Isaac Sia, MPH Biostatistics Alumnus, Receives PhD

Published: May 10th, 2016

Category: Department, Students

DrIsaacSiaCongratulations to UF Master of Public Health (MPH) alumnus, Isaac Sia, who graduated in Spring 2016 earning a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions.

Dr. Sia entered the Rehabilitation Science doctoral program in 2010, knowing that he wanted to pursue the MPH along with his doctoral studies (i.e. nontraditional RSD-MPH program).  As a clinician with an interest in healthcare policy, he was very pleased to have the opportunity to acquire knowledge and develop expertise in clinical and population science concurrently.  Dr. Sia completed his MPH in 2013.  He chose the Biostatistics concentration because it afforded him with applicable knowledge and skills in data analysis and management, among other reasons.  He enjoyed learning statistics on the SAS and R platforms, and he was able to easily apply what he learned on the SPSS platform. This gave him confidence in applying a variety of statistical techniques for the data analysis he used to complete his dissertation.

As a speech pathologist with years of experience, he chose from the onset to conduct research on the physiological model of human swallowing. His dissertation involved examining a new measure of swallowing function built on fluid mechanics principles. He studied the consistency of the measure on repeated evaluations, utilized the mixed modeling approach to examine the impact of volume and viscosity on the measure, and explored the relationship between the measure and the physiological function of the upper esophageal sphincter. His plan is to extend this line of research to improve its accuracy and understand how it varies in elderly and other patient populations.

Having completed his doctoral program, Dr. Sia started work at the National University Hospital (NUH) in Singapore as the Head of Speech Therapy in January 2016. NUH is an academic medical center partnered with a school of medicine and a school of public health.  He is managing a team of about 20 speech pathologists, championing collaborative clinical and population research, and also providing clinical services.

His goals include a desire to acquire expertise in developing influential research, and teaching clinical professionals in Singapore and other countries in the region about the clinical management of swallowing disorders and strategies for clinical research designs and data analysis.