Scholars, Mentors, Teachers

Corinne Kyriacou

Cronne Kyriacou

As a teenager, Dr. Corinne Kyriacou volunteered at nursing homes, delivered meals to older adults, and spent a lot of time with her aging grandparents. What started as a personal concern for the mental health and societal acceptance of older people and those with chronic disabilities has since evolved into a lifelong dedication to improving public health policy and promoting social justice.

Her work over the past 20 years, in the field and in the classroom, bridges many sectors and disciplines. “I love that social justice is a core mission of public health and that the students and professionals I work with are as passionate as I am about helping those that are most at risk, most vulnerable, most ignored.”

Corinne Kyriacou, PhD, is associate professor of health professions in Hofstra University’s School of Health Sciences. She is also the graduate director of the School’s innovative Master of Public Health program, and led the efforts to develop its mission and core interdisciplinary curriculum before its launch in 2012.

She teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on health care reform, bioethics, the design and implementation of community health programs, and health research writing and methodology. She also oversees clinical internships and seminars.

“I love that social justice is a core mission of public health and that the students and professionals I work with are as passionate as I am about helping those that are most at risk, most vulnerable, most ignored.”

“I love that public health is interdisciplinary,” she said. “Public health professionals work in numerous fields including education, health promotion, social marketing, health administration, program and project management, social, economic and health policy, community practice, and research.”

At Hofstra, Dr. Kyriacou is working on several research projects and public health awareness campaigns, and involves her students in all phases of planning and execution:

"Wait No More" is a partnership with the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University and the Disability Opportunity Fund that is examining housing solutions for thousands of Long Islanders with disabilities and their families. Dr. Kyriacou and her students have designed and conducted focus groups and an online survey, collected and analyzed data, and are now writing a report on their findings.   In another survey, with the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, Dr. Kyriacou and her students are studying how enrollees in the new health insurance exchanges are faring.

Corinne Kyriacou

Under her guidance, graduate students also conceptualize and write a biannual newsletter, “The Bridge,” which appears on the MPH program page and is widely distributed on campus and in the community.  The articles cover the students’ involvement in events, research, internships, and community-based projects.  “Engaging students in this way gets them thinking analytically about important topics, improves their writing and communication skills, and lets them discuss their work in professional circles,” she says. 

Dr. Kyriacou has also helped spearhead plans for Hofstra’s second annual National Public Health Week Event Series, which is part of a nationwide initiative to increase awareness about important public health issues.  The series includes academic presentations, community health fairs, film screenings and student-run activities and exhibits.   Dr. Kyriacou’s ongoing work and networking with health and community groups have helped recruit major organizations and agencies including the Nassau County Department of Health, Nassau University Medical Center, and North Shore-LIJ Department of Pediatrics as event partners.

Before coming to Hofstra, Dr. Kyriacou earned her MPH at New York Medical College and her doctorate at the Heller School at Brandeis University, where she was awarded a training grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research Policy.   Her experiences in both programs helped develop her understanding of patient education, health promotion, and disease prevention, as well as combine her interests in the elderly, mental illness, integrated care, and health policy.   Her first full-time position as a PhD was as director of research at Metropolitan Jewish Health System (MJHS) in Brooklyn, where among her accomplishments she co-authored a book and created a successful palliative care program.

“While I loved being in the field and solving problems, I always knew that I wanted to teach as well.  Indeed my plan after receiving my doctoral degree was to get field experience first and then bring that experience into the classroom,” she said. “After about five years at MJHS I began to get the ‘itch’ to teach and work with students. Having grown up on Long Island, I was always aware of Hofstra University and had followed its evolution.”  She saw tremendous opportunities for growth, and began teaching on a part-time basis until 2003, when she joined as a full-time professor.

A 2013 Teacher of the Year, Dr. Kyriacou counts mentorship among her most important responsibilities, and credits the teachers she’s had over the years for setting a good example. “During my many years as a student I worked with a number of fabulous faculty preceptors who modeled for me what it means to be a good mentor.   “I experienced firsthand the transformative impact mentoring has on professional development and therefore have worked hard to hone my skills as a mentor and give back to current students through advisement and project and research guidance. I see these as essential components of being a teacher and public health professional.”

Corinne Kyriacou in the news