Orville Clayton – ABD, Health Services Management and Research Track

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Thomas Wan

Dissertation Title: Jail Mental Health Innovations: Factors Influencing Mental Health Services Innovations for Jails

This study utilized a mixed methods research design to investigate the factors that influence the adoption of mental health services for Florida’s jails and the quality outcomes of such services as indicated by the structural adequacy of the service provisions and the process integrity of such services. The first part of the study utilized a researcher developed survey instrument to gather information from jail administrators and key stakeholders of jails regarding jail mental health services. Study findings were informed by the quantitative analysis of the responses utilizing structural equation modeling.

 The second part of the study featured in-depth, qualitative interviews of selected jail administrators related to jail mental health services and their perceptions of the role of structural adequacy and process integrity in assessing the quality of such services.  Qualitative study findings were informed by the identification of patterns and themes in participant responses.

Lloyd Duran – ABD, Social Work Track

Dissertation Chair: Professor Ana Leon

Dissertation Title: The Effects of Social Support and Working Alliance on Latino-American Combat Veterans

Latino-American combat veterans have been found to endorse more and higher magnitudes symptoms of PTSD, even after controlling for combat exposure. Theory states that there are specific cultural factors that may explain this phenomenon. The study, which is taking place at the Orlando VA Medical Center, aims to test if social and interpersonal factors that are pertinent to Latino-American culture have an effect on psychological functioning on the said population undergoing any type of PTSD psychotalk therapy, and if so, to what extent.  Analyses will use cross-sectional data and include confirmatory factor analysis and test a structural equation model.

ABD Student Dissertations

Meldin Garcia – ABD, Public Administration Track

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Thomas Bryer

Dissertation Title: Bridging The Gap: An Exploration of Women as the Driving Force of Political Participation Within the Latino Population in Two Florida Counties

With minorities expected to become the majority in the U.S. by 2050, it is important to consider the impact of diverse groups as political influencers and decision-makers. Despite an ever-growing population and significant eligible voting population, overall levels of political participation in the form of voter turnout remain low among Latinos in the state of Florida. While voting is not the only form of political participation, within the United States it is one of the best methods of driving change. As a matter of public policy, the under-representation of a given population potentially results in their issues and concerns not being heard or addressed. This begs the question, what does relevant political participation look like to Latinos and how can it be increased? As influencers and drivers of change within their families and communities, Latinas could be the solution to increasing overall Latino political participation. This study contributes to the topic by focusing on Latinos within Central Florida and Miami-Dade regions, and looking at Latinas through interviews and focus groups, to determine what political participation means to the community in these areas, determine the factors that foster or prevent participation, and determine how to best engage with the Latino community to drive participation in ways that are relevant and meaningful to them. Thematic Analysis will be used to study the collected data.

Amanda Raffenaud- ABD, Health Management and Research Track

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Lynn Unruh

Dissertation Title: Work and Family Conflict: A Comparative Analysis Between Registered Nurses and Nursing Managers

The nursing profession is comprised of over 3 million employees, and it currently stands as the largest workforce segment in the U.S. health care system (BLS, 2014; Hooper, 2011).  Within the nursing profession, over 2.7 million nurses practice as registered nurses or RNs (BLS, 2015). Traditionally, RNs are responsible for providing crucial, front-line patient care delivered within multiple settings.  The most predominant practice settings for registered nurses include hospitals, skilled nursing faculties, home health agencies, public health facilities, and hospice care setting (FCN, 2016b).

According to a 2008 national survey of registered nurses (the last year of this 3-decade long survey project), over 66% of nurses practiced as front line staff nurses, whereas 12.5% practiced as nurse managers (HRSA, 2010).  Other nurses practiced in the following capacities: patient coordinator (5%), nurse practitioner (4%), nurse anesthetist (1%), nursing faculty (4%), and nurse specialist, midwife, consultant or researcher (all under 1% respectively) (HRSA, 2010).

Despite large numbers of registered nurses, the nursing population increasingly faces issues that impede its clinical and managerial practice.  Even considering the ebb and flow to the supply of nurses, experts still project a long term shortage: “Projections indicate there will be a deficit of more than 260,000 nurses by 20205” (AACN, 2016). The shortage has a number of causes. On the demand side, a large group of citizens entering old age and a growing number of individuals with health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act increase the demands for healthcare. On the supply side, a large cohort of nurses are retiring, too few nurses are entering, and others are leaving nursing prior to retirement age (HRSA, 2016; HRSA, 2008).  Further, the nursing population is wrought with organizational turnover, dissatisfaction and low morale (Baernholdt & Mark, 2009; Byrne, 2006; Teo et al., 2013).


Vickie Tyler Carnegie- ABD, Public Administration Track

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Thomas Bryer

Dissertation Title: Bureaucratic Responsiveness In Matters of Racial Sensitivity: A Multi-Case Study Analysis Regarding Public Display of the Confederate Flag

Ensuring the needs and preferences of citizens are reflected in public policy is a fundamental component of a democratic society.  When there are deep-seated emotional divides among the citizenry, this task becomes more complicated and difficult to achieve.  Public officials are faced with the challenge of weighing competing desires and determining the best policy for society. This is perhaps best illustrated in public official response to the display of the Confederate Flag on government grounds.  Recently, the tension between those who support the Confederate Flag as a symbol of heritage and those who see it as a perpetuation of hate reached an apex.  In five states, the level of responsiveness by public officials to the controversy were significantly dissimilar.  This study seeks to assess what factors influenced the decision-making behavior of public officials in each of these states regarding the Confederate Flag.  Employing grounded theory across a variety of sources (newspaper articles, semi-structured interviews, public e-mails, and legislative histories), this research study will develop a theory about bureaucratic responsiveness in matters of a highly charged emotional nature. Findings from this study can be used to predict government responses to racially motivated social crises and assist in fostering improved government efforts at responding to extremely sensitive matters.  Similarly, understanding can be garnered as to how to improve the handling of issues with similar schema-forming symbols which have the capacity to call forth dynamic and polarizing responses.

Keywords: bureaucratic responsiveness, decision-making theory, Confederate Flag, grounded theory



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