HSR PhD Students

Charles_Hobson Charles Hobson Charles is a general surgeon and surgical intensivist at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville. He does outcomes research on complications in the ICU after surgery with his wife Azra Bihorac M.D., who is a nephrologist intensivist at UF. He is interested in exploring how the push for lower healthcare costs and the push for improved outcomes after surgery are informing how we practice medicine in the surgical ICU, and more broadly how the organization critical care will evolve in the changing healthcare landscape. In his free time, he surfs, gardens, bikes, and along with his two little boys, is learning the violin.Contact Information
Young Rock Hong Young-Rock Hong

Young-Rock Hong, MPH, is a Ph.D student in the Department of Health Services Research at the University of Florida. Prior to joining the Ph.D. program, he served a year as a survey analyst for the Department of Health Promotion and Administration at Eastern Kentucky University, proving public health research consultation and participating in community health assessments; and worked two years as a Graduate Research Assistant at Kentucky Innovation Network, performing business and economic analyses for local start-ups/entrepreneurs. Young-Rock has a solid background in health services research including industrial hygiene and safety projects funded by Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (KOSHA), health service strategic planning, patient satisfaction and quality of care research for clinics and hospitals in South Korea.  His primary research interest is improving access to primary care among the underserved community and developing a possible management approach for dealing with varying reimbursement mechanism in health services organizations. He is currently interested in design and analysis of service quality attributes in healthcare using structural equation modeling (SEM), outcome-based evaluation of service quality in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), and the impact of the Medicaid expansion under the ACA.  Young-Rock’s professional goal is to contribute to the reduction in health disparities and inequalities while making sure that every person gets the quality of care they need most, thereby live full and dignified lives.  Contact Information  requiem34@phhp.ufl.edu 

  Ara_Jo Ara
Ara was born and raised in South Korea, and graduated from Ewha Womans University with a Bachelor of Economics and Exercise Science. After completing her degree, she studied sport management in Florida State University for master’s degree. In order to do research how to help public to maintain healthy life further, she decided to transit her academic career from sport management to public health at University of Florida. Based on diverse background, her research interests are also various, such as obesity-related disease, treatment guidelines, evidence-based medicine and cost perspectives of health services.Contact Information
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.Contact Information
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
Shenae Samuels Shenae Samuels Shenae K. Samuels joined the PhD program in Health Services Research in Fall 2014. Prior to entering the PhD program, Shenae earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Public Health Management and Policy from the University of Florida’s (UF) College of Public Health and Health Professions. Prior to joining the PhD program, Shenae worked as a Program Assistant for the University of Florida’s (UF) Pediatric Integrated Care System (Ped-I-Care) where she managed the health plan’s provider network in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. With her commitment to health care quality, in Spring 2013, Shenae served as the Principal Investigator in developing and conducting an evidence-based program evaluation of Ped-I-Care. Shenae’s additional research experiences include the Florida Medicaid Reform Evaluation Project, the CDC-funded Florida Office on Disability and Health’s Right To Know Campaign and the UF Health Disparities and Research Intervention Program. Shenae’s 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. In addition to her research experiences, Shenae worked for Tobacco Free Alachua as a Tobacco Prevention Policy Intern where she successfully advocated for the adoption of the CDC-recommended comprehensive tobacco-free school policy in Alachua County Schools. In light of her dedication to public health and her academic career, Shenae was previously awarded several fellowships including the CDC-funded Public Health Summer Fellowship and the UF Board of Education Fellowship where she gained additional research experience through independent studies, including at the federal level. Currently, Shenae is a McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Affiliate. 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.Contact Information:
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 include communication between health providers and patients and evaluation of health interventions in the field of mental health services research.Contact Information
ryan_headshot_final Ryan Suk Ryan has earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from Korea University in Seoul, Korea. During her undergraduate, she got involved in medical law researches while working as a research assistant and conference coordinator for The Korean Society of Law and Medicine that inspired her interest in health care researches. After graduating, she worked for a think tank that focuses on human resource development as a project designer, developing leadership programs for CEOs for several years in Seoul. She got her Master of Science in Economics at University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah), and during her Master’s program, she focused on health economics.

Her current research interests are cost-effectiveness in health care, clinical decision-making, health care policy and economics, medical law and ethics (especially adverse events, end-of-life care, and future medicine and humanities), health care system in developing countries, and bridging the innovation of medical technology to the actual quality of life. Her dream is to contribute to preparing new health care system after the potential reunification of Korea.

Outside of school, she spends her spare time weight-training and training martial arts (Taekwondo and Muay Thai). She has a great passion for martial arts and she believes it is a perfect lifelong hobby for a scholar. She also loves to sing and has been participating as a vocalist in worship bands. She enjoys learning new things and practicing them until she is satisfied with her skill.

Contact Information: ryansuk@phhp.ufl.edu

Ivana Vaughn 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 Biostatistics and Epidemiology. Prior to joining the University of Florida PhD program in Health Services Research, the Southfield, Michigan native worked five years at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as a Sr. Research Program Coordinator II, and four years as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Biostatistics; and three years at The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) as a Data Specialist. Ivana’s additional research experiences include the Geriatric Summer Training in Aging Research Program (MedSTAR) at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, the Quality Operations and Improvement Program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, the Maryland Osteoporosis Prevention & Education Task Force at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (NSF REU) at Northern Arizona University, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Summer High School Apprentice Research Program (NASA SHARP Plus) at Northern Arizona University. Her prior research is published in peer-reviewed journals including Gastroenterology, Hepatology: Official Journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and Marine Biology. Ivana has co-authored abstracts presented at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, and the Maryland Medical Directors Association. Ivana is interested in the integration of gerontology and health services research to help circumvent the complex and fragmented delivery of geriatric medical care.  Contact Information