Posted on Jun 25, 2021

USF Health College of Nursing appoints new senior associate dean of research

USF Health College of Nursing appoints new senior associate dean of research

The University of South Florida appointed Stephanie Marhefka, PhD, as the new senior associate dean of research for the USF Health College of Nursing.

Dr. Marhefka joined USF Health in 2007 as an assistant professor at the College of Public Health. While there she has served as associate professor from 2012-18, and professor and assistant dean of research since 2019.

“Dr. Marhefka brings many years of expertise as a research scientist and mentor,” said Usha Menon, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and dean of the College of Nursing and senior associate vice president of USF Health. “I am excited about her background in implementation science which aligns well with foci in the college of nursing. I look forward to this next era in the college under her leadership.”

Dr. Marhefka will lead a robust group of nurse scientists that are on the front lines of health care delivery focused on research dedicated to understanding precision health, social determinants of health, improving health equity, and big data science. The USF Health College of Nursing is among the top Florida state universities in National Institutes of Health funding for research with four RO1s.

“The USF College of Nursing is growing in its reach and impact, and I am delighted to have this tremendous opportunity to work with the faculty, senior leadership, and Dean Menon to achieve new milestones,” Dr. Marhefka said. “A significant part of my job will be supporting the research faculty, mentoring early career researchers and ensuring all faculty have the resources they need to compete for research funding and make meaningful contributions to research and scholarship.”

For the past 21 years, as a behavioral scientist trained in clinical and health psychology as well as in dissemination and implementation science, Dr. Marhefka’s mixed-methods research has focused primarily on improving HIV-related care and treatment, including work in telehealth and smoking cessation; and supporting positive child health outcomes through breastfeeding promotion.

In 2019, Dr. Marhefka received an R01 grant funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) section of NIH. The $2.9 million grant awarded over 5-years is titled The Positively Quit Trial: Addressing disproportionate smoking rates among people living with HIV.

Dr. Marhefka earned a PhD and a master’s in clinical and health psychology from the University of Florida, and a Bachelor of Philosophy in interdisciplinary studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She was a postdoctoral fellow in pediatric immunology at the University of Maryland Medical School and a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) T32 postdoctoral fellow at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University.

Story by Jessica Samaniego, USF Health College of Nursing