College of Health and Human Performance

Q&A with new HEB Chair Dr. Mildred Maldonado-Molina

This summer, Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D., will join the College of Health & Human Performance as the Chair for the Department of Health Education & Behavior.

Dr. Maldonado-Molina joins the college from the Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics at the UF College of Medicine where she is an Associate Professor and Director of the Family Data Center. At UF, she has been recognized for outstanding teacher accomplishments by the College of Medicine three times. In addition, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award for significant scientific contributions from the Methodology Center at Penn State University in 2013.

Her research focuses on improving health equity by promoting child and maternal health and reducing alcohol- and drug-related consequences. Her work focuses on improving the health of minority children and adolescents. She has published more than 77 peer-reviewed studies related to the application of innovative statistical techniques to study the effects of health interventions on behavioral outcomes.

What excites you about your new role as chair of the Department of Health Education & Behavior?

  • A unique opportunity to serve a talented group of faculty, students, and staff who are diligently contributing to HHP’s mission to improve “how we live, work, and play.”
  • Joining an academic environment with genuine commitment to improve our communities and to “enrich lives, influence healthy living, and enhance human performance.”
  • I look forward to an opportunity to work with the HEB community to shape and increase outreach of our academic and training programs; increase our research infrastructure and portfolio; and impact our communities through innovation in the delivery and rigorous evaluation of health interventions. Established areas of focus include: substance misuse; obesity, physical activity, and nutrition; and HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections, and reproductive health.

What goals do you have for your new position?

  • To identify ways to strengthen our undergraduate and graduate programs. By providing excellent training, HEB faculty are meaningfully impacting the lives of hundreds of students and mentees.
  • To implement new initiatives to catalyze on prevention science at UF by strengthening existing and creating new intercollege collaborations.
  • Support momentum of the Center for Behavioral Economic Health Research.
  • To continue to support the mission of the Mary F. Lane endowed professorship. This is an exciting commitment from an HEB Alumna (and her husband Chip Lane) to support a research program to address health behavior problems among younger adults, adolescents or children. The HEB department is uniquely positioned to contribute to the prevention and modification of health-related behavioral risk factors.

What is something about you that is important for the college community to know about you?

This is an intriguing question, and therefore, I asked my network of colleagues to collect their responses:

  1. Lattes are my spirit animals.
  2. My favorite meeting: talking, walking, drinking coffee or tea.
  3. Travel (with my friends) is my happy place.
  4. Yoga is my therapy (and health insurance).
  5. Cupcakes are the bomb.
  6. Favorite character — from Star Wars: Yoda: “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” 

Where do you go for inspiration?

I find inspiration in traveling and engaging with nature… in open spaces… or reading a good book.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

Don't let success go to your head, nor let failure go to your heart.

You cannot swim to new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore — William Faulkner

What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Work but don’t forget to live. 

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