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Meet Public Health Faculty

Reflecting the breadth of the program, the Public Health faculty are drawn from across all seven schools at TCNJ. This dynamic group of committed instructors offers teaching, research expertise, and mentorship in health communication, health informatics, health and wellness promotion, anthropology, and medical sociology. Faculty expertise also spans natural sciences, social sciences, health and risk communication, social media, computer science, nursing, health and exercise science, public health, and community health.

Headshot of Dr. Brenda Seals.

Brenda F. Seals, PhD, MPH, MA

Professor and Chair
Dr. Seals teaches Research Methods, Grant Writing and oversees Capstone Projects for the BS and MPH programs. Most recently, she served as a Co-Investigator on many Community Based Participatory Approach projects including a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) study of hepatitis among Asian Americans living from Delaware to New York City. She also was Co-Investigator of a CDC REACH grant geared to improve diets among Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Filipino Community Based Organizations serving meals to community members. Another component of the REACH grant works with Asian supermarkets to promote healthier foods and improve store offerings of lower salt, higher fiber and better oil products. Brenda has worked with Native American and African American populations for studies of cancer, HIV, violence and injury, mental health and Health Disparities. With Dr. Greg Seals, she is co-leading studies of the theory of education energy as provided in public health education settings.

Office hours: view online
Location: Trenton Hall 221

Headshot of Dr. Carolina Borges

Carolina M. Borges, PhD, MPH, DDS

Associate Professor
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Dr. Borges holds a PhD in Dental Public Health, minor in Oral Epidemiology, completed at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG-Brazil) with a fellowship at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH-Boston). She holds a Master is in Public Health, minor in Epidemiology. She also has advanced training in Education, Habilitation in Instructional Design, at University of Wisconsin Stout (UW Stout-USA).
Research interests are in Social Epidemiology, Social Determinants of health-illness, Health inequalities, Oral Health inequalities, and new technologies applied to health. She currently teaches PBH240 Introduction to Epidemiology, PBHG540 Intermediate Epidemiology, and PBH/NUR 301 Perspectives in Global Health.

Office hours: view online
Location: Trenton Hall 203

Sharon Byrne

Sharon K. Byrne, DrNP, RN, APN, NP-C, CHE, CGNC

Associate Professor


Sharon K. Byrne DrNP, RN, APN, NP-C, CNE, CGNC is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing & Department of Public Health at TCNJ.  She is Coordinator of the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program through the Office of University Programs at Peace Corps, within the graduate nursing. Dr. Byrne received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions within the Educator/Practitioner tracks, MSN and post-master’s certificate in Healthcare Administration and as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Widener University, and BSN form La Salle University. Her initial education as registered nurse occurred at Helene Fuld of Nursing at West Jersey Hospital diploma program.  She is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and has practiced in medical-surgical nursing, primary care, occupational health, and medical and radiation oncology.  Currently, Dr. Byrne maintains a clinical practice with MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in their Cancer Screening Project.  She is currently active in collaborating with TCNJ Arlotto Family Center for Global Engagement partner Northumbira University, UK, Nursing & Midwifery program.

Dr. Byrne’s research interests are tri-fold in the area of nursing and public health education, cancer care focusing on prevention and early detection of cancer, and the promotion of culturally tailored care in population/global health.  Mentoring students from many disciplines during volunteer medical missions in partnerships with NGOs has peaked her interest in the exploration of cultural care, specifically cultural safety and cultural humility, and its development in healthcare professionals. Related to role as a Certified Global Nurse Consultant, she has a deep-rooted interest in the study of health disparities related to cancer services and outreach, particularly in minority-underserved women and other vulnerable populations.  She is expanding her research to include women with at risk of developing these cancers due to their ethnicity or genetics.

Office hours: view online
Location: Trenton Hall 204


Headshot of Marina Celly Martins Ribeiro de Souza.

Dr. Marina Celly Martins Ribeiro de Souza, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Souza´s background is on Nursing, Community/Public Health and Gerontology fields. She started her career as a Community Health Nurse in 2005 in Brazil, and continued to advance her knowledge base throughout the years, with the completion of a Master and Ph.D. in Nursing, along with a Graduate Certificate in Public Health and Gerontology. Her clinical focus is Gerontology and Community Public Health.  She currently teaches on both Undergraduate and Graduate (MPH) levels at the Department of Public Health. She has been conducting studies on Health Education and Promotion, Disease Prevention, Gerontology and Aging.

Office hours: view online
Location: Trenton Hall 227

Headshot of Anne Farrell.

Anne Farrell, PhD

View Profile – Tel. 609-771-2191 –

Dr. Anne Farrell has been in higher education training perspective health and physical education majors since 1999 at California State University, Bakersfield and Canisius College.  She has been working at TCNJ since 2005 as the Health and Exercise Science Teacher Education Program Coordinator and is currently serving as the Department Chair. Her primary research interest area is in improving youth fitness levels through appropriate physical education programs and a secondary area of study addresses how technology can assist teacher education programs in better preparation of future educators.

