Welcome to “Inside USF: The Podcast,” created especially for University of South Florida faculty, staff and alumni. We know you’re busy – so busy, in fact, that it can be hard to find the time to learn about the important work taking place across our three campuses. We’re here to help. Every other Friday, we’ll talk with a member of the faculty or staff about their expertise and their contributions, including in ground-breaking research, inspiring community service efforts, the arts, athletics and much more. You’ll meet members of the faculty and staff who, like you, are helping USF make an impact as a fast-rising urban research university.
Season 1 | Episode 5
Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, a fourth-generation West Tampa native, serves as USF’s interim vice president for institutional equity, senior advisor to the president and provost for diversity and inclusion, and associate professor of sociology. In this episode, she shares updates on some of the key equity, diversity and anti-racism initiatives that USF has implemented over the past year. Among them is the effort to re-imagine the Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Equal Opportunity, which has included multiple virtual town halls that attracted hundreds of participants. Elizabeth also has worked with the Office of Decision Support to create the Diversity, Anti-Racism & Equity Dashboards, and she explains the importance of the metrics as well as more nuanced aspects that go beyond the data. She also discusses efforts to encourage more high-achieving students of color to enroll at USF, and outreach to the Tampa Bay community.
Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, USF’s interim vice president for institutional equity, senior advisor to the president and provost for diversity and inclusion, and associate professor of sociology.
In our July 30 episode, Winnie Mulamba, sustainability planner for USF’s St. Petersburg campus, discusses efforts to create a more sustainable and environmentally responsible campus and community, including the new Fresh and Local Greenhouse Project.
Season 1 | Episode 4
‘Seeking Truth at High Velocity’
That’s the motto of USF’s Institute of Applied Engineering (IAE). To get a sense of the institute’s capabilities, think about the sandwich you had for lunch the other day. Now, imagine that sandwich is actually a communications satellite. That is, in fact, what the IAE created: Three small satellites, each the size of a sandwich, that have been orbiting the Earth since January. Robert Bishop, dean of USF’s College of Engineering, is the president and CEO of the institute, which was created in 2018. Intentionally located off-campus so engineering is “on display” for the public to see, the IAE searches for solutions “on a time scale that’s not common in some other traditional engineering research institutions,” Bishop says, adding, “Our focus is on applied engineering rather than basic research.” Its partners include U.S. Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The institute is in the second year of a five-year, $85 million contract that paves the way for researchers and students to collaborate with the command to help solve significant challenges facing the nation.
Season 1 | Episode 3
Sarah Howard, curator of public art and social practice at USF’s Contemporary Art Museum, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the exciting “Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration,” which opened at the museum this week. The collaboration also is being featured at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota; and the Tampa Museum of Art. Sarah, fellow curators at the other three art museums and a guest curator with extensive international experience reviewed 300 submissions from Tampa Bay artists, selecting 49 to share their creations across the four institutions. A number of the participating artists are affiliated with USF. We also learn about the Contemporary Art Museum’s permanent collection and plans for upcoming exhibitions.
Season 1 | Episode 2
While access to health care continues to be a challenge for many Black Americans, their opportunity to attain optimal health is also impacted by a variety of social factors, according to Kyaien Conner, associate professor in USF’s Department of Mental Health Law & Policy. Unless the significant disparities in who has access to education at all levels, gainful employment and safe and affordable housing, as well as in who is over-represented in the criminal justice system, are addressed, disparities in health outcomes will persist. In this wide-ranging conversation, Conner also explores the historical issue of mistrust in the Black community with regard to health care and mental health care, the need for more providers of color, the importance of medical students learning cultural humility and a recent grant award that supports her community-based Care Transitions Intervention research. Conner also shares her passion for West African dance and the “life-changing moment” when she learned she had been selected as a member of the cast for the Eddie Murphy comedy, “Coming 2 America.”
Dr. Kyaien Conner, PhD, LSW, MPH, Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, received a $2.5 million dollar research award funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI AD-2019C1-16066). Her project is entitled: Examination of The Evidence-Based Care Transitions Intervention Enhanced with Peer Support to Reduce Racial Disparities in Hospital Readmissions and Negative Outcomes Post Hospitalization. This grant is a large research grant via PCORI’s Addressing Health Disparities mechanism that will examine the impact of a community-based Care Transitions Intervention (CTI) enhanced with peer support to reduce disparities in hospital readmissions and other negative post-discharge outcomes (e.g. mortality, quality of life, ED visits) among older African Americans and Latino/Hispanics living with chronic disease. Dr. Conner is principal investigator (PI) on this project and has Co-I's from multiple USF colleges and departments: Mental Health Law and Policy (Drs. Amber Gum and Larry Schonfeld), Nursing (Dr. Usha Menon), Internal Medicine (Dr. Daniel Haight), Public Health (Dr. Jason Beckstead), Aging Studies (Dr. Hongdao Meng) and Child and Family Studies (Dr. Linda Callejas). This project will also fund two doctoral students in the interdisciplinary PhD program in Behavioral Healthcare, Erica Anderson, MS and Ana Aluisy, MS. This award is in partnership with 3 local hospitals (Tampa General, Advent Health and Lakeland regional). Dr. Conner hopes that this research will contribute to the evidence base supporting culturally relevant community-based interventions toward reducing disparities in health outcomes.
Kyaien Conner, associate professor in USF’s Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, in full West African dance make-up.
Season 1 | Episode 1
One of the lessons learned over the past year is that individuals and teams can accomplish goals, meet deadlines and maintain effective communications while working remotely. As we emerge from the pandemic, while many are anxious to return to our campuses on a full-time basis – or whose jobs require that they do so -- many others may prefer to continue working remotely or establish a hybrid arrangement. Donna Petersen, dean of the College of Public Health and chair of the USF COVID-19 Task Force, and Angie Sklenka, vice president and chief human resources officer, share their perspectives on how we can create a healthy future together as we re-imagine what work will look like, both near- and long-term.
Left to right: Angie Sklenka, vice president and chief human resources officer; Tom Woolf, Editor-in-Chief and host; Donna Petersen, dean of the College of Public Health and chair of the USF COVID-19 Task Force.
Season 1 Trailer
Where to Listen
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To our production team at WUSF Public Media, and to Jack Wilkins, director of Jazz Studies in the USF School of Music, for the use of "Black Bucket Stomp," which is from his CD, "The Blue and Green Project" on Summit Records.
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Have an idea for a future episode?
We welcome your suggestions for colleagues we should interview, or topics we should explore, in future episodes. Share them by filling out our submission form. Here are some general ideas about what we’re interested in:
- Groundbreaking research
- Unique programs/initiatives
- Efforts that make a positive difference for others
- University-wide initiatives
- USF-community partnerships