Kenneth Tercyak, PhD

Kenneth Tercyak, PhD is a tenured Professor in the Departments of Oncology and Pediatrics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. At the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Tercyak serves as Co-Leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program in the Division of Population Science. He is a member of the Fisher Center for Hereditary Cancer and Clinical Genomics Research, a Senior Scholar at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, and an Affiliate Faculty of the Department of Psychology.

A clinical health psychologist by training and specializing in children and families affected by cancer, Dr. Tercyak has been supported by the NIH since 1998, including his postdoctoral, early-stage, and mid-career training awards in basic biobehavioral research in cancer prevention-control. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 38, 54) and the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and holds an appointment in pediatric psychology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (Divisions of Pediatric, Adolescent, & Young Adult Oncology and Psychiatry).

Dr. Tercyak is the recipient of several honors, including a Hyundai “Hope on Wheels” award for improving the lives of children surviving with cancer, and the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine for his commitment to promoting child and family health through behavior change.

His research focuses on developmental and biobehavioral aspects of cancer risk, communication, and intervention, including public health genomics, tobacco control, and skin cancer prevention. His work in hereditary cancer syndromes examines health messaging, decision support, outcomes of genetic education and testing, and the role of peer support in promoting healthy behavior. Dr. Tercyak’s work in tobacco control focuses on primary prevention, adolescents/young adults and other special populations, and mHealth/health information technology tools for cessation. His research in childhood cancer survivorship examines the organization and delivery of follow-up care to promote equitable health outcomes, clinical-behavioral outcomes of pediatric tumor molecular profiling, and lifestyle behaviors affecting long-term health and resilience. Other work focuses on supporting parents with late-stage cancers, and behavioral interventions to promote their quality of life and psychological and family adjustment to cancer.

With over 200 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Tercyak is the editor of a handbook (Springer) on public health genomics and pediatric behavioral medicine. He served as Associate Editor for Prevention Science at the Journal of Pediatric Psychology (Oxford) and an Associate Editor at Health Psychology (American Psychological Association). He is now Senior Associate Editor at Translational Behavioral Medicine (Oxford), and 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 a Chair of the NIH health behavior fellowships study section, a member of the scientific advisory boards for several national cancer organizations, and a senior faculty mentor at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

At Georgetown University, Dr. Tercyak teaches in the areas of child health and human development, public health psychology, social/behavioral epidemiology, and cancer prevention. He participates in several cross-campus initiatives to integrate knowledge in child health and human development to improve individual and community outcomes, is past co-chair of the medical center’s Research Committee, 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). Dr. Tercyak co-chairs the cancer center’s population science steering committee, and serves on a cancer center shared resources oversight committee, the Georgetown-MedStar Scientific Council, and other cancer center steering committees for survivorship research and integrated smoking cessation treatment. He is also a member of the university’s Public Health Working Group, representing behavioral science.


Behavioral Science, Cancer Prevention and Control, Child Health and Human Development, Oncology, Pediatrics, Population Science, Public Health Psychology