Faculty and Staff

Family Data Center consists of researchers from a variety of disciplines, including statistics, computer science, social and behavioral sciences, developmental psychology, economics, education epidemiology, neonatology, obstetrics, and pediatrics.

Through funded grants and contracts, Center faculty have published research in the following areas:

  • Relationship of medical conditions and sociodemographic risk factors to infant mortality, low birth weight, and educational outcome
  • Effect of early intervention programs on children’s developmental and educational outcomes
  • Readiness to start school indicators
  • Kindergarten performance of children of adolescent mothers
  • Effect of high school course taking on college placement
  • Database merging strategies
  • Information management systems
  • Statistical methodology, including methods for longitudinal data analysis
  • Biostatistical applications
  • Prospective pricing methodologies

Center faculty also provide multidisciplinary training, centered on perinatal epidemiology and program evaluation research projects, to Ph.D. and masters students, post-doctoral fellows, medical students and fellows, and visiting faculty.

Leadership

TBetsy Shenkman, Ph.D.
Chair of the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy

Dr. Elizabeth Shenkman is Chair of Health Outcomes and Policy and Director of the Institute for Child Health Policy. In addition, she is a health outcomes researcher working to achieve two goals: (1) determine which combinations of health care delivery, community, and patient factors influence quality and outcomes of care; and (2) the development of corresponding evidence-based health care delivery system and patient-centric interventions to improve outcomes of care. A substantial portion of Dr. Shenkman’s work in these two areas focuses on reducing cancer-related health disparities for adults and children through the implementation of evidence-based best practices for risk detection and treatment in a range of health care settings.

Dr. Shenkman is the Principal Investigator of the OneFlorida Cancer Control Alliance funded through Florida’s James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program. This statewide network is a partnership among UFHealth, Florida State University and the University of Miami. Dr. Shenkman is also the Principal Investigator of a Centers for Medicare- and Medicaid-funded five-year pragmatic randomized trial. The trial tests the effectiveness of a personal navigator and a flexible wellness account on cardiovascular risk reduction among disabled individuals with co-occurring physical and mental health conditions, including those who have cancer. The project is one of ten in the U.S., funded as part of CMS’s Medicaid Incentives for the Prevention of Chronic Conditions portfolio. The personal navigators are embedded within three Medicaid Managed Care Plans to ensure that the study is implemented in a sustainable and real world context. Outcome measures include: patient reported outcomes, LDL-C screening and control, tobacco cessation, control of high blood pressure, and BMI. A key patient-centric innovation lies in having every participant define his/her own individual health goals with support of his/her health navigator.

Dr. Shenkman also leads two major state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) evaluations: the Texas Medicaid Evaluation Project, which began in 2002, and the Florida KidCare and Healthy Kids evaluations, which began in 1997. These projects address the quality and outcomes of health and dental care for adults and children in Medicaid and CHIP. As part of this work, Dr. Shenkman oversees a 20-member Data Analytics Team, which manages 30 terabytes of data. This team has more than 15 years of experience in using health care claims and encounter and medical record data to calculate a wide range of performance measures across the spectrum from the individual to the health plan. The Data Analytics team integrates health record data with claims/encounter data and patient-reported outcomes to obtain a comprehensive picture of health care quality for preventive and chronic condition care. Dr. Shenkman also led the development of an interactive web portal (The Texas HealthCare Learning Collaborative; https://thlcportal.com) used by more than 1,500 health care plans, physicians, and policy analysts. Quality of care results and evidence-based best practices are shared through the portal.

Dr. Shenkman also serves as Co-Director of the Implementation Science Program within UF’s NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). In this role, Dr. Shenkman collaborates with faculty and staff to provide technical assistance in developing implementation science and patient-centered outcomes studies.

Dr. Shenkman’s research has been funded by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Her work is published in journals such as Pediatrics, Health Services Research, Clinical Epidemiology, Pediatric Blood and Cancer, and the American Journal of Public Health. Dr. Shenkman is an elected member of the Society for Pediatric Research and the American Pediatric Society.


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Mildred Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Health Outcomes and Policy

Dr. Mildred Maldonado-Molina is Associate Professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Health Outcomes and Policy and the Institute for Child Health Policy at the University of Florida. Her research program focuses on reducing health disparities in alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences, with particular focus on improving the health of minority children and adolescents. She is particularly interested in examining rates of substance use and violence among US-born and foreign-born Hispanic adolescents. Her work includes the application of innovative statistical techniques to the study of the effects of context and environment (e.g. alcohol, driving, and safety policies) on behavioral and mortality outcomes. She focuses on the application of statistical methods across nationally-representative data that is hierarchical and longitudinally intensive. She enjoys working with our graduate and undergraduate students and is currently mentoring Ph.D. student Kelly Kenzik.


Jeffrey Roth, Ph.D.
Research Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Florida

Dr. Roth has over 20 years of experience securing large population-based databases for research, program evaluation, and dissemination. He directs teams that provide data management, reporting, and data sharing; and presents study results at national meetings of scientific investigators. Dr. Roth supervises database acquisitions, statistical analyses, interpretation of findings, and the writing of final reports. He builds consensus around projects that culminate in manuscript submissions to peer reviewed publications. View Dr. Roth’s publications


Roland Estrella, B.S.C.E.

Mr. Estrella develops sophisticated methods to link separate databases together, joined using the latest deterministic and probabilistic data linkage techniques. He assists with efficient manipulation of very large scale databases, implements database linkages, and verifies accuracy of matches. He is a research collaborator, answers data related questions, and produces creative data visualizations. Mr. Estrella’s past work included designing and developing a long range wireless GPS tracking and communication system for soldiers and firefighters for the United States Special Operations Command. He designed and developed a graphical user interface for monitoring and analyzing brain activity for researchers at the Brain Institute at the University of Florida. The interface functions as a monitor of brain activity captured from rodents. The captured brain waves are plotted in real time and are filtered and processed by a set of spike sorting algorithms which allow identification of patterns in neural activity. The system was benchmarked against a professional non-wireless PC neural signal processing software from the leading world manufacturer in this area known as TDT. It was shown to successfully duplicate and improve many of TDT’s functions.


DChris Delcher, Ph.D.
Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, Department of Health Outcomes and Policy