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Faculty & Staff

The faculty complement of the BSPH will be interprofessional in nature and will constitute faculty from across NSU, including the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (KPCOM); KPCOM’s Department of Public Health Program; KPCOM’s Department of Nutrition, College of Health Care Sciences, and the College of Medical Sciences.


Oyindamola Akinso, Dr.PH., M.P.H., MCHES

Assistant Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1453

Oyindamola Akinso is a global health specialist with more than a decade of experience in the field of public health, including working in nonprofit, humanitarian and development projects funded by donors, international agencies and academic settings.

Akinso received her Doctor of Public Health degree (Dr.PH.) from Georgia Southern University, her Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) from Birmingham City University, United Kingdom, and a B.S. in Public Health from the Babcock University, Nigeria.

Her area of expertise and research is in the field of global health, specifically maternal, neonatal and child health in underserved populations, STIs/HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health rights, nutrition, social determinants of health and communicable and noncommunicable diseases.

She is a master certified health education specialist (MCHES) and has been at the forefront of curriculum development for both undergraduate and graduate education in global health. 

Akinso’s professional affiliations include the Association of Teachers of Maternal & Child Health, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals and the American Public Health Association. She has been recognized as an honorary member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and Omicron Delta Kappa.

Disciplines: Global and Community Health

Teaching Interests: Health Education and Promotion Practice, Rural Community Health Issues, Maternal and Child Health Issues, Theoretical Perspectives of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Substance Use and Abuse and Community Engagement in Rural and Hard to Reach Populations.


Josiah Alamu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1207

Josiah Alamu is an infectious disease epidemiologist/environmental health professional. He obtained his Ph.D. from the College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, and his M.P.H. from John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu. Alamu, an experienced educator and administrator, has taught several courses in epidemiology, environmental health, biostatics, and global health at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Prior to his NSU appointment, Alamu served as chair of the public health department at the University of Illinois, Springfield. His research interests include viral hepatitis and coinfection with HIV among the vulnerable population, water quality assessment and waterborne diseases, and environmental risk factors and their association with infectious disease in low-income countries.

Alamu has coordinated and supervised several study-abroad trips to Gambia and Ghana in West Africa, where American students were immersed in cultural and experiential learning activities. He is a board member of the Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach, the American Public Health Association, and the American College of Epidemiology.

 Dr. Blavo


Cyril Blavo, D.O., M.S., M.P.H., T.M., FACOP

Assistant Dean, Preclinical Education, Tampa Bay Regional Campus
Chair, Public Health | Professor
(813) 574-5211

Cyril Blavo, a professor of pediatrics and public health, is a practicing, board-certified pediatrician. He also serves as the director of the public health program. As a volunteer, Blavo serves as president of International Health Initiatives, Inc.—a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote, develop, and support health promotion and disease prevention initiatives for underserved populations both domestically and globally.

He serves on a variety of community-based committees and boards, including the Broward Regional Health Planning Council Board of Directors, the United Way Health Impact Committee, and the One Community Partnership Governance Board. His humanitarian efforts have earned him several awards, including the Heart Award from the Broward County Children’s Consortium, the Arnold Melnick Child Advocate Award, and a Living Tribute Award from the NSU-KPCOM Alumni Association. He is a seven-time recipient of the KPCOM Golden Apple Award for teaching excellence. As a hobby, Blavo produces African cultural performing and creative arts events


Melissa Boguslawski, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Assistant Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1633

Melissa Boguslawski earned a Ph.D. in Health Behavior with an emphasis in education leadership and a Certificate in Education Law from Indiana University-Bloomington. She also earned her Master of Public Health degree from NSU’s Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Boguslawski’s area of expertise and research is in the field of school health, specifically comprehensive school health education, education equity, food security and rural health, obesity and chronic disease prevention, and K‐12 education law and policy. She has more than 10 years of experience working in the field of public health, including working in the clinical, nonprofit, fitness, and academic industries.

She currently teaches Principles of Health Education, School Health, Health Communications, and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for the M.P.H. program. Within the B.S. in Public Health program, she teaches Intro to School Health, Domestic/Global Outreach and Applied Learning, Public Health Biology, Community-Based Health Project, and Independent Study.


Nicole Cook, Ph.D., M.P.A.

Assistant Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1505

Nicole Cook focuses on community-based research and program evaluation in the areas of 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. Cook has a B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University, an M.P.A. in Health Finance and Policy from New York University, and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Miami.


Stephen G. Grant, Ph.D.

Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1375

Stephen G. Grant, a geneticist and a toxicologist, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. Grant did his 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 a faculty member 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 more than $14.7 million in funding and led to more than 100 published scientific papers and almost 300 abstracts and presentations. Grant teaches at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels and trains 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.


