New Faculty & Staff

Department of Dietetics and Nutrition

Deborah Marie Abel, PhD, RD – Clinical Assistant Professor. Dr. Abel comes from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis where she was the Administrative Specialist/Coordinator for the Leadership in Maternal and Child Health Nutrition Program. She was also a Pediatric-Neonatal Clinical Dietitian at the Riley Hospital for Children-Indiana University Health since 2003. Dr. Abel obtained her Master of Sciences in Food and Nutrition Sciences from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (with a minor in Pediatric Nutrition) from Indiana University-Purdue University.

 Kathryn Brogan, PhD, RD – Assistant Professor. Dr. Brogan is coming to FIU from Wayne State University, where for the last four years, she was an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Brogan is a co-investigator and project coordinator for a $5.7 million NHLBI-funded center grant (U01HL097889) focusing on weight loss in obese African American adolescents and families primarily of low socioeconomic status. Dr. Brogan’s teaching experience includes undergraduate and graduate courses and medical resident training. Dr. Brogran obtained her MS and her PhD in Food and Nutrition Sciences from Wayne State University.

Catherine Coccia, PhD, RD – Assistant Professor. Dr. Coccia has a MS in Food and Nutritional Sciences with a specialization in Dietetics from the University of Florida and a PhD in Family Relations from Florida State University. Her research interests include community-based programs for children and families, program development and evaluation, and parent-child relationships. Prior to joining FIU, Dr. Coccia was an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University – Kingsville, where she taught a variety of courses, including family and community health, foundations of child development, and advanced foodservice management.


Department of Biostatistics

Boubakari Ibrahimou, PhD – Assistant Professor. Dr. Ibrahimou has a PhD in Pure and Applied Mathematics and has all but dissertation training in Biostatistics from the University of South Florida. Dr. Ibrahimou comes from Western Kentucky University where he was an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Public Health. His research interests include nonlinear analysis, exposure assessment and the implications of clustering. He also spends time providing biostatistical support to other investigators’ public health and medical research. His research experience includes maternal and child health and environmental exposure issues. At USF, Dr. Ibrahimou was a member of the Florida Prevention Research Center, the Center for Research and Evaluation of the Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Health Mothers and Babies, and the Center for Collaborative Health of the College of Public Health. He has extensive experience in teaching basic and advanced biostatistics courses.

Tan Li, PhD – Assistant Professor. Dr. Li, who joined FIU in 2012, is the Deputy Director for the Biostatistics Resource Laboratory of the Department of Biostatistics. He provides biostatistical support for numerous funded studies with the Center of Children and Families (CCF) and the Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA). He previously worked in the Statistical Consulting Laboratory of the University of South Carolina. His research focuses on ordinal data analysis, multilevel mixture models, psychometrics, and longitudinal study. His studies include dimensionality assessment of latent variables for both binary and ordinal data, heterogeneity modeling in multilevel mixture models, logistic model fitting with multidimensional latent variables, and logic regression modeling for repeated measurements. Dr. Li obtained his MA and PhD in Statistics from the University of Carolina.


Department of Health Policy and Management

Benjamin Amick III, PhD – Chair and Professor. Dr. Amick comes from the School of Public Health at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, TX, where he was a Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology. Dr. Amick received his PhD in social epidemiology from the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health and a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University. Dr. Amick has sought to integrate the disciplines of ergonomics, epidemiology, organizational psychology/sociology and behavioral change science to create healthy workplaces throughout his career. He has published more than a hundred articles in peer-reviewed journals, many book chapters, and has presented his work at dozens of invited lectures.

Alejandro Arrieta, PhD – Assistant Professor. Dr. Arrieta comes from the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) where he was an Assistant Professor of Health Economics and Healthcare Finance. His research focuses on economic evaluation, health care quality, and physician incentives. His studies include the assessment of maternal care quality, the effect of healthcare financing and organization on quality of care, and the role of incentives on quality. Dr. Arrieta is especially interested in the private sector’s role as it relates to the health systems in Latin America. He has been a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank involving several quality of care and primary care projects in Latin America. He has also served as a consultant for economic evaluations in diverse areas such as diabetes, hypertension and smoking cessation. He holds a PhD in Economics from Rutgers University and a MA in Finance from the Universidad del Pacifico in Peru.


Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Mary Shaw, PhD, MCHES – Associate Professor. Dr. Shaw has over thirty-two years of teaching, research, and service experience in grades K-12 and higher education. She spent sixteen years in the public schools as a secondary science educator, campus administrator, and science/health curriculum coordinator. She began her academic career as an Assistant Professor of Health Studies/Biological Sciences at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. She has also held academic appointments as an Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at Indiana University, and most recently at Texas A&M University in College Station.She is currently the Associate Editor of the Ethics in Health Education Department for Health Promotion Practice Journal. She earned her Master of Science Education from the University of Maryland at College Park, and her PhD in Health Studies from Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Dr. Shaw’s research, teaching, and service interests are in health disparities, women’s health, ethics, cancer prevention education, and professional development. Dr. Shaw is the President of Shaw & Associates, LLC, a health and education consultation group that was established in 1995. She also serves as the Deputy Director & Curriculum Coordinator of the Social & Health Research Center (SAHRC), a small not-for profit organization located in San Antonio, Texas. The SAHRC is the home of the nationally recognized Bienestar/NEEMA Health Program, a comprehensive Coordinated School Health Program grades K-8.


Department of Environmental and Occupational Health

Dr. Shimelis Setegn, PhD – GLOWS Program Executive Officer, Research Assistant Professor. Dr. Shimelis Setegn is a Program Executive Officer at the Global Water for Sustainability Program (GLOWS) – Florida International University (FIU), a USAID-funded consortium of water professionals implementing research and development projects in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Dr. Setegn is also Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. At the Department of Earth and Environment, FIU, he has been leading the hydrological modeling and climate change component of the Caribbean Coastal Scenarios project where he use GIS and hydrological models to simulate seasonal and inter-annual fluxes of fresh water to coastal zones of Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Dominican Republic as a function of climate and catchment characteristics. Dr. Setegn has more than eighteen years of teaching, research, and development experiences in the United States, Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Central America. His efforts in different international projects have led to several peer-reviewed publications in leading journals and invitations to give scientific presentations at several international conferences. Dr Setegn has an interdisciplinary background and experience emphasizing environmental, hydrological and hydrodynamic modeling, watershed dynamics, predicting impact of climate and land use changes on water resources, agriculture, and populations, GIS and remote sensing applications in the environment and water resources. Dr. Setegn obtained is MS in Soil and Water Conservation Engineering from Alemaya University (Ethiopia) and his PhD in Land and Water Resources Engineering from the KTH-Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. He then conducted a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Earth and Environment at FIU.


School of Social Work

Hui Huang, MSW, MS, MA – Instructor. Dr. Huang obtained her MA in Social Work from Xiamen University in China. She then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she received a MS in Statistics, a MSW in Child Welfare, and successfully defended her doctoral dissertation this summer. Dr. Huang is interested in studying children and families that are involved in child welfare and at least one other public service sector. She has worked at the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Research and the evaluation of the Illinois Title IV-E Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Waiver Demonstration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the past six years. Her dissertation research examined the effects of neighborhood associated with foster care placement on the juvenile justice involvement among foster youths. Her dissertation was funded by National Institute of Justice Graduate Research Fellowship.


Dean’s Office

Cecile Houry, PhD – Assistant Dean for Continuing Education. Dr. Houry joined FIU four years ago, as Director of Student Programs in the Honors College. There, Dr. Houry was in charge of community partnerships, study abroad programs, career services, special events, and student organizations. She was then the Assistant Vice President for the FIU Office of Engagement. Born in France, Houry earned a Bachelor and Master of Arts in English from the University of Orleans in France, a Master of Arts in History and a Doctor of Philosophy in History from the University of Miami. Her interests include sport history and gender studies. Houry participated in Leadership Miami (2011) and is about to start a statewide leadership program called Connect Florida.

Author: Cecile Houry

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