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MPH Faculty

MPH Faculty


Nicole Cook, PhD, MPA

Associate Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1505

Nicole Cook, PhD, MPA, focuses on community-based research and program evaluation in the following areas: chronic disease; experience and access to care for vulnerable populations; telemedicine; and, gun violence and resiliency after trauma. She teaches epidemiology, community health assessment, community health and population health. Dr. Cook has a B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University, an MPA in health finance and policy from New York University and a PhD in Epidemiology from University of Miami.


Stephen G. Grant, PhD

Professor of Public Heath
(954) 262-1375

Stephen G. Grant, Ph.D. is a geneticist and a toxicologist. He got his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children and had research and clinical fellowships at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University of California, San Francisco, respectively. He was a Staff Scientist in biodosimetry at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and faculty in Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. His work on environmental, occupational and medical exposures and genetic predisposition to cancer has generated over 14.7 million dollars in funding and led to over 100 published scientific papers and almost 300 abstracts and presentations. Dr. Grant teaches at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels as well as training interns, graduate students and postgraduate fellows in the laboratory. He has served on expert panels for the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, state and foreign governments, private foundations and universities.


T. Lucas Hollar, PhD

Associate Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1498

Dr. T. Lucas Hollar is an Associate Professor of Public Health within Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (KPCOM). He has served as an evaluator for federally-funded initiatives addressing tobacco, childhood obesity, patient-centered medical home programs, interprofessional primary care and public health, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, and after school programming for at-risk youth. Additionally, he has performed foundation and corporation-funded research and evaluation in the areas of patient experience of care in federally qualified community health centers, cancer screening and education for underserved women, and childhood obesity prevention and intervention in public schools. His current research focuses on policy, systems, and environmental change for improving the health of populations; patient experience of care; childhood obesity; and tobacco control policies. Based on his research, Dr. Hollar’s work has been published in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, such as American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, and Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, among others. Dr. Hollar also serves as the Chairperson of the Health Advisory Board for Broward County, Humana Bold Goal Broward initiative, and as a board member for two health-oriented organizations in Broward County, FL. As a KPCOM faculty member, Dr. Hollar teaches graduate level courses in health policy and program planning and evaluation and undergraduate courses in health policy and health equity. Before joining NSU, Dr. Hollar severed as an Assistant Professor of Government at Stephen F. Austin State University and Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University. In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. Hollar is an alumnus of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine's Health Policy Fellowship, Class of 2011-2012.


Maria F. Montoya, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor
(954) 262-1498

Throughout her career, Dr. Montoya has focused on addressing the health needs of under‐served populations. She believes that public health has been successful at improving overall health and longevity, but health disparities among minorities are persistent. As an Assistant Professor at NSU KPCOM, Dr. Montoya strives to highlight the needs of minority populations in hopes of alleviating the health inequalities that exist. She truly enjoys working with students and serving the South Florida community. Dr. Montoya’s research interest includes chronic diseases, health behavior, and issues related to vulnerable populations.


Christi M. Navarro, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1837

Christi M. Navarro, Ph.D., M.S., is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at NSU where she earned her M.S. in Educational Leadership. She has a Ph.D. in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Florida International University.

Dr. Navarro is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator driven to inspire students to academic success. She has over 20 years of combined experience in education, research, evaluation, public health, and social service. Dr. Navarro has worked as an instructor in both secondary and higher education settings, and has experience developing curricula for new programs and working with students to encourage learning and academic success. She has a strong background in developing, implementing, and evaluating data‐ driven programs. She has also planned and implemented training programs for community stakeholders on results‐based accountability and evidence‐based practices. Dr. Navarro has previously worked in the South Florida community implementing, developing, and evaluating community‐based programs that address overall health, mental health, and risk behaviors among youth.

Dr. Navarro currently teaches Community Health, Epidemiology Honors, and Global Outreach & Applied Learning for the BSPH program. She also facilitates the culminating experience course, the Integrative Learning Experience, for the MPH program.


Alina M. Perez, JD, MPH, LCSW

Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1655

Alina M. Perez is a Professor of Public Health at Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, Master of Public Health Program. In addition to 17 years of experience in academia, she brings more than 15 years of practical experience as a licensed clinical social worker in the areas of inpatient and outpatient mental health, inpatient oncology, emergency care and hospice care. Ms. Perez’s clinical practice, scholarship and community involvement has focused extensively on addressing legal, ethical and public health issues of the aging population, minorities and the underserved. She has presented at many local, national and international conferences and frequently provides lectures and continuing education sessions for students and professionals in the community and other colleges within NSU.


Stacey Pinnock, DHSc, MSW

Assistant Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1819

Stacey Pinnock currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health for the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University. With a background in both the health and human services, Dr. Pinnock has extensive experience working with disadvantaged populations and meeting the needs of underserved communities. She previously served as a clinical social worker in both hospital and in-home settings, and as a health promotion specialist and junior policy analyst in governmental settings in Canada. Dr. Pinnock is experienced managing and working on federally-funded training grant initiatives educating medical providers in interprofessional education and geriatric care provision. Her current research interests are in health behavior, aging, and mental health.


Claudia A. Serna PhD, DDS, MPH, MCHES, CPH

Program Director, MPH Program
Assistant Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1652

Dr. Claudia A. Serna holds a dental degree and a master and doctoral degree in public health with a specialization in health promotion and disease prevention from Florida International University. She furthered her education by completing a residency in dental public health at NYU Langone Health, and a certificate in social media marketing from Rutgers University School of Business. She is also master certified in health education, certified communicator in public health, board certified in public health and Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health. She is the recipient of the 2017 American Public Health Association (APHA) Anthony Westwater Jong Memorial Community Dental Health Post-Professional Award, and the 2017 Leverett Graduate Student Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dental Public Health from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD). Dr. Serna's research has been published in Scientific Journals including the American Journal of Public health, AIDS Education and Prevention, Family and Community Health and the International Public Health Journal.

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