New faces for the New Year!

| CFH, Chiles Center, Departments, Featured News, HPM, Monday Letter, Our People, PRC, Programs, Take Note!

It’s a new year and with that the USF College of Public Health is happy to welcome the following new faculty and staff, adding to the college’s diversity and research specializations.

Claudia Parvanta, PhD

Dr. Claudia Parvanta is a professor in the Department of Community of Family Health and incoming director of the Florida Prevention Research Center.

She has been a long-time friend to the FPRC and COPH, serving on graduate student committees, collaborating in a PRC Special Interest Project, and participating in the Social Marketing Conference and associated training events for years.

She previously served as chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, for nearly 12 years. There she researched and contributed to projects to improve health literacy in the city’s public health centers, increase colorectal cancer screening among minorities, and train health professions students in culturally competent communication.

“My work is primarily in social marketing and health communication and my areas of interest have always been in maternal and child health and nutrition, and more recently in cancer screening and prevention,” she said.

She also headed the Division of Health Communication at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for five years where she helped to expand communication capacity and agency responses to the 9/11 attacks, anthrax and SARS.

She said she’s excited to work alongside students and a college that are so well-connected to the community to engage in public health change.

“The school is well connected to the community, I see so many areas where people are having a direct impact in the local community and that’s what I find so exciting,” she said.

Originally from Philadelphia, Dr. Parvanta is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her undergraduate degree and PhD in anthropology.

She is also currently working on two textbooks: Public Health Communication: Critical Tools and Strategies (graduate level) and Health Communication: Tools and Media for a New Era (undergraduate study), both by Jones and Bartlett Learning.


Sandra Potthoff, PhD

Dr. Sandra Potthoff has been named the new Chair for the USF College of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management.

She said she was drawn into the USF COPH from the moment she visited.

“It was the energy of the faculty, the energy of the students, the energy of the school,” she said. “As I did my research you could see the school ranking is going up, the faculty here are doing really interesting research, so it just seemed like a great environment to become a part of.”

Dr. Potthoff holds an undergraduate degree in social work, as well as a master’s and PhD in industrial engineering with a focus on health systems from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

She joins the Department after 27 years at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, where she started out as an untenured assistant and eventually became program director for the school’s MHA program for eight years.

Originally from Nisswa, Minnesota, Dr. Potthoff said she spent her childhood in a family run resort, which had been operated by her family since 1931 in the Brainerd Lakes area.

She looks forward to assisting the Department in engaging its data center and analytics capabilities in research, as well as showcasing the strength of its programs.

“We have some great teaching programs here,” she said.  “I think one of the strengths here is that there has been a lot of work in transforming the MPH core, so how can we take advantage of that innovation, if you will, to see what we should be doing with our educational programs here in the department.


Also, a warm welcome to:

Mahmooda Khaliq-Pasha, PhD, MHS – social and behavioral researcher at the Florida Prevention Research Center, Department of Community and Family Health

Theresa Crocker, PhD, RDN – assistant professor and director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program in the Department of Community and Family Health

Elena Suvorova, PhD – research assistant professor at the USF Center for Drug Development and Innovation in the Department of Global Health

Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health