Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training

UCF School of Social Work

The Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training (CBHRT) was established in 2017 as the first center within the School of Social work focused on promoting interdisciplinary research and training in health and behavioral health.

Our Mission:

To expand expertise and scientific discovery in evidence-based prevention programs and strategies, with the goal of improving clinical practices and behavioral health outcomes for local, national, and global communities.

Our Vision:

To foster interdisciplinary collaborative partnerships to address a broad range of complex behavioral health problems and health disparities while creating cutting-edge and innovative solutions for improving the health and well-being of diverse populations.

CBHRT Services

The CBHRT has various experts available to facilitate research collaborations and promote behavioral health training.

Trainings on behavioral health topics

Research partnerships

Grant Writing, Program Planning and Evaluation

Research Assistants

Seed Grant Funding

Commitment to Improving Research

Our expert faculty’s research serves the community by providing training and research through the CBHRT on a variety of health and behavioral health topics aligned with Florida’s State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP).

Research Expertise

Faculty have expertise on a broad range of health and behavioral health topics:

e.g., health equity, education access/quality, health care access/quality

e.g., adolescent & young adult, refugees, military veterans, suicide

e.g., intimate partner violence, human trafficking, child injury, adverse childhood experiences, suicide

e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementias, and Other Aging Issues

e.g., nutrition, physical activity

e.g., animal-assisted therapies, fit-bit, Dr. Hologram

e.g., Black Deaf Feminism, LGBTQ+, etc.

Grants and Training Areas

Faculty members associated with the CBHRT conduct training and research in a variety of behavioral health topics aligned with Florida’s State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) for 2017-2021.

2020 Award Recipients

PICo-PI(s)Project Title Amount
Susanny Beltran, Ph.D., MSW Morris Beato, P.T., DPT, GCS and Norma Conner, Ph.D., RN., FNAP Central Florida Nursing Home Staff’s Perceptions and Experiences Collaborating with Hospice. $5,000
Keith Brazendale, Ph.D., MSc Ana Leon, Ph.D., LCSW Investigating the Underlying Mechanisms of Disparities in Sleep Deficiencies in Children. $5,000
Julia O'Connor, Ph.D., MSW, MPH Eric Schrimshaw, Ph.D., MS Exploring Protective-Factors for Sexual Violence Perpetration Among College-Aged Men. $5,000
Asli Yalim, Ph.D., MSW Katia Ferdowsi, MD, MPH

Students: Kenan Sualp, MSW (doc. student) & Carli Meyerson (GRA)
Understanding Barriers to Implementation of a Refugee Mental Health Assessment for Newly
Arrived Refugees in Central Florida.


  • Health Equity
    • Health Policy & Literacy
    • Cancer Disparities
  • Maternal & Child Health
    • Pediatric Health & Mental Health
  • Injury, Safety & Violence
    • Violence Prevention
    • Trauma-Informed Care
    • Secondary Traumatic Stress
  • Chronic Diseases & Conditions
    • End of Life Care
    • Chronic Illness in Children
    • Dementia
  • Behavioral Health
    • Substance Abuse Prevention & Intervention
    • Suicide Prevention, Intervention &Postvention
    • Evidence-Based Practices (TF-CBT, MI)
    • Solution-Focused Practices
    • Culturally Sensitive Practices for Diverse Population(LGBTQ+, Disability, Latino, Deaf & Hard of Hearing)
    • Loss, Grief & Bereavement
    • Aging
  • Sexually Transmitted & Infectious Diseases
    • Sexual Health
  • Healthy Weight, Nutrition & Physical Activity
    • Obesity, Stigma

Research Assistants

Interdisciplinary collaboration is key to research! That’s why our Research Assistants (RAs) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) come from different health and behavioral health course of studies.

RAs and GRAs support faculty with research-related tasks, while gaining valuable research experience. Are you interested in becoming an RA or GRA? Or are you faculty needing assistance with research? Email: [email protected] for more info


Marissa McNeil
Graduate Assistant
Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Serenea Vinci
Graduate Assistant
Social Work


Ridha Anjum
Biomedical Sciences; Minor: Psychology


Christopher Cesiro
Sports and Exercise Science (Human Performance)


Cleopatra Elshiekh
Biomedical Sciences


Tirzah Fernandez


Marie Hamel
Burnett Honors College


Fatima Hussain
Interdisciplinary Studies


Jenny Magram


Victoria Orr
Psychology (Neuroscience)


Aartie Pooani
Health Sciences (Pre-Clinical)


Angelika Santaliz
Biomedical Sciences; Minor: Medical Sociology


Carly Shasho


Hunter Trinh

Get Involved

The Center is a collaborative workspace and is here to support faculty, students, and community partners. We work with students and researchers from all disciplines to find synergies and advance behavioral health.  If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us.

Interested in Grants or Trainings?

If you are interested in collaborating on a grant or hosting a training for your organization, please fill out this form and we will respond to your inquiry in a timely manner.


Kimberley Gryglewicz's profile picture at UCF

Kimberley Gryglewicz, Ph.D., MSW

Associate Professor, Center Co-Director
Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training, Social Work
Location: HS I Room: 249
Phone: 407-823-2954
Susanny Beltran's profile picture at UCF

Susanny Beltran, Ph.D., MSW

Assistant Professor, Center Co-Director
Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training, Social Work
Location: HS I Room: 244
Phone: 407-823-4662
Lisa Borntrager's profile picture at UCF

Lisa Borntrager, MSW

Program Coordinator
Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training, Social Work
Location: Barbara Ying Center Room: 125
Phone: 407-823-4302

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