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High Impact

Dessa Bergen-Cico Named Honors Core Faculty Member from Falk College
Dessa Bergen-Cico presenting at conference

Public Health Professor Dessa Bergen-Cico (left), shown here speaking at the International Drug Policy Academy in Strasbourg, France, in June 2023, is the new Honors Core Faculty member from Falk College.

Dessa Bergen-Cico, professor and graduate director in the Department of Public Health, has been selected as the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics’ Honors Core Faculty member for a three-year term starting this May.

Renée Crown University Honors Program Core Faculty help shape the Honors Program curriculum and policy, and assist with strategic planning. Their academic vision and scholarly rigor guide the Honors Program in matters crucial both to the larger Honors faculty and to Honors students.

At Syracuse University, Bergen-Cico is coordinator of the Addiction Studies Programs, faculty in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, and a research affiliate for the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She was selected as Falk College’s Honors Core Faculty member by a four-person committee in consultation with Falk Dean Jeremy Jordan and Honors Program Director Danielle Taana Smith.

Dessa portrait

“Dessa’s credentials and passion for this opportunity were simply outstanding, and we are fortunate to have her represent us with the Honors program,” says Falk College Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Mary Graham.

“Dessa’s credentials and passion for this opportunity were simply outstanding, and we are fortunate to have her represent us with the Honors program,” says Falk Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Mary Graham, who was joined on the committee by Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Kay Bruening, Associate Dean of Research and Administration Katie McDonald, and Nutrition and Food Studies Associate Teaching Professor Chaya Charles.

“The Honors core faculty are so pleased to welcome Dr. Bergen-Cico to the group,” says Honors Program Director Smith, Professor of African American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse. “The core faculty are high-impact teachers and researchers, at the forefront of their disciplines. They enhance the collegial experiences of students and are integral to the program.

“Dr. Bergen-Cico brings a background of undergraduate education excellence and academic leadership,” Smith adds. “We are excited to work with her to impact students, the campus, and our communities as a whole.”

Bergen-Cico holds a research appointment at the Syracuse Veterans Administration Medical Center and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders. She is a Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS), Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), and Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher.

Bergen-Cico completed her MBSR teacher training through the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She has been selected for two Fulbright Scholarships and was selected as a Rotary Peace Fellow in the International Rotary Peace Program at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

Bergen-Cico is currently leading a research team that’s exploring how to combine an artificial intelligence system with mindfulness-based practices to help people in treatment for opioid use disorder, and she co-developed the International Drug Policy Academy, which is one of several unique opportunities for students to obtain global experience that exposes them to new ways of thinking about substance abuse and addictive behaviors.

“As an Honors Faculty member, I would be able to teach students interdisciplinary and global perspective courses that encompass depth and breadth of content I am otherwise not afforded the opportunity to teach, at the level our top students need and want,” Bergen-Cico said in her letter of interest for the Honors Core position. “For example, it would afford opportunities to engage students in learning and research in applied neuroscience and cross-cultural biomarkers across diverse fields of study integrating sociology, psychology, and neurobiology in the study of addictive behaviors, stress, trauma, and conflict.”

Bergen-Cico is replacing Rick Burton, David B. Falk Endowed Professor of Sport Management, as Falk College’s Honors Core Faculty member.

“I and my colleagues in the Dean’s Office would like to thank Professor Burton for serving so capably for over 10 years as our Falk College designee to the Honors Program,” Graham says.