Kenneth Tercyak


Associate Professor
Director of Behavioral Prevention Research


Population Sciences
General profile


+1 202-687-9484




Dr. Tercyak is a tenured Associate Professor in the Departments of Oncology (Division of Health Outcomes & Health Behaviors) and Pediatrics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. At the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Tercyak serves as Director of Behavioral Prevention Research. He is a member of the Cancer Prevention & Control research program in Georgetown Lombardi's division of Population Sciences, and of the Fisher Center for Hereditary Cancer & Clinical Genomics Research. A clinical health psychologist by training, Dr. Tercyak is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 38, 54) and the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and holds a clinical appointment in pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital for assessment and intervention of children with special health care, psychological, and educational needs.

Dr. Tercyak's research focuses on biobehavioral aspects of cancer risk, prevention, and intervention including public health genomics, tobacco prevention and control, and survivorship. His work in familial cancer examines health communication, decision making and decision support, and outcomes of genetic counseling and testing. Dr. Tercyak's work in tobacco control focuses on primary prevention, behavior change, high-risk special populations, and cessation. His work in survivorship addresses health behaviors and outcomes among children treated for cancer.

Dr. Tercyak has been supported by the NIH throughout his career, and is currently the Principal Investigator of a randomized trial to promote informed decision making/decision support for mothers undergoing hereditary cancer risk testing, an observational study of adolescents' long-term adaptation to familial cancer, an mHealth intervention for pediatric cancer survivors, and an evaluation of psychosocial and support resources for women at risk for or surviving with breast cancer. Dr. Tercyak completed a mid-career award focused on basic behavioral research in cancer control, and is a recipient of support from the Hyundai Hope on Wheels research program for improving the lives of children surviving with cancer. He is also co-leading a study of health information technology support for tobacco control in primary care using brief intervention. Dr. Tercyak is involved with a research and education partnership with the University of the District of Columbia for cancer control and health disparities training among minority scientists, a DC-wide collaborative for tobacco prevention-control research and education, and a cross-campus initiative to integrate knowledge in child health and human development.

Dr. Tercyak has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and is the editor of a handbook (Springer) on public health genomics and family medicine. He served as Associate Editor for Prevention Science at the Journal of Pediatric Psychology (Oxford), is currently an Associate Editor at Health Psychology (American Psychological Association), and is a member of several editorial boards. Dr. Tercyak has served on study sections of the Risk, Prevention, and Health Behavior Integrated Review Group at the NIH and was a standing member of its Behavioral Medicine committee. He is a former member of the psychosocial review groups for the American Cancer Society, the Komen Foundation, and several international grant agencies. Dr. Tercyak is currently serving a term as Chair of the NIH health behavior fellowship study section, and is a faculty mentor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

At Georgetown University, Dr. Tercyak has taught in the areas of child health and human development, public health, social/behavioral science, and cancer prevention-control and health communication. He is past co-chair of the medical center's Research Committee, a former member and chair of several Strategic Planning Initiative committees, and was an elected member of the Medical Center Caucus of the Faculty Senate (Basic Science).


  • Fellowship (2000) Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Prevention & Control
  • PhD (1998) University of Florida, Clinical & Health Psychology
  • Internship (1998) University of Miami School of Medicine, Mailman Center for Child Development
  • BA (1992) University of Pennsylvania, Psychology