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Kyla M Kurian

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Assistant Professor, Counselor Education Program
(919) 530-6692
(919) 530-7522
2122 H. M. Michaux, Jr. School of Education Building


Dr. Kyla Marie Kurian earned her doctorate in counseling from North Carolina State University where she focused her dissertation research on understanding the effects of oppression on the identity development of Black and Coloured South African women. After completing her doctorate, she spent three years as a National Institute on Drug Abuse post-doctoral fellow where she received advanced training in the research areas of substance abuse and HIV interventions. It was during her post-doctoral experience that she had the opportunity to work with substance abusing African American and South African women who are at risk for contracting HIV. Since this experience, she has had a passion to create interventions and programs that not only teach women how to reduce risk, but also encourage women how to live a victorious life by fulfilling their unique destiny and purpose.

Currently, Dr. Kurian is an assistant professor at North Carolina Central University where she teaches in the Counselor Education
Department. Cultural diversity and ethics in counseling are among her favorite courses to teach. In addition to teaching and mentoring her
students, Dr. Kurian continues to research ways to reduce substance abuse and HIV risk among African American women. Most recently, Dr. Kurian was awarded a Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) grant from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to adapt an evidence-based HIV intervention for African American college women. African American youth in the nation have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and African American women make up a growing proportion of newly reported HIV infections. Dr. Kurian hopes to conduct a pilot study with the adapted intervention (named the Aziza CoOp) to African American women at historically African American colleges and universities.

Dr. Kurian also was a part in a documentary called "The Source of the Secret." "The Source of the Secret" dives deep into the principles and promises of The Secret, taking you beyond the surface truths to more meaningful revelations. http://www.sourceofsecret.com/

Dr. Kurian is also a licensed professional counselor who has worked with a diverse population, in particular college students and veterans. She serves on the Southeast Region's Board of Directors for the Christian Association for Psychological Studies and the Executive Board of North Carolina Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development. When Dr. Kurian is not working, she spends her time with her best friend and loving husband Shaun ministering on the college campus, creating and producing film projects and spending time with family and friends.


PhD North Carolina State University 2004
MED Ohio University 1996
BA Rhodes College 1994


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Selected Publications

1. Sawyer-Kurian, K. M., & Wechsberg, W. M. (2012). Adapting an evidence-based HIV intervention for at- risk African American college women at Historically Black Colleges and Universities who use alcohol and drugs. Sage Open, 2.
2. Sawyer-Kurian, K. M., & Brown, F. A., & Carney, T. , & Peterson, P. (2011). Exploring the Intersecting Health Risks of Substance Abuse, Sexual Risk, and Violence for Female South African Teen Dropouts. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 21, 15-25.
3. Sawyer-Kurian, K. M., & Wechsberg, W. M., & Luseno, W. K. (2009). Substance Abuse, Violence against Women, and HIV Risks: Men’s Voices from Cape Town, South Africa.. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 10, 13-29.
4. Royal, C. , & Sawyer-Kurian, K. M., & Moody, Jr., E. , & Newsome, G. K. (2009). Digital Audio Technology in Counselor Education: A Qualitative Evaluation of Podcasting Use. NC Perspectives, 2, 42-52.
5. Sawyer-Kurian, K. M., & Wechsberg, W. M., & Myers, B. (2006). Cultural Similarities and Differences Between a Sample of Black/African and Coloured Women in South Africa: Convergence of Risk Related to Substance Use, Sexual Behavior, and Violence.. Journal of Woman and Health, 73-92.
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