Faculty and Staff News

Dean Nieto announces his retirement

Dean Javier Nieto will retire in December 2021, after serving as dean of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences since 2016.

Javier Nieto

By Kathryn Stroppel

Dean Javