He will serve in that role for a year before assuming the role of Senate chair. Through 2013, Heft is serving as the chair of the UF Faculty Senate Budget Council, which focuses on budget and fiscal matters as they involve the academic mission of the university. “I can’t think of a better person to lead the university faculty as we face the expected challenges of the next several years. We are honored that he has this opportunity,” said College of Dentistry Dean Teresa A. Dolan, D.D.S., M.P.H.

Madhu K. Nair, D.M.D., Ph.D., a professor and chair of oral and maxillofacial sciences, was recently elected to serve a three-year term on the Academic Freedom, Tenure, Professional Relations & Standards Committee for the University of Florida Faculty Senate. Nair is one of 15 members of the committee, which conducts hearings on charges involving university practices that bear upon tenure or academic freedom or matters involving university practices generally applicable to faculty members bearing on professional ethics and the general welfare of the faculty.


Kelly C. Komatz, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of pediatrics, is now among an exclusive group of pediatricians honored as a fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Komatz was the only pediatrician among 27 new fellows named in March at the academy’s annual meeting in Denver. She is one of 100 pediatricians nationwide who is board-certified in palliative care.

S. Hammad Jafri, M.D., a chief medical resident in internal medicine, won a Young Trainee Research Award from the southern region of the American Federation for Medical Research during the group’s annual meeting in February. He presented research that showed vitamin D can reduce stress in the inner lining of blood cells. That stress, caused by things such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, can contribute to heart attacks, strokes and other major health problems.

College of Pharmacy

David Brushwood, R.Ph., J.D., a professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, joined the ranks of world-renowned clinical ethicists on April 13 when he was recognized at the 11th annual Healthcare Ethics and Law Institute conference. Sponsored by Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Brushwood received a Pellegrino Medal at a special ceremony. “Pharmacists are placed in an untenable position where they are ethically obligated to provide opioid medications to chronic pain patients who suffer every minute of their lives,” Brushwood said. “But they also must comply with legal requirements to deny access to abusable drugs for those who should not have them.”

Public Health and Health Professions

Sherrilene Classen, Ph.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of occupational therapy and director of the UF Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation, has been elected to the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Academy of Research. Academy membership is the highest scholarly honor the foundation confers and it is one of the highest honors of the occupational therapy community.

Ellington C. Jones, a student in the master’s in health administration program, received second place in the graduate student division of the Richard J. Stull Student Essay Competition in Healthcare Management, sponsored by the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Lisa Nackers, M.S., M.P.H., a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology, received the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s 2012 Outstanding Dissertation Award April 12 in New Orleans. Nackers’ dissertation research examined the effects of prescribing moderate versus mild caloric restriction goals for weight loss within a six-month lifestyle intervention, followed by six months of extended care.

Twice the honors

Thomas Smith, Pharm.D., J.D.

W. Thomas Smith, Pharm.D., J.D., a clinical associate professor in pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, was recently chosen as the College of Pharmacy’s Teacher of the Year. In addition, Smith has been selected as director of the college’s Online Master of Science in Pharmacy program, developed for working professionals in non-dispensing areas of pharmacy administration. “We have the responsibility to assist each and every one of our students in becoming professional and responsible citizens,” Smith said. “Every day I pause to appreciate how fortunate I am to be able to make such a profound difference upon the profession of pharmacy.” Smith’s teaching philosophy grew out of his own student experience. He also uses real-life examples from his work in pharmacy practice to show students what they will be doing as professionals. Since joining the college in 2008, Smith has taught a class on pharmacy law and ethics, and another on the process and outcomes of regulations. His research focus is on disability education in pharmacy curricula and legal and ethical issues related to disability and health care.

Top teachers

Donald M. Cohen, D.M.D., M.S.

Donald M. Cohen, D.M.D., M.S., and Peter L. Harrison, D.D.S., B.D.S., (not shown) were recently selected as Teachers of the Year for the UF College of Dentistry. Donald Cohen, a professor in the department of oral and maxillofacial diagnostic sciences, was chosen as the Basic Sciences Teacher of the Year. Peter Harrison, an assistant professor in the department of periodontology, was voted the Clinical Sciences Teacher of the Year.