Our Team

(In alphabetical order)


Roland Estrella, MS, MBA
Manager, Clinical Research

Roland Estrella is a senior analyst and research contract manager at the University of Florida, Department of Health Outcomes and Policy. He has worked for over 12 years developing data capabilities to inform public policy and to foster strategic investments in communities. Mr. Estrella holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), a Master’s in Business Management, and a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering. He directs statewide efforts in using data for health outcomes surveillance, informing and tracking investments in early education, and evaluating healthcare delivery programs. For communities, Mr. Estrella develops data solutions to help local leaders identify under-served populations and create strategic solutions to improve the people’s well-being. His work developing actionable data visualizations and maps was recognized with the Sapphire award by the Florida Blue Foundation and has been featured by national media including National Public Radio (NPR). Mr. Estrella’s achievements in informing policy and funding decisions with data are gaining momentum with local, State, and national organizations as a proven model to inform place-based interventions.

Magda Francois
Research Coordinator III

Ms. Francois’ experience involves quality of care and quality improvement projects at the Institute for Child Health Policy.  She directed the task on completing a Delphi study where a panel of experts voted on content validity for 127 indicators on Quality of Care (QOC).  These measures were used to identify and address resident issues for long term- facilities that serve people with Intellectual Developmental Disability (IDD).  In addition, she assisted with the program creation of an Intensive Outpatient substance abuse Program in Tampa, Fl. Currently, Ms. Francois is  part of the Family Data Trust Center at the University of Florida.   She is the internal liaison within the department for different projects.  She oversees submitting research abstracts/proposals, managing invoices and CAS exemption, expenses, and IRBs/DUA. Ms. Francois’s research interest are implementing interventions in undeveloped countries; focusing on cross-cultural solutions to help alleviate the proliferation of infant mortality from preventable diseases.

Jiawei Li
Statistical Research Coordinator III

Mr. Li has 3 years of experience in managing and visualizing big data, such as Medicaid claims data.  He works closely with Dr. Mildred Maldonado-Molina and Mr. Roland Estrella on projects “Florida Early Care and Education Needs Assessment Web Portal” and “Five Year Florida Medicaid Maternal and Child Health Status Indicators Report”.  Mr. Li administrates the databases and Tableau servers, designs and updates the Tableau interactive web portal, and prepares the project final reports.

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.  Dr. Maldonado-Molina’s research program focuses on reducing health disparities in alcohol-related consequences among youth.  She has published over 70 peer-reviewed studies related to the application of innovative statistical techniques to study the effects of context and structural interventions on behavioral and mortality outcomes, with particular focus among youth and young adults. She is the PI in six research projects at the University of Florida and the Institute for Child Health Policy. She is also a Co-Investigator in NIH projects, including a P50 Center grant from the Pennsylvania State University entitled “Center for Complex Data to Knowledge in Drug Abuse and HIV Behavioral Science” and an R25 project entitled “A Master Course on Power for Multilevel and Longitudinal Health Behavior Studies”.  From 2009-2014, she was the PI of a five-year study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism entitled “Alcohol Contextual Influences: Health Disparities and Mortality”.  She has also been principal, co-principal investigator, co-investigator or consultant in over 20 externally-funded projects examining the effects of alcohol policies on risky behaviors and health outcomes, and evaluating alcohol, drug use, and delinquency behaviors among minority adolescents. She was the Director of Education and Training in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy. She is the Director of the Family Data Center, and a member of the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences and the MD/PhD Advisory Boards in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida. She received the 2009 New Investigator Award from the National Hispanic Science Network and the 2009 Early Career Prevention Network (ECPN) Award from the Society for Prevention Research for her contributions in the area of statistical applications in the drug use and prevention field.  Recently, she received the 2013 and 2015 Exceptional Teacher Award for outstanding teaching accomplishments, College of Medicine at the University of Florida. She also received the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from The Methodology Center at Penn State for significant science contributions to the field of drug use.

Cara McDonnell
Research Assistant

Cara McDonnell research interests include community-based participatory research with an emphasis on social determinants, health disparities, and health equity specifically in access to care for vulnerable populations. She has been involved in various community participatory research projects throughout her time at University of Florida, such as working with community-based/non-profit organizations, Faith Mission, the Alachua County Perinatal Mental Health Coalition, Peace4Tarpon, and March for Dimes.

Idania Sanchez
Program Assistant

Idania has over 20 years of experience providing thorough and skillful executive administrative support. She facilitates in project operations and day-to-day management of projects. This includes creating and monitoring project timelines, deadlines, and reports; prepare IRB application submissions; prepare data use agreement forms; submit data requests; schedule and facilitate project meetings.  Obtain, organize, assemble and maintain materials related to research projects.  This includes review of contract documents, assist in project budget preparation and revision; and drafting progress reports.  Coordination of travel arrangements and documentation; initiate purchase requisitions; job postings and conduct search proceedings; maintain websites and other information repositories.

 Sachita Shrestha
Research Coordinator I

Sachita Shrestha has over five years of working experience in research and project management.   She is the Research Coordinator for the MED 146 project, which produces an annual report and a web-portal for 38 maternal and child health indicators at the state level.  She facilitates day-to-day project operation, collects and verifies state level data, writes reports, and communicates with the sponsor and external constituencies.

Erik SchmidtErik Schmidt
Systems Admin/Programmer V

Erik has been an employee of the University of Florida for almost 20 years and is a current student in the biomedical informatics graduate certificate program. He currently works with the biomedical informatics team and is responsible for managing servers and infrastructure critical to the OneFlorida project. Erik has been a guest lecturer for both graduate and undergraduate-level courses, as well as a frequent presenter at the annual American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) conference.


Lindsey VarnerLindsey D. Varner
Research Coordinator II

Lindsey D. Varner has a decade of experience in health and education research and program evaluation, previously serving as a program evaluator for international, state and local health and K-16 education programs. In her current position with the Family Data Center, Lindsey coordinates all efforts with the Florida Office of Early Learning regarding the creation of the Early Care and Education Needs Assessment (ECENA) online dashboard. She also co-authors research that proceeds from her contract work and routinely presents at national academic conferences.