Student Spotlight

Faculty in the Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics (HOBI) provide mentoring and research experiences for students within the department and across the University of Florida campus, including undergraduates, post-baccalaureate students, graduate students and medical students. Here are highlights of some of our students’ recent accomplishments:

Photo of Aditi Patel, Ph.D., with HOBI faculty advisers
Aditi Patel, Ph.D., (center) with faculty advisors Bruce Vogel, Ph.D., and Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D.

Aditi Patel, Ph.D., successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, “Investing Network Adequacy Standards for Provider Networks in Medicaid Managed Care,” and is the first doctoral candidate to earn a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences with a concentration in health outcomes and policy from the department. Patel was mentored by Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., professor and chair of HOBI, director of the Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP), associate director for population science at the UF Health Cancer Center, and co-director for UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

Patel will continue her studies as a medical student at UF.

Photo of Martin Wegman, M.D., Ph.D.
Martin Wegman, M.D., Ph.D.

Martin Wegman, M.D., Ph.D., a recent pre-doctoral fellow in HOBI and a previous M.D.-Ph.D. candidate at UF, graduated in May with honors in research from the College of Medicine. At HOBI, Wegman received his primary mentorship from Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., professor and chair. His work focused on analyzing and developing policies and systems to improve population health and social outcomes, with attention to individuals living at the margins of society, including those affected by drug use and mental illness.

Wegman also was inducted into the University of Florida’s 2018 Hall of Fame in April. The honor, one of the most prestigious awarded to students by the Division of Student Affairs at UF, is bestowed upon student leaders who have “consistently demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the University of Florida through campus and community involvement, participation in organized campus activities, and scholastic achievement.” Only 25 students are accepted into the UF Hall of Fame each year.

While a student at UF, Wegman was named Outstanding Graduate/Professional Student in 2016 and received the top prize in the 2016 Medical Student Research Program during the College of Medicine’s annual Celebration of Research. In 2017, Wegman was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society for demonstrating exemplary behavior promoting humanism in medicine. He was also named to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, one of the most prestigious national medical honor societies, for distinguished academic achievement, service, leadership and professionalism.

Wegman will serve his residency in emergency medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

Photo of Sarah Chavez
Sarah Chavez

Sarah Chavez, a Ph.D. candidate in HOBI, won one of three student awards for best presentation at the Institute for Child Health Policy’s (ICHP) 2018 Research Day in April. Chavez presented “A Review of Performance Measures and Interventions for Weight Assessment and Counseling for Nutrition and Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents.” Chavez’ mentors were Gina Eubanks, assistant director of research administration in HOBI, and Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., chair of HOBI and director of ICHP.

Chavez’ doctoral dissertation focuses on evaluating mobile apps in the management of diabetes. In 2017, she served as first author (with François Modave, Ph.D., as senior author) of “Mobile Apps for the Management of Diabetes,” published in Diabetes Care.

In 2016, Chavez was part of a team of six students that won UF’s 2016 Global Health Case competition. The six students from a variety of academic disciplines had just 48 hours to study the complexities of a given public health issue and make recommendations to a panel of faculty judges. The team competed in the national 2016 Global Health Case competition at Emory University in Atlanta, as well.