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Two Computer & Information Science & Engineering Faculty Members Join the Institute for Child Health Policy to Promote Collaboration and Interdisciplinary Research

Sanjay Ranka, Ph.D., professor, and Daisy Zhe Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor, have been named affiliate faculty members of the College of Medicine's Institute for Child Health Policy. 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.

Ranka and Wang were among a total of nine professors representing six departments across UF’s campus selected to become 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., associate professor in the department of sociology and criminology & law.
Julia A. Graber, Ph.D., professor in the department of psychology.
Lisa J. Merlo, Ph.D., M.P.E., assistant professor in the department of psychiatry.
Patricia Snyder, Ph.D., director of the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies and professor in the school of special education, school psychology and early childhood studies.
Lindsay Thompson, M.D., assistant professor in the department of pediatrics.

“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.

“My current work focuses on core technologies in computer science to turn big data from text [and] images … to knowledge bases, which would have a profound impact in medical and health informatics,” Wang said.

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