Oregon State University names new dean of College of Public Health and Human Sciences


Solomon Myers, Photographer

The Women’s Building on the Oregon State University Corvallis, Ore. campus, which is home to the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, can be seen on Jan. 20. Many administrative offices, including the Dean’s office, are housed in the Women’s building.

Riley LeCocq, News Reporter

Oregon State University concludes its search for a new dean for the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, appointing Dr. Brian Primack to succeed the current dean, Javier Nieto.

Primack will enter the role beginning June 30, after concluding his time as dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. 

CPHHS Professor and Associate Dean Dr. Vicki Ebbeck currently serves as acting dean of the college until Nieto retires at the end of January, at which time Ebbeck will serve as the interim dean. Ebbeck will end her term on June 29, leading to Primack’s tenure as dean the next day. 

“I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by outstanding students, staff and faculty, and collectively we will look to advance the college in preparation for Dr. Primack’s arrival,” Ebbeck said. 

According to Roy Haggerty, the OSU College of Science dean and search advisory committee chair in the CPHHS dean search, Primack was chosen for the position because of his enthusiasm and collaboration skills that the committee saw in his interview, as well as for an impressive academic history. 

Primack has received degrees in mathematics, English, human development, psychology, education, public health and a doctorate in medicine from Emory University. He has also had a long career, including director of research and media health, assistant vice-chancellor of the School of Health Sciences and dean of the Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh before beginning his current position at the University of Arkansas. 

“I think the college and university will find Dr. Primack to be very energetic, approachable, friendly,” Haggerty said. “I think the university will find him to be an excellent collaborator and a good listener.“

Primack said he believes CPHHS’s central mission is a practical one that aims to make people’s lives better through the lifespan. According to Primack, one thing he finds special about OSU’s program in particular is the required hands-on experience that gives students a practical background, making OSU a “dream destination” for Primack. 

“I would not expect big changes in the short term; I think Dr. Primack will be able to come in and be an effective leader right away,” Haggerty said.

Haggerty also mentioned great appreciation for Nieto, applauding his advocacy work for the college and for public health in the community, wishing him a happy well-deserved retirement.

“He’s a wonderful person and has been a great partner, and that has been a pleasure as well,” Haggerty said. 

According to Primack, he wants to increase scholarships and fellowships for students to better ensure that they are not limited by their finances, and he wants to hear more about student needs directly from them.

“I’d love to make international experiences more available to students, whether it’s actually going abroad or just interacting with people from around the world to learn more about them,” Primack said. 

Outside of his academic work, Primack said he enjoys playing various instruments and may look to join or form a band once in Corvallis, Ore. 

“Dr. Primack brings a diverse background and many relevant experiences to the college and OSU,” Ebbeck said. “We eagerly anticipate continued progress and a positive future for the college under Dr. Primack’s leadership.”

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