A lecturer and publicly engaged theatre scholar in the Center for Arts in Medicine, Jeffrey’s work at UF is a combination of teaching applied theater, directing and producing health related theater and film projects, community engaged research and research translation, and health communication. His local and international research focusses on how the arts, specifically theatre and video, can be used to investigate community health issues in order to catalyze public engagement and critical dialogue around health and wellness.
In 2018/19 Jeffrey created the Undergraduate Certificate program in Applied Theatre for Health at UF in partnership with the School of Theatre and Dance in order to facilitate student research and praxis in Applied Theatre. This program explores the myriad of ways theatre can be applied to community settings as tool for research and community building. A highlight of the certificate is a partnership with the Mental Health Counselling program in the College of Education through which students in both programs explore the power of theatre in mental health settings.
In 2018 Jeffrey was a Creative Campus Scholar in Residence in the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) where he co-developed an oral history performance for social justice program. His collaborative, ethnographic play Voices from the March documents the 2017 Women's March on Washington and Trump Inauguration through the eyes of the students who attended. This project investigated the theme of 'belonging' in America and is an example of how theatre can be used as a tool for activisim and community building. While in residence at SPOHP, Jeffrey began developing an oral history performance project with SPOHP students and theatre MFA student Brittney M. Caldwell: From Colored to Black. The play was originally developed as a series of dramatic oral history vignettes inspired by the work of Jacob Lawrence which were performed in the Harn Museum of Art surrounded by Lawrence's artwork. Caldwell and Pufahl further developed the vignettes into multi-modal play that incorporates oral history and contemporary dialogue to explore Black identity and expose the health consequences of systemic racism. Featured at the Creating Healthy Communities: Arts and Public Health Florida Conference, this project is an example of how theatre and cross-sector collaboration can catalyze communities towards a deeper understanding of complex health issues.
In 2017, in collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Students, UF Victim's Advocate program, and Student Health, Jeffrey co-developed a new play to educate and inform students on sexual assault and consent issues. Ashley’s Consent is a multi-modal, site specific play created through a process of collective dramaturgy. The play proved to be an effective method of educating students and fostering dialogue around the complexities of bystander intervention, victim blaming, what constitutes a sexual assault, and how to access campus resources.
Jeffrey has been in partnership with clinicians and researchers in the Center for OCD and Related Disorders since 2018. Together they developed Inside OCD: I am not my illness, a storytelling program and performance featuring people living with an OCD diagnosis. This project garnered national recognition through presentations at the International OCD Conference and The American Psychiatric Association Conference, and is an example of how storytelling can be an effective tool for community building and patient recovery.
In 2016, Jeffrey worked with community members and the National Endowment for the Humanities to create Telling: Gainesville, an original verbatim theatre project connecting the oral histories of Gainesville veterans with community for the purpose of facilitating dialogue and understanding.
A faculty affiliate in the Center for STEM Translational Communication, Jeffrey partners with health communication researchers to create educational videos translating research through drama.
In 2020 Jeffrey received a grant from the US Department of State to develop a play in Mumbai, India addressing LGBTQ+ identity and stigma in India. Jeffrey assembled an ensemble of leading theatre practitioners to devise a play aimed at shifting attitudes in Indian audiences towards a more positive and deeper understanding of LGBTQ identity. Even Mists Have Silver Linings opened in Mumbai in March 2020 and will tour India in 2021/22.