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NSU Public Health Collaborative

Collaborative Themes and Purpose

In early February 2021, Dr. DoVeanna Fulton, NSU’s Provost, convened a multi-disciplinary group of NSU faculty and charged them with recommending public health curriculum for NSU, starting with a Master of Public Health degree program. 

The resulting NSU Public Health Collaborative (the Collaborative) met weekly throughout the spring 2021 semester to discuss a vision for growth, current and needed resources, accreditation requirements and more. On April 19, 2021, Dr. Mebane (who facilitated the group with Dr. Khadijah Miller and Dr. Cynthia Burwell) presented an overview of the Collaborative’s recommendations with the following themes:

  • Reducing health disparities and promoting health equity will be core elements of all of NSU’s public health programs. Whether we are providing continuing education for community health workers or training public health leaders in a doctoral program, students will develop related knowledge, understanding and skills. 
  • Our public health programs will empower NSU faculty, students and staff and partners in local communities.  
  • Similarly, new Centers and Institutes will serve as catalysts for groups of NSU and other faculty, staff and students to build community around public health issues (e.g., behavioral health, mental health and obesity) and approaches. Programs will also help us better understand issues facing our communities and other, specific populations (e.g., pregnant women or black men) and help them build solutions to address them. 
  • A critical charge of schools of public health is to help build public health leaders. Programs range from continuing education to academic degree programs. NSU will serve as a leader and coordinator of this focus. 
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion in access and engagement related to academic programs, research, advocacy, policymaking will also be core elements of NSU’s public health initiatives. Also, college and workforce diversity programs will boost success graduation and career pursuits for a wider range of students. 

Starting in fall 2021, the Collaborative evolved into a working group of faculty across campus who are passionate about academic public health and supporting health in the region. These faculty work together to establish and conduct public health initiatives that address the needs of underserved communities to provide equitable healthcare support and transformational public health practices and community engagement. The Collaborative supports these goals by providing a forum for engagement, information sharing, training and links to resources.

[sponsored by CPHI]

Collaborative Members (October 2022)

NSU faculty members are welcome to join the Collaborative at any time by sending an email request to


Felicia Mebane, Ph.D, MSPH
Executive Director (I), Center for Public Health Initiatives at NSU

Susan Hunter, Ph.D
Academic Program Manager, Center for Public Health Initiatives at NSU

NOTE: To contact a member of the Collaborative, please send a message to

College of Science Engineering & Technology

(Unless noted otherwise, faculty are members of the Nursing and Allied Health Department.)

Melody Armstrong, MPA, RN, CNOR
Nursing Instructor,

Jill Comess, DHSc, MS, RD
FSN Program Director

Rosalyn Gardiner, PhD, RN, NE-BC, WHNP-BC
Lab Instructor

Batrina Martin, PhD
Assistant Professor

Alicia Moore, PhD
Assistant Professor

Audrey Douglas-Cook, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor

Kevin Jackson, PhD, RT
Assistant Professor

Hedieh Sirjani, PhD, MD
Assistant Professor

Mildred Fuller, PhD, MT (ASCP)
Professor and Chair (I)

Aretha Thurman, DNP, RN
Director, Nursing Programs

Felicia Doswell, PhD
Associate Professor and Chair (I), Department of Computer Science

Thorna Humphries, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science

Rhonda Fitzgerald, PhD, MS
Professor, Department of Mathematics
Director, Center for Teaching and Learning

Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work

Sharon Alston,  Ph.D, MSW
Assistant Professor

Elizabeth Dungee-Anderson, Ph.D, MSW

Liyun Wu, Ph.D, MSW, MS, MA
Associate Professor
Interests: Social determinants of health, health disparities, mental health and substance use and their impact on children and families

Viola Vaughan-Eden, PhD, MJ, LCSW
Professor and Ph.D. Program Director

Stephenie Howard, PhD, LCSW
Assistant Professor
Interests: Intersectionality between domestic violence and child welfare

College of Liberal Arts

Scott Debb, LPC, Ed.D., COI
Associate Professor and MS CyberPsychology Research & Program Coordinator, Department of Psychology 
Interests: Cyberpsychology, quality of life, reslience, conflict analysis, translation science (linguistic cross-cultural assessment)

Willie Marsh, Ph.D
Assistant Professor, Department of Mass Communications and Journalism
Interests: Health communications

Khadijah Miller, Ph.D
Professor, Department of History & Interdisciplinary Studies
Dean, Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College

Robert K. Perkins, Ph.D
Associate Professor and Graduate Programs Coordinator, Department of Sociology
Interests: Urban studies, inequality, social organizations, socio-cybersecurity

Carlene Buchanan Turner, Ph.D
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology
Interests: Sociology of aging, race, quantitative methodology, immigration, GIS mapping & socio-cybersecurity 

Yuying Shen, Ph.D, MA
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Interests: Disparities in Health & Health Care; Social Data Analytics; Socio-Cybersecurity; Community Studies; Environmental Sociology.

School of Education

(Unless noted otherwise, faculty are members of the Health, Physical Education & Exercise Science Department.)

Cynthia Burwell, Ed.D, MCHES, RKT
Director, NSU Center of Excellence in Minority Health Disparities 
Interests: Health disparities 

Kathleen Thomas, Ph.D, MS
Interests: Clinical and translational outcomes of a tailored exercise intervention in obese African American women, EVMS/NSU Health Disparities Research Grant, Spartan Employee Lifestyle Focused (SELF) Wellness project

Sheila Ward, Ph.D, M.Ed, MPH

Kianga Thomas, Ed.D, Ed.S, MA
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education

To contact a member of the Collaborative, please send a message to