The ILR-Levitt Awards are cosponsored by the University of Florida (UF) and showcase student research on aging. The judges for this year’s Poster Competition (Gail Dewsbury, ILR; Robin West, UF and ILR; Keith Berg, UF and ILR) identified 5 excellent poster presentations from among the 16 UF students whose posters were reviewed on February 12, 2020. These 5 winners went on to give 15-minute presentations on February 21 on their research. Presentation ratings by ILR audience members as well as the judges (Susan Bluck, UF; David Clark, UF’ Keith Berg, ILR and UF) determined yhe final winners.

First place Levitt Award winner, Margaret (Elle) Wiggins, a doctoral candidate in Clinical and Health Psychology, discussed how a simple clock drawing test could identify cognitive problems before surgery in CHARACTERIZATION OF PREOPERATIVE CLOCK DRAWING IN OLDER ADULTS UNDERGOING TRANSURETHRAL  RESECTION OF BLADDER TUMOR.

Margaret (Elle) Wiggins

Calia Morais is a post-doctoral fellow in the Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence. Calia won the  Levitt Award Second place prize tellling us about RACE AS A NODERATOR OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RESILIENCE AND PAIN OUTCOMES AMONG OLDER ADULTS WITH BACK PAIN.

Calia Morais

Presenting ENHANCING END-OF-LIFE CARE IN THE NEURO ICU USING THE CARE COMMUNICATION BUNDLE, Ngoc (Anh) Le won the Levitt Award Third place prize. Anh is a Quality Improvement Intern in the Department of Neurology.

Ngoc (Anh) Le

Shabnam Medhizadah, another Finalist, explored the FITNESS-TO-DRIVE SCREENING MEASURE SHORT-FORM as a way of identifying the driving difficulties of Parkinson’s Disease patients. She is a fourth-year Ph.D. Student in Occupational Therapy.

Shabnam Medhizadah

Another Finalist, Marilyn Horta, a Ph.D. candidate in Psychology, considered how INTRANASAL OXYTOCIN ADMINISTRATION might affect emotional identification in brief audio and/or video clips.

Marilyn Horta


The student research Awards Event was cancelled in 2020 due to the Coronavirus threat. Thus there are no pictures to accompany the recognition of the student award winners who wrote high-quality research papers for the Cluff awards program. Special thanks to Dr, Yenisel Cruz-Almeida and Dr. Robin West for facilitating the Cluff awards program in 2020.

Emily Mroz, Dept. of Psychology doctoral candidate, won $1200 from the Leighton R. Cluff Research on Aging endowment at UF. Her paper reported on LOSS IN THE LIFE STORY: REMEMBERING DEATH AND ILLNESS ACROSS ADULTHOOD.

The ILR prize of $600 was won by Muhammed Alam, writing on COMPETING MORTALITY RISKS IN ELDERLY MEN WITH PROSTRATE CANCER. Muhammed is an Advanced Urology Fellow from the Dept. of Urology at UF, Jacksonville.