HSR PhD Students

Raj Desai Raj Desai, M.S, is a first year PhD student in Health Services Research at the University of Florida. He has earned his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from the Institute of Chemical Technlogy in Mumbai, India. Having a great passion for research, he got involved in the healthcare domain while working as a student researcher with University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover, Germany. He later pursued his Masters in Pharmacy Administration at St. John’s University, focusing on Health Outcomes. His primary research interests included analyzing the effect of medication non-adherence on health resource utilization in chronic diseases. Additionally, his research interests focus on drug safety and effectiveness. He is also interested in studying the application of mathematical models in clinical decision making focusing on cost effectiveness analysis. Full CV

Contact Information raj.desai@phhp.ufl.edu 

Charles_Hobson Charles Hobson Charles is a general surgeon and surgical intensivist at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville. His clinical research interests are the long-term outcomes and costs associated with postoperative complications, especially acute kidney injury, in the intensive care unit. His health services research interests include the costs of postoperative complications, the association between insurance status and outcomes, and in particular how reimbursement methodologies affect the organization and practice of critical care medicine. He is also a research scientist and fellow at The Institute on Healthcare Systems at Brandeis University. He helped develop the clinical logic for a CMS funded project to develop an episode grouper for Medicare claims data, and is a lead developer on a project to use that grouper as the analytic engine for an advanced Alternative Payment Methodology proposal, developed by Brandeis and the American College of Surgeons, and which has been submitted to CMS. For his PhD dissertation he is using electronic phenotyping methodologies to develop improved risk adjustment capabilities for the episode grouper.

Contact Information chobson@ufl.edu

Young Rock Hong Young-Rock Hong Young-Rock Hong, MPH, is a Ph.D student in the Health Services Research, Management and Policy program at the University of Florida. Young-Rock has a solid background in health services research, having taken part in patient satisfaction evaluations, community health assessments, and industrial hygiene and safety projects. His primary research interests focus on designing and analysis of service quality measures in health services organizations using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), integrating evaluated patient-centered outcomes into Value-Based Payment (VBP) models, and improvements in clinician burnout and non-clinical employee safety.

With his published work and efforts in health services research, he has been the recipient of AcademyHealth’s Quality and Value Interest Group-Best Student Award in 2017 and Kentucky Outstanding Public Health Research Award in 2015. Young-Rock has been pursuing his PhD with a dream of becoming a medical sociologist. His professional goal is to help reduce health care disparities and inequalities while maintaining a standardized quality of care. Full CV 

Contact Information  requiem34@phhp.ufl.edu

Ara
Jo
Ara Jo, from South Korea, earned dual Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in Exercise Science at Ewha Womans University, and a Master of Science in Sport Management at Florida State University. With her diverse educational background, her primary research interests focus on chronic disease prevention strategies such as screening, physical activity and risk score, and body composition assessments. She is particularly interested in normal weight obesity and overweight population with high muscle mass who are typically misclassified in health care setting. She is eager to further develop her career in developing more accurate risk assessment for effective and efficient chronic disease prevention through multidisciplinary approaches. Full CV

Contact Information ara13j@ufl.edu

Samantha Larson Samantha Larson, originally from Charleston, South Carolina, joined the Public Health PhD program, concentrated in Health Services Research, in 2017. Prior to joining the University of Florida, Samantha earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Science from the University of Minnesota and her Master of Public Health concentrated in Health Policy and Ethics from Creighton University. Ms. Larson spent the last several years working in the health insurance industry at BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont as the Government Affairs and Legislative Liaison. Additionally, she held roles at the University of Vermont in the Health Care Leadership and Health Care Administration programs as program coordinator.

