College of Public Health

Print Friendly

Shivani Gogna, Krystal Hill, and Hanze Zhang awarded Interdisciplinary Research Challenge Grant

| Academic & Student Affairs, EPI-BIO, Global Health, Monday Letter, Our People, Students

For the fourth consecutive year, College of Public Health students are recipients of the University of South Florida Graduate Student Interdisciplinary Research Challenge Grant.  The class of 2013-2014 awardees include: Shivani Gogna, a global health masters student, Krystal Hill, a global health practice masters student, and Hanze Zhang, a biostatistics doctoral student.


Sponsored by the USF Graduate School and the Office of Research & Innovation, the grant encourages “Building Research Partnerships Across Disciplines.” Investigative teams receive up to $5,000 in funding for one-year.

In the rural town of Kibeti in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jatukik Providence has empowered thousands of internally displaced individuals in efforts to create a self-sustaining ecovillage. As it is presently lacking an effective sanitation system, investigators from public health, business administration, and mechanical engineering plan to work closely with the ecovillage. The team will install pit latrines in the main primary school while combining health education, resident participation, and social marketing components to develop a safe, sound, comprehensive, and maintainable latrine system within the community. Gogna and Hill’s project is entitled “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Sustainable Sanitation Systems in a Kibeti Ecovillage” has the ultimate goal of evaluating sustainable public health strategies in displaced populations.

The Pinellas County water distribution system is suffering from serious water quality issues that affect 500,000 residents. Decreased use due to water conservation programs and a drop in population, coupled with an aging distribution system exacerbate the problem. In his project entitled, “Drinking Water Quality Improvement in Pinellas County via Optimized Flushing,” Zhang partners with students in mathematics and civil engineering to improve water quality with a systematic tool to obtain a better [fire hydrant] flushing schedule.

“Once again, the College of Public Health is well represented among the grant recipients,” said Deanna Wathington, MD, MPH, FAAFP, associate professor and associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs.  “Students from the COPH have been selected every year since the inception of the Graduate Student Research Challenge program in 2008.”