Current Research

Funded Research and Projects:

Dr. Angelina Sutin received a $450,000 grant from the NIH to study the environmental risks and determinants of obesity in Mexican-origin youth. Obesity is among the leading preventable causes of death in the US and Mexican Americans suffer disproportionately from obesity compared to the general population. Interventions aimed at decreasing obesity through changes in diet and exercise have been only mildly effective. This research will examine the complex interworking causes of obesity that will lead to new prevention and intervention methods for Mexican-American youth.

Dr. Henry Carretta received a $100,000 grant from HRSA to examine patterns of health-care utilization and expenditures in young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with ASD have increased utilization and costs for services compared to other children with special needs. This research will find whether or not these disparities continue into young adulthood.

Dr. Les Beitsch received a $1,800,000 contract to evaluate the MEDS-AD Waiver Program. The program aims to improve the quality of pharmacological treatment in the elderly and disabled with low-financial resources. The evaluation of the program includes mining data for fraud detection, quantitative analyses, and qualitative analyses.

Dr. Les Beitsch received a $500,000 contract to evaluate the Florida Long-Term Care (LTC) Managed Care Program. This new program implements a system through which Medicaid recipients receive long-term care services throughout the state of Florida. The evaluation team studies the patient access to the program’s services, quality of the services, and cost of the services using quantitative and qualitative approaches.

Dr. Gail Bellamy received a $100,000 grant from the Florida Blue Foundation to engage stakeholders in the identification and prioritization of research questions. Social and behavioral research has traditionally been driven by researchers and the national trend has shifted towards a patient-centered research focus. This project unites researchers with patients and the community to discuss the development of research activities.

Dr. Xan Nowakowski receives approximately $75,000 annually from the Florida Department of Health to evaluate the Florida Asthma Program. The Program coordinates statewide efforts to improve asthma outcomes and reduce disparities. As part of the evaluation, the principal investigator engages stakeholders and submits evaluation reports for the project.

Dr. Robert Glueckauf received a $50,000 commitment from Mr. Dave Groves and the Valic Financial Advisors, Inc. to support the African-American caregiver Training and Support Project 2 (ACTS 2). The African-American community is disproportionately affected by dementia. This project develops and evaluates a pastoral care, volunteer-led, skills building and support program for distressed African-American family caregivers of older adults with dementia.

Karen Geletko received a planning grant to survey healthcare providers to assess what they know about e-cigarettes and their interactions with patients over the use of e-cigarettes. While e-cigarettes have become popular among patients, little is known about their use or long-term health effects. This study will provide insight into physician knowledge of e-cigarettes that will impact medical schools, graduate medical education programs, and community medical providers to stay educated on the health effects of the e-cigarrete.

Other Research:

Dr. Nair-Collins researches ethical issues and public policies at the end of life, particularly brain death and disorders of consciousness, the just allocation of resources for profoundly neurologically injured patients, and medical futility. Additionally, he studies the philosophical foundations of cognitive science, particularly the nature and implementation of representation in biological systems.

Dr. Heather Flynn researches the identification and treatment of depression in women, especially around the time of childbearing. Her studies are specifically aimed at developing and testing psychotherapeutic treatments for depression around the time of pregnancy, and on examining the impact of depression remission on obstetrical and infant outcomes.

Dr. Xan Nowakowski conducts research on the experience and management of chronic health conditions and their ramifications in biopsychosocial context. Her independent research focuses on the experience and management of chronic illness, whereas my team-based research spans a wider breadth of topics within sociomedical research on chronic conditions.

Dr. Samantha Goldfarb researches maternal and child health policy. She looks to expand the academic literature in the impact of parental mental health on perinatal and early childhood outcomes.

Dr. Robert Glueckauf researches the development and evaluation of eHealth and community-based interventions for individuals with severe disability and their family caregivers.

Dr. Angelina Sutin researches how personality traits are associated with physical and mental health across adulthood and how personality shapes the psychological understanding of personally-meaningful experiences.

Dr. Suzanne Johnson studies pediatric obesity since the epidemic levels of pediatric obesity in the U.S. have led to an unprecedented rise in incidence of type 2 diabetes in children.