Faculty Accomplishments

11074021045_60d23239cf_bTrepkaCongratulations to Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, who has just been selected to receive the Faculty Award for Excellence in Research and Creativities. The formal conferral of this award, which recognizes exceptional performance, will occur during the Faculty Convocation Award Ceremony on October 2, 2014.


DSC_9785Dr. Mario De La Rosa was awarded the National Award of Excellence in Research by a Senior Investigator from the National Hispanic Network on Drug Abuse.

Read the FIU News story on this achievement.


breakthroughs_madhivananCongratulations to Dr. Purnima Madhivanan, Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, whose video “Saving Children, Improving Lives” received 8550 votes in a contest organized by the Positive Action for Children Fund, which invited NGOs and community groups to produce short films that bring to life the work they are doing to combat mother to child transmission of HIV.

The video finished first place in the voting contest. The project will now be reviewed by judges and the winner of the overall competition will be announced on June 8. The winner will receive a $10,000 unrestricted grant and a trip to the International AIDS Conference 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Watch the video.


Dr. Purnima Madhivanan will also serve as a mentor for Dr. Dionne Stephen, Assistant Professor in the FIU Department of Psychology.

Dr. Stephens was selected for a Global Health Equity Scholars (GHES) Junior Faculty Fellowship (http://ghes.berkeley.edu/). This is a mentored research fellowship sponsored by the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and the NIH. The GHES’s institution consortium includes the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Yale University and FIU. The main objective of the program is to generate a cadre of global health researchers who will address the new challenges in global health. The program will provide Dr. Stephens with funding to implement a project that identifies culturally informed perceptions of violence against women among emerging adults living in Mysore, India.


breakthroughs_ruggianoDr. Nicole Ruggiano, Natalia Shtompel, & Dr. David Edvardsson. (in press).

Engaging in coordination of health and disability services as described by older adults: Processes and influential factors. The Gerontologist. Natalia Shtompel is a Ph.D. student in the School of Social Work and Dr. Edvardsson is an Associate Professor of Nursing at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.


David Saltman, an adjunct in the School of Social Work, has been awarded the C. Colburn Hardy Older Advocate Award for 2014.

The Health Council of South Florida nominated Mr. Saltman for this statewide award for work by an individual in relation to the needs of elders. You can read more about this award by visiting www.ccolburnolderadvocacyaward.org. You can also read the Health Council of South Florida’s award announcement.


13970843411_917c09e108_zDr. Kristopher Fennie was recognized by FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg as an outstanding faculty across the University.

Dr. Fennie was recognized as a top scholar in the category of early career faculty with significant funding for his NIH funded study of disclosure of HIV status among intravenous (IV) drug users to their sexual partners.


The American Psychological Association’s Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) has chosen to feature a CRUSADA publication, Acculturative Stress and Diminishing Family Cohesion Among Recent Latino Immigrants (2012), Frank R. Dillon, Mario De La Rosa & Gladys E. Ibañez, in its Ethnicity and Health in America Series:  The Shared Impact of Immigration and Acculturative Stress.

The series aims to raise public awareness concerning the chronic condition of stress among Hispanic and Latino populations. Read more about the featured article and the Ethnicity and Health in America Series.


Dr. Shimelis Setegn and a team from the University of Puerto Rico, were awarded a grant from NASA for the proposal entitled “Human Impacts to Coastal Ecosystems in Puerto Rico (HICE-PR): A Remote Sensing, Hydrologic, Ecologic and Socio-Economic Assessment With Management Implications”


Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, Associate Professor and Dr. Kristopher Fennie, Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, have recently received a supplement to Dr Trepka’s award “Retrospective cohort study of racial disparities in HIV survival, Florida.”


Dr. Khurram Nasir, Associate Professor and adjunct faculty in the Dept. of Epidemiology and Director of Wellness and Prevention Research at the Baptist Health Medical Group has recently received the prestigious “Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2013” from Johns Hopkins University.

Read the press release.


Dr. Wasim Maziak, Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Epidemiology as well as founding Director of the Syrian Centre for Tobacco Studies, received an R01 grant from NIH for 2013-2017 titled “Advancing addiction research and capacity to guide tobacco control in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

breakthroughs_maziakDr. Maziak was also a keynote speaker at “The First International Conference on Tobacco Waterpipe Smoking,” in Abu Dhabi in October, 2013. It was an event where leading researchers, policy makers, academics and public health advocates from 18 countries reviewed evidences related to the waterpipe tobacco pandemic and discussed actions to curb it.

Dr. Maziak’s work on the danger of hookas is also highlighted in the NIH Fogarty International Center’s Global Health Matters Newsletter (March/April 2014). Read the article, page 3.


Dr. Valerie George, a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Dietetics & Nutrition, recently received notice that her manuscript, titled “Eating disorder risk and body dissatisfaction based on muscularity and body fat in mae university students” was accepted for publication in The Journal of American College Health.


Dr. Marianna Baum and Dr. Adriana Campa, Professors in the Department of Dietetics & Nutrition, led a research team whose findings could have a significant impact on HIV treatment.


The article, entitled “Vitamin and mineral supplements given early in HIV infection can help improve immunity and slow disease progression,” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Press releases about this groundbreaking research finding were published nationally and internationally. You can see the photo above taken during the JAMA TV program conducted when the article was first published.

Author: William-Jose Velez

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