Debra Dobbs, PhD has been selected for the position of interim director of the University of South Florida (USF) School of Aging Studies and began serving in the position on July 1. Dobbs is a professor in the School of Aging Studies and academic director of the Center for Hospice, Palliative Care and End-of-Life Studies, where she has developed research partnerships with hospice organizations in Florida. She also has served as director of the PhD program in aging studies during the past year.
Dobbs joined the USF School of Aging Studies in 2006 as an assistant professor and earned the role of professor in 2023. Prior to her time at USF, Dobbs was a research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research Program on Aging, Disability and Long-Term Care. Prior to this, she served as a project manager at the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas and as the Office of Aging and Long-Term Care in the School of Social Work at the University of Kansas during her doctoral program in sociology at the University of Kansas. Earlier in her career, Dobbs worked as a case manager for senior populations and as a social services director of a nursing home.
As School of Aging Studies interim director, Dobbs succeeds Riaan van Zyl, PhD who served as interim director during the previous academic year along with his role as director of the School of Social Work.
"I am thankful for Dr. van Zyl’s service to the School of Aging Studies and his continued contributions to the college and the School of Social Work. Thank you, Dr. van Zyl for taking on these additional duties in the School of Aging Studies during the past academic year,” said College of Behavioral and Community Sciences Dean Julie Serovich. "I look forward to working with Dr. Dobbs to continue to strengthen the School of Aging Studies and support the work of our excellent, multi-disciplinary faculty in their teaching and research.”