HOBI Faculty Member Mentors Two Undergraduates

Photo of Dr. SalloumRamzi Salloum, Ph.D., will serve as a faculty mentor for two undergraduate students enrolled in UF’s 2017-2018 Emerging Scholars Program: Yasmine Hamzah and Kayla Childs.

The Emerging Scholars Program, an entry-level research program sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research, offers freshmen and sophomores the opportunity to engage in research in a learning environment that extends beyond the classroom. Students in the program receive a $1,000 scholarship to work on research projects with their faculty mentors for two semesters beginning in January 2018. Students present their research at UF’s annual Undergraduate Research Day.

Salloum, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics (HOBI) and a faculty member at the Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP), is a health economist who specializes in cancer prevention and tobacco control. He is currently working with the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium’s Cancer Control Alliance to scale up a tobacco prevention intervention aimed at adolescents in pediatric clinics across Florida. The team has developed a support tool for use in pediatric clinics that will screen patients for tobacco use in its myriad forms, from conventional cigarettes to such alternatives as chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and the waterpipe, or hookah. The device will promote patient-provider communication about tobacco prevention, as well.

Yasmine Hamzah is a 19-year-old sophomore from Tampa who plans to go to medical school after finishing her undergraduate degree.

“I chose to work with Dr. Salloum because his research on adolescent tobacco use is important in bettering the lives of people long-term,” she said.

Hamzah’s research project, “A mixed-methods approach for the development of a tobacco prevention clinical support tool for pediatric primary care,” involves analyzing qualitative data that Salloum’s research team has collected from interviews of patients and focus groups of providers. Hamzah also will work with the team on a research paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Kayla Childs, 19, is a sophomore from Tampa pursuing a dual degree in health science and economics. She, too, plans to go to medical school.

“My interest in working with Dr. Salloum stemmed from my desire to understand the policy and economic side of health care,” she said. “I hope to take what I learn through research with Dr. Salloum into my career as a physician.”

Childs’ research project, “Measurement of Intervention Costs in Implementation Research: A Systematic Review,” involves conducting a literature review to identify and describe the use of intervention costing methods used in implementation research studies.

“Cost and cost effectiveness of tobacco control interventions are critical parts of dissemination and implementation of research findings into healthcare delivery settings,” Childs wrote in her research project summary.

Salloum said he is looking forward to introducing his students to academic research, engaging them fully in the process, and helping them develop their capacity for creativity and analytical thinking.

“I am counting on Yasmine and Kayla to bring their enthusiasm and ideas to the team, as well, as we develop and test new approaches to preventing tobacco use in teens.” Salloum said.