MPA Faculty

Helisse Levine, PhD
Professor and MPA Director

Dr. Levine earned her Ph.D. in public administration from Rutgers University, School of Public Administration and Affairs, Newark, N.J. in 2005 and holds a M.A. degree in financial economics from Fairleigh Dickinson University, College at Florham. Prior to joining LIU Brooklyn, Dr. Levine completed her post-doctoral, clinical work for Nassau County’s Legislative Budget Review Office as a budget analyst, where she focused on best practices in local government budgeting, public economics, debt service, and capital financing. Her research and teaching interests include social inequities, social determinant of health in underserved communities, and challenges to inclusion in public organizations. Since entering academe in 2008, she has contributed to numerous peer reviewed journals and book chapters and convened and presented at over 50 national conferences. Her most recent (2022) work can be found in American Review of Public Administration addressing Organizational Practices and Second-Generation Gender Bias: A Qualitative Inquiry into the Career Progression of U.S. State Level Managers.

Dr. Levine is co-editor of three public administration books including Women in Public Administration: Theory and Practice, The Handbook of Local Government Fiscal Health, and Positioning Markets and Governments in Public Management. She received the 2019 American Society of Public Administration LGBT Advocacy Action Section Award for her co-authored publication, Inclusive Work Practices: Turnover Intensions Among LGBT Employees of the U.S Federal Government. She is also the recipient of the Section for Women in Public Administration’s (SWPA) Rita Mae Kelly Distinguished Research Award, Marcia P. "Marcy" Crowley Service to SWPA Award, and LIU’s prestigious David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is the current Chairperson of SWPA, Council member to the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) Council member, Board member to ASPA’s Section for Public Administration Education, and President of LIU Brooklyn’s Faculty Senate.

Bakry Elmedni, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Elmedni joined LIU Brooklyn in 2014. Dr. Elmedni holds a M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from the American University in Cairo and a Ph.D. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware. He brings to the program a diversified and multidisciplinary background involving program design and evaluation, policy and planning, non-profit budgeting, and community development. He worked in international development in the Middle East and East Africa.

Working with international and local NGOs, Dr. Elmedni gained first-hand experiences in areas pertaining to economic development, public management, and public policies. These experiences equipped Dr. Elmedni with a sophisticated understanding of the government role in modern society in times of economic downturn and fiscal difficulties. His research interests include the role of civil society in governance, mainly the role of social networks in changing public decision-making modes, nonprofits’ strategies to cope with financial austerity, and social justice in an increasingly globalized society. Dr. Elmedni aspires to equip M.P.A. students with the sophisticated knowledge about the changing role of government in society in response to technological advances and economic hardships, particularly how these changes affect and influence the institutional behavior of public sector organizations and employees. He teaches courses in organizational theory and behavior, management of human behavior in public and non- profit organizations and managerial communications.

Selected publications of Dr. Elmedni include “Civil Society and Democratic Transformation in Contemporary Egypt: Premises and Promises” in the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science (IJHSS) and the book Development NGO’s and Social Development in Contemporary Egypt: Neoliberal State, Non-State Actors and the Question of Community Empowerment. He is the editor of the American Institute for Policy Development and a member of the Sudanese Studies Association and the American Society of Public Administration.

Simone Martin-Howard, PhD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Martin received her Ph.D. in Global Affairs from Rutgers University-Newark where she completed her dissertation entitled “Evaluating Income Generation, Nutrition, and Parenting Programs on Maternal and Child Health Outcomes: A Multi-Program Case Study of a Community-Based Organization in the Western Cape, South Africa.” She holds an MA in International Relations and an MPA from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Dr. Martin also received three Advanced Certificates of Study in Health Services Management and Policy, Conflict Resolution, and Security Studies from the Maxwell School. She received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Spanish from St. John’s University.

Dr. Martin received her practitioner experience working as the Business Development and Community Relations Specialist at the Syracuse VA Medical Center, as an Administrative Analyst for the Onondaga County Health Department in Syracuse, as the Community Relations Specialist at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Bureau of Intergovernmental Affairs, and as a Consultant for the Vera Institute of Justice.

Dr. Martin’s multidisciplinary background has formed her research interests which include healthcare administration and policy, global health, maternal and child health, transnational crime, prisoner re-entry, and addressing violence as a public health issue. She teaches courses in Organizational Theory and Behavior; Health, Disease, and Medical Care; Managed Health Care Systems; Public Health and Regulation; Aging Policy and the Community; and Healthcare Responsibility and Accountability for Administrators. She has taught Criminology, Juvenile Delinquency, Introduction to Sociology, and International Criminology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Introduction to Criminal Justice at Rutgers University-Newark.

Sarah Rush Griffin, PhD, CHES
Assistant Professor

Nelson Mandela said, “If you want to change the world, help the women,” and this is my purpose in the work that I do. Believing that resilient communities are founded on the backs of women who have fought for education, health, and earning power, my research focuses on developing resilient communities by addressing issues of social justice and health equity among women and children, including mental health, maternal mortality, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Utilizing a community-based participatory approach to address social determinants of health, I have collaborated with multidisciplinary teams of researchers and local organizations to address maternal mortality in Brooklyn, to inform the development of bystander intervention programs on college campuses in the US, and to examine mental health among women in underserved townships in South Africa where determinants of health are complex and extensive.

Colette Knuth, PhD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Knuth holds a MA from the University of Chicago and a PhD from the University of Illinois Chicago. Her area of specialty is public policy with a concentration in health policy and administration. Dr. Knuth’s education and career experiences have made her keenly aware of the needs of students. She encourages students to be active learners by providing opportunities for them to master the critical thinking skills that are required to solve the problems they will encounter during their careers. Dr. Knuth is also very active with the MPA Program’s Initiative for Policy, Resiliency and Engagement (IPRE). Prior to joining LIU Brooklyn, Dr. Knuth was an advisor to member associations and research organizations dedicated to providing high quality health services. Prior to joining LIU, she was an advisor to organizations such as the Office of the Inspector General for the US Department of Health and Human Services, American Society for Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Clinical Pathology, New York Family Courts, New York City Housing Authority, Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, and the University of Chicago Hospitals. Earlier in her career Dr. Knuth was a member of the staff at a number of research and educational organizations. She was a survey operations and financial manager at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at The University of Chicago, collaborated on health services research studies at the Veterans Health Administration, conducted institutional research and software applications development business analysis at DePaul University, directed research and collaborated on public affairs programming at the Clinical Laboratory Management Association, and led the continuing medical education staff at the College of American Pathologists.

Dr. Knuth’s has conducted research in patient satisfaction and decision-making, health care policy design, and health services utilization. Through her research she has informed programmatic and budgetary planning for organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and the US Public Health Service, as well as a number of major medical device and drug manufacturers. She has designed and managed medical workforce studies, developed measures of health care services quality, addressed models of public and private health care physician compensation, conducted non-profit management strategic planning, assisted educational institutions in acquiring accreditation, and managed grants programs.