Lucas Hollar, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1498

Lucas Hollar has served as an evaluator for federally funded initiatives that address tobacco, childhood obesity, patient-centered medical home programs, interprofessional primary care and public health, housing opportunities for people with AIDS, and afterschool 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, Hollar’s work has been published in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, such as the American Journal of Public Health, the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, and the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, among others. Hollar also serves as chair of the Health Advisory Board for Broward County, the Humana Bold Goal Broward initiative, and as a board member for two health-oriented organizations in Broward County.

As a KPCOM faculty member, Hollar teaches graduate-level courses in health policy and program planning and evaluation, as well as undergraduate courses in health policy and health equity. Before joining NSU, Hollar served as an assistant professor of government at Stephen F. Austin State University and as an adjunct professor of public administration at Florida Atlantic University. In addition to his teaching and research, Hollar is an alumnus of the class of 2011–2012 American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s Health Policy Fellowship.


Kristi Messer, M.P.H., M.S.W., LCSW

Assistant Dean, KPCOM Bachelor Degree Programs 
Director, Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program
Assistant Professor, Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program
(954) 262-1072

Kristi Messer relocated to Florida from Washington D.C., where she spent years working with the Department of Health and Human Services to successfully launch community health centers across the nation. As a passionate public health professional, Messer currently serves the KPCOM as an academic administrator and professor in the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program.

Messer is also an assistant professor of disaster and emergency management and assists community health centers across the state with developing robust emergency preparedness plans. She has dedicated her professional life to underserved and vulnerable population groups through her involvement with the homeless, individuals with disabilities, communities affected by disasters, and persons impacted by mental illness. 

During the past seven years, Messer has presented her research and academic achievements at more than 40 international, national, state, and local conferences. Messer is also a licensed clinical social worker and is dedicated to positively impacting children, families, and adults.



Maria F. Montoya, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Assistant Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1498

Throughout her career, Maria Montoya has focused on addressing the health needs of underserved populations. She believes that public health has been successful at improving overall health and longevity, but health disparities among minorities are persistent. As a KPCOM assistant professor, 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. Montoya’s research interest includes chronic diseases, health behavior, and issues related to vulnerable populations.


Christi M. Navarro, Ph.D., M.S.

Assistant Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1837

Christi M. Navarro 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.

Navarro is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator who is driven to inspire students to academic success. She has more than 20 years of combined experience in education, public health, research/evaluation and social service. She has worked as an instructor in both secondary and higher education settings and has experience developing curricula. 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. Additionally, she has planned and implemented training programs for community stakeholders on results‐based accountability and evidence‐based practices. 

Navarro is the course director for Community Health, Mental Health as Public Health, and Epidemiology Honors for the B.S. in Public Health program. She is also the course director for the Integrative Learning Experience—the culminating experience course for the M.P.H. program.


Alina M. Perez, J.D., M.P.H., LCSW

Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1655

In addition to 17 years of experience in academia, Alina M. Perez 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. Her 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 NSU colleges.


Stacey Pinnock, D.H.Sc., M.S.W.

Assistant Professor of Public Health
(954) 262-1819

With a background in both the health and human services, Stacey 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. Pinnock is experienced in managing and working on federally funded training grant initiatives that educate medical providers in interprofessional education and geriatric care provision. Her current research interests are in health behavior, aging, and mental health.


Claudia A. Serna, Ph.D., D.D.S., M.P.H., MCHES, CPH

Program Director, M.P.H. Program
Assistant Professor of Public Health    
(954) 262-1652

Claudia A. Serna holds a dental degree, as well as a master’s 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, a certified communicator in public health, board certified in public health, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health. She is the recipient of the 2017 American Public Health Association Anthony Westwater Jong Memorial Community Dental Health Post-Professional Award, the 2017 Leverett Graduate Student Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dental Public Health from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD), and the 2020 KPCOM M.P.H. Golden Apple Award.


Debra Cohn Steinkohl, M.H.S.A.

Assistant Professor, Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program    
(954) 262-1652

Debra Steinkohl is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and in the Department of Public Health. She is a South Florida native who takes pride in being an NSU Shark for 28 years. She has received numerous NSU and community awards, including the 2019 KPCOM award for Most Student‐Centered Faculty and was an NSU Student Life Achievement Award (STUEY) Cocurricular Adviser winner for service in advising student organizations.

Her professional interests include developing/cultivating enriched, experiential, and interprofessional learning opportunities, whereby students remain motivated, service‐ and career‐oriented, and are free to discover their unique passion for service in health care while being engaged with the real‐world laboratory. She is the course director for the B.S in Public Health Seminar and B.S in Public Health Domestic Outreach couse and is the administrative director of the interdisciplinary curriculum and community service programs.

Steinkohl is also the faculty adviser for the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Medical Students for Choice, and the Anderson Society. Additionally, she serves as chair of the Scholarship, Honors, and Awards Committee and serves on more than 6 other committees, including admissions, student progress, and community outreach.

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