Dr. Betsy Shenkman named Associate Director for Population Sciences

The University of Florida Health Cancer Center is pleased to announce that Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., has been appointed the center’s associate director for population sciences.

In this role, Dr. Shenkman will be responsible for overseeing the center-wide effort to reduce cancer-related disparities and burden through research in clinical and community settings that addresses prevention, treatment and survivorship. She is working in collaboration with cancer population scientists in multiple colleges throughout the university and in collaboration with the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s implementation science and precision population health programs.

“Dr. Shenkman is a national leader in the use of large data sets to understand underlying trends in the dissemination and uptake of modern clinical practices,” said Jonathan Licht, M.D., director of the UF Health Cancer Center. “I am delighted that she will bring her considerable talents to bear on the challenges in cancer prevention and control faced by the residents of our region.”

Dr. Shenkman’s position is one of several new leadership roles being added to the UF Health Cancer Center roster. The revamped leadership team and Dr. Licht will work with clinical, population science and laboratory-based faculty and staff to develop and implement new and innovative strategies for the treatment and prevention of cancer. These leadership positions are critical in aligning the UFHCC with the center structure required for NCI designation.

“I am honored to lead our cancer population science program and to work with the outstanding scientists throughout the university conducting innovative research related to communication about cancer prevention and treatment, palliative care, symptom science, biomedical informatics and implementation science,” said Dr. Shenkman. “We have a unique rural catchment area and significant opportunities to develop novel research to reduce the cancer burden and improve the health outcomes of our population. I also am excited about the opportunity to work with junior faculty as they develop their research programs.”

Dr. Shenkman, a nationally renowned health outcomes researcher, has led the department of health outcomes and policy at UF for more than twelve years. Her work is primarily focused on determining which combinations of health care delivery, community and patient factors influence quality and outcomes of care — and developing corresponding evidence-based strategies to improve health outcomes, particularly for low-income children and families.

A UF alumna, Dr. Shenkman received her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing and her Ph.D. in measurement and evaluation from the UF College of Education. In addition to serving as professor and chair in the department of health outcomes and policy, she is a professor in the department of pediatrics. She currently holds a UF Research Foundation Professorship, a two-year award given to tenured faculty members who have a distinguished current record of research.

Dr. Shenkman is the director of the UF Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP) and the co-director of the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). She co-directs the CTSI Implementation Science Program, which was created in 2013 to strengthen the capacity of UF Health as a learning health system and to advance implementation science across the state. 

She is the principal investigator of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute-funded OneFlorida+ Clinical Research Network, which is an alliance of 11 Florida health system partners. This network was developed to support the conduct of pragmatic clinical trials and implementation science studies in diverse community settings. OneFlorida+ contains a central Data Trust, which holds electronic health record and claims data for 10.6 million Floridians. Additionally, Dr. Shenkman directs the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded Pediatric Quality Measures Program, which is focused on improving the quality of care for children participating in Medicaid in the U.S.

Continuously NIH-funded since 2006, Dr. Shenkman currently oversees more than $59 million in contracts and grants. She has been published over 100 times in peer-reviewed journals and, since 1992, has lead the production of approximately five technical reports per year for the State of Florida that examine the quality of care for children enrolled in public insurance programs.

Dr. Shenkman has been invited to present numerous lectures and speeches nationally and internationally, and her work as a consultant, journal reviewer and grant reviewer is extensive. She is a member of several professional societies including the Association for Health Services Research, the American Society of Preventative Oncology and the American Public Health Association. She also is an elected member of the Society for Pediatric Research and the Pediatric Academic Societies in recognition of her achievements in pediatric research. 

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Shenkman as she steps into her new role as associate director for population sciences of the University of Florida Health Cancer Center.

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