Citizen scientists collaborate with researchers to ensure community perspectives are incorporated throughout the research continuum from topic identification to study design and dissemination of findings.
There are 10 trained UF Health Cancer Center citizen scientists, four of whom are cancer survivors of diverse race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Citizen scientists range in age from 17 to 90 years old and live in both rural and non-rural areas. They also include young adult cancer survivors.
UF Health Cancer Center citizen scientists are assigned to each program, attend meetings to encourage ongoing bidirectional communication and participate in the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement Advisory Council. They participate in 12T3 meetings, in which novel research concepts are discussed and considered for pilot funding. They also review clinical trial protocols and make recommendations about participant engagement, informed consent language and study procedures. Citizen scientists also review OneFlorida cancer studies.
Meet Our Citizen Scientists
Carlos Maeztu, M.A.
Carlos Maeztu, M.A., has a master’s of arts in applied linguistics and has worked for nearly 40 years in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Since 2004, he has been active in leading both the mid-Florida and North Florida chapters of the Fulbright Association, working with visiting Fulbright graduate students, researchers, scholars and faculty primarily at USF, UF and FSU. He has been a citizen scientist with the department of health outcomes and biomedical informatics since 2015. He has worked with Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)-funded projects in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular health and telemedicine. He is currently on the executive committee at the University of California at San Francisco for the National Blood Pressure Control Lab. He has been the lead patient for the PCORI-funded BP Home Study Control Lab for the past four years. He is also currently working as a stakeholder in the Harvard Pilgrim MedWeight study and the Cornell Weill study on telemedicine.
Shirley Bloodworth, M.S.N.
Shirley Bloodworth has had a long career in nursing and holds a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing from UF. She is the past nursing director of the inpatient Clinical Research Center at UF and has worked with hospice. She is co-chair of the Community Coalition for Older Adults, the educational arm of the local Senior Recreation Center. She has many connections within the community. Shirley has been with the citizen scientist program since its inception, and she has been involved in many research projects.
Angela Howard came on board with the department of health outcomes and biomedical informatics in the UF College of Medicine in August 2018 as a patient adviser for the ROSE project. She has been a part of the citizen scientist program since December 2018, where she serves on the Learning Health System Committee and the OneFlorida Executive Committee. She has attended and collaborated on various studies and research events, such as the “Un-Meeting on Rural Health and Health Equity” and “Integrating Patient Reported Outcomes for Patient-Centered Pain Care, Improving Methods for Identifying Social, Behavioral, and Clinical Factors in Doctors’ Notes in Electronic Health Records.” Angela was a coauthor on a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, titled “Implementation context for addressing social needs in a learning health system: a qualitative study,” which was published online by Cambridge University Press in August 2021.
Nadine Zemon has served as a citizen scientist at the University of Florida Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) for the past six years. She has been assigned to the CTSI Learning Health System Committee and has worked alongside UF Health system leaders, College of Medicine department chairs, and other Health Science Center leaders to identify, select and implement learning health system projects. She is also a member of the OneFlorida+ Executive Committee. Beyond the local level, Nadine serves as a patient representative on the PCORnet Steering Committee. In that capacity, she has worked with other Clinical Research Networks and contributed to several workgroups and projects. In addition to serving on committees as part of her citizen scientist role, Nadine has enjoyed being involved with a wide range of projects, from helping the Arts in Medicine team with an HIV 50+ PSA video to delivering a presentation to fellow citizen scientists on the PCORnet conference she attended, concerning the importance of researchers establishing a base of trustworthiness and strategies for doing so. Along with other citizen scientists, she worked with a curriculum expert to develop an online training program for future citizen scientists, and she was a member of the ADAPTABLE aspirin study team assisting with recruitment and dissemination efforts. Nadine has given presentations on community engagement to UF Dissemination and Implementation Science students, and she is currently advising on a pilot project aimed at reducing hospital readmissions by setting up interventions as needed after assessing social determinants of health.
Her professional background as a registered nurse includes five years as a pediatric emergency room team leader and over 10 years working in the business community as the nurse manager of an employee health unit. A move to south Florida offered the opportunity to pursue an interest in massage therapy and establish a 10-year-long private practice. Next, a move to north Florida presented an opportunity to follow a passion for art and design. She returned to school, earned a degree and went on to work as a graphic designer for a local performing arts venue. As a volunteer, she has been a board member for Gainesville Harvest (now Bread of the Mighty Food Bank), a founding member of MANTAS, an organization for mature and non-traditional students, a founding member of the PrimeTime Institute for Lifelong Learning, and a leader/facilitator for Elder Options’ Diabetes Self-Management workshops.
Zach Jones is a student at the University of Florida in the Master of Public Health program and expects to graduate in spring 2023. In this program, Zach’s studies focus on population health, public health systems and health policy. Zach has been a member of the citizen scientist program since early 2021, and he has contributed to academic abstracts, provided community perspectives on research projects and attended various training sessions on public health topics.
Christy Evans, C.P.A., MAcc
Christy Evans, C.P.A., MAcc, is a citizen scientist and an accountant with the UF department of physical medicine and rehabilitation. She is particularly interested in increasing rural access to health care and research. Christy graduated with her master’s of accounting degree from UF in 2020 and earned her Certified Professional Accountant license in 2022. She has been with UF in her role as a citizen scientist since 2016.
E. Stanley Richardson
E. Stanley Richardson is the poet laureate of Alachua County and the founder/director of the nonprofit ARTSPEAKSgnv. He is the director of the Alachua County/North Central Florida Youth Poet Laureate Program, in partnership with the National Youth Poet Laureate Program, Urban Word NYC and Alachua County, Florida.
Kristie Hill has lived in Gainesville for 16 years and has one child. She previously worked at UF Health for 10 years as a clerk and patient financial specialist. Over the last few years, she was on medical leave from work due to Crohn’s disease. After seven long years of recovery, she returned to work at UF as a citizen scientist. Months later, she accepted another position at the UF Health Cancer Center as a part-time administrative assistant. She loves both jobs and has developed an interest in research due to her condition and her parents battling cancer. Her mother died of breast cancer and her father continues to fight with chronic lymphocyte leukemia. She want to provide her services to help our community improve health outcomes in patient care.