Dr. Farrell is an active presenter at state and district AHPERD conferences and strives to get students involved in the state organization. Her work has earned her two TCNJ Outstanding Professor awards as well as NJHAPERD’s 2012 Higher Education Teacher of the Year award.

Office Hours: View Online
Location: Packer Hall 220

Headshot of Dr. Yachao Li.

Yachao Li, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Yachao Li (Ph.D., University of Georgia, 2018; M.A., Rutgers University, 2015) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Public Health. He is an award-winning teacher-scholar with expertise in interpersonal and health communication. His research focuses on the intersections of message production and minority health disparities. Dr. Li’s scholarly work has been published in journals such as Journal of Medical Internet ResearchInternational Journal Environmental Research and Public HealthHealth CommunicationJournal of Applied Communication Research, and Communication Studies. His projects have been supported by funding agencies such as National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Endowments for the Humanities, National Institute of Drug Abuse, and FDA Center for Tobacco Products. Dr. Li teaches classes in areas such as risk and health communication campaigns, interpersonal communication, health communication theory, research methods, and sexual communication.

Office Hours: View Online
Location: Kendall 211

Headshot of Dr. Alexis Mraz.

Dr. Alexis Mraz, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Mraz holds a PhD from The Ohio State University in Environmental Health Sciences with a minor in Epidemiology and a Master of Science from Drexel University in Environmental Science. Her research focuses on environmental microbiology with an emphasis on risk assessment. Dr. Mraz is currently assessing various health risks associated with recreating in surface waters influenced by combined sewer overflows. Part of Dr. Mraz’s research focuses on water and sanitation health (WASH) where she is assessing the affects of community latrines in Kathmandu, Nepal. Additionally, she has developed Legionella pneumophila growth models and studies the pathogen-host interactions in large premise plumbing systems, such as those found in hospitals and hotels. She teaches Biostatistics for Public Health, Research Methods for Public Health, Health Analytics, and Water, Land, and Air: Critical Issues in Public Health.

Office hours: view online
Location: Trenton Hall 215

Headshot of Dr. Natasha Patterson.

Natasha Patterson, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor

Dr. Patterson holds a PhD in Education with a concentration in Higher Education Leadership from Capella University in Minneapolis, MN; a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. She also holds a Certificate of Leadership, Next Generation Leadership Academy, from Civitas Learning. Dr. Patterson has 14 years of experience teaching both graduate and undergraduate public health programs as well as past experience administrative experience as Director of the MPH program and Dean of Health Sciences. Dr. Patterson is the founder of the Public Health Associate Degree Program currently operating at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA.  Her areas of interest include: health disparities, higher education partnerships associated with opioid addiction and recovery, institution and program accreditation, curriculum development, and is currently conducting studies on library partnerships to address health literacy, collaborative efforts to address stigma and opioids, and breastfeeding in low income, minority populations. Dr. Patterson has also served as a mentor to many students over the years, providing academic and career guidance.

Office hours: view online
Location: Trenton Hall 103


Headshot of Dr. John C. Pollock.

John C. Pollock, Ph.D., M.(I)P.A.

View Profile – – Tel. 609-771-2338

Dr. John C. Pollock (PhD, Stanford), is a Professor, depts. of Communication Studies and Public Health, The College of New Jersey.  His major teaching and research interests focus on health communication and a theory he has helped pioneer: community structure theory, a subset of media sociology, which explores the impact of society on media. He teaches courses at undergraduate and graduate levels on International Communication and Global Health Communication and Social Change.  Widely known for co-authoring papers, articles, chapters and books with students, Pollock’s authored or edited books include Tilted Mirrors: Media Alignment with Political and Social Change – A Community Structure Approach (2007); Media and Social Inequality: Innovations in Community Structure Research (2013); Journalism and Human Rights: How Demographics Drive Media Coverage (2015); and (with Mort Winston) Making Human Rights News: Balancing Participation and Professionalism (2017).  With grants from the Social Science Research Council, National Cancer Institute, United Nations Foundation, and Senior Fulbright Scholar (Argentina, 2010), Pollock co-chaired the task force that created the TCNJ Dept. of Public Health.

Office Hours: View Online
Location: Kendall 210

Headshot of Dr. Sylvia Twersky.

Sylvia Twersky PhD, MPH

Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director

Dr. Twersky holds a PhD from Rutgers School of Public Health in Health Systems and Policy and an MPH in International Health and Development from Tulane. She has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in public health for over 14 years using a skills and application based approach in the classroom, so that students can have immediate opportunities to apply what they learn.
Dr. Twersky’s research focuses on immigrant and refugee families with an emphasis on healthcare access and outcomes using both qualitative and econometric methods. Most recently, she examined the effects of state policies on access to social safety net services including Medicaid, CHIP, and SNAP benefits for these vulnerable groups. She also researches the interaction of functional needs groups, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and emergency preparedness. For a current publication list please visit her Google Scholar page:

Office hours: view online
Location: Trenton Hall 112



Master of Public Health
Trenton Hall, Room 206
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628

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