Ms. Larson’s personal and professional experiences inspired her interest in health services research. Primarily, she is interested in improving the quality and delivery of care through policy reform at the practice level. Secondarily, Ms. Larson is interested in evaluating patient outcomes in value-based payment systems and chronic disease prevention strategies. Full CV

Contact information Samantha.larson@ufl.edu LinkedIn

Cristina_Popescu Daniela-Cristina Popescu
Cristina joined the PhD program in Fall 2012. Her previous research experience includes management and coordination of healthcare evaluation projects, as well as public opinion and secondary data studies. She is a past fellow of the Florida Association for Alcohol and Drug Abuse, for whom she researched patterns and trends in substance and alcohol abuse in Florida. Her primary research interest is improved access to care among underserved populations in international settings. Professionally, she would like to implement and manage community programs internationally. Full CV

Contact Information cristina.popescu@ufl.edu LinkedIn

untitled Jonathan Ruwe
Jon is an active duty Army officer. He recently returned from a year in Afghanistan where he worked alongside the Afghan Ministry of Public Health in multiple areas including the Health Finance and Economics Division. His interest is in Global Healthcare and his current work deals specifically with security and health utilization in Afghanistan.

Contact Information jonathanruwe@ufl.edu

Shenae Samuels Shenae Samuels Shenae K. Samuels joined the PhD program in Health Services Research in Fall 2014. Prior to entering the PhD program, she earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Public Health Management and Policy from the University of Florida. Her past research experiences include the Florida Medicaid Reform Evaluation Project, and the CDC-funded Florida Office on Disability and Health’s Right To Know Campaign. Her research with the Florida Medicaid Reform Evaluation Project led to a co-authorship of the Medicaid Program Flexibility counterpoint in the book, Debates on U.S. Health Care. Notable awards include the CDC-funded Public Health Summer Fellowship and the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship. Shenae is interested in the incorporation of health services research and health policy to mitigate health disparities and access to care issues that our nation faces, as well as the use of program evaluation in ensuring quality of care. Full CV

Contact Information shenae@ufl.edu LinkedIn

SoonJu_Song Soon Ju Song
Before joining the PhD program in Health Services Research at University of Florida in 2013, Soon Ju earned her B.A. degree with double majors in Political Science and Communication at Kook-Min University, Seoul, Korea in 2003, and then completed her M.A. in Mass Communication at Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea in 2007. During the master’s degree, she also completed an internship at Economic Committee, the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea. Her research interests are health communication between health providers and patients, and disparity in access and utilization of oral health care. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, listening to music and playing golf. Full CV

Contact Information ssong@ufl.edu LinkedIn

ryan_headshot_final Ryan Suk Ryan has earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from Korea University in Seoul, Korea. She got involved in medical law research while working for The Korean Society of Law and Medicine that inspired her interest in health care research. She got her Master of Science in Economics at University of Utah, focusing on health economics.

Her research interests are application of mathematical modeling and simulation for clinical decision making (especially associations among cancer, immune disorder, HPV, genes), cost-effectiveness and value-of-information analysis, prevention and management in cancer, and health care policy/law (new technology; end of life care). Her dream is to contribute to society by bridging the innovative medical technology to people’s actual quality of life.

Outside of school, Ryan spends her spare time weight-training and training martial arts (Taekwondo and Muay Thai). She believes physical activity is vital to academics for a balanced life and creative thinking.
Full CV

Contact Information ryansuk@phhp.ufl.edu

Ivana Vaughn Ivana A. Vaughn earned her BA at The Johns Hopkins University in both Mathematics and Biology, and MPH at Morgan State University School of Community Health & Policy with concentrations in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Prior to joining the HRSMP PhD program, she worked five years at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as a Sr. Research Program Coordinator II, and three years at The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) as a Data Specialist. Ms. Vaughn recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Aging & Geriatric Practice from the UF Institute on Aging (IOA). Her primary research interests are to improve the health service delivery and quality of care for older adults with chronic conditions. Ms. Vaughn is interested in models of care coordination, alternative health care delivery mechanisms, system-wide/organization-level interventions and analysis of large datasets. Full CV

Contact Information iavaughn@ufl.edu  LinkedIn  Twitter