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Lisa Merlo, Ph.D., M.P.E. Joins Institute for Child Health Policy to Promote Collaboration and Interdisciplinary Research

Published: June 13th, 2014

Category: News

Lisa J. Merlo, Ph.D., M.P.E., assistant professor in the department of psychiatry, has been named an affiliate faculty member of the College of Medicine’s Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP). The institute focuses on disparities in health and health care outcomes for minority and underserved children and develops strategies and interventions to address these issues.

“I am honored to become an affiliate faculty member of the Institute for Child Health Policy because it provides me the opportunity to collaborate on important projects with nationally known and highly respected researchers,” Merlo said. “As an affiliate faculty member, I can contribute to cutting edge research that I would not have the time or expertise to pursue if working independently. I am excited to share my unique skills and talents with the ICHP team as we continue to raise the bar on research in child health.”

A total of nine professors from six departments across UF’s campus were selected as affiliate faculty members. Chosen based on their interest and expertise in child health as well as existing collaborations with faculty in the institute, the affiliate faculty members for 2014-15 also include

  • Maureen Conroy, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies and professor in the school of special education, school psychology and early childhood studies.
  • Abigail Fagan, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of sociology and criminology & law.
  • Chris Gibson, Ph.D., research foundation professor and associate professor of criminology in the department of sociology and criminology & law.
  • Julia A. Graber, Ph.D., professor in the department of psychology.
  • Sanjay Ranka, Ph.D., professor in the department of computer & information science & engineering.
  • Patricia Snyder, Ph.D., director of the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies, professor in the school of special education, school psychology and early childhood studies and affiliate professor of pediatrics.
  • Lindsay Thompson, M.D., assistant professor in the department of pediatrics.
  • Daisy Zhe Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of computer & information science & engineering.

“Our affiliate faculty program is very important and provides a supportive environment where colleagues dedicated to child health can come together, share resources and push one another to think out of the box regarding how to address the critical disparities in children’s health,” said Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Child Health Policy and chair of the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy. “The affiliate faculty we’ve admitted this year represents the type of interdisciplinary work our institute has been producing for some time and demonstrates our vision for increasing these types of cross-disciplinary collaborations moving forward.”
The affiliate faculty members are joining a team of 17 faculty researchers, who garnered $12 million in funding this past year from the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other funding agencies.

“We are proud to have this strong group of affiliate faculty join our growing institute,” said Kelli Komro, Ph.D., associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy and professor in the department of health outcomes and policy. “As we conduct research that informs policies and practice across the state and country, it is vital that our teams include faculty members with diverse perspectives and skill sets in order to maximize our impact in helping vulnerable populations.”

Benefits of affiliate membership, which is reviewed each year, include participation in a yearly research day and reception, communication about funding and networking opportunities and eligibility for pilot study and pre-doctoral funding.

For more information on the Institute for Child Health Policy, visit ichp.ufl.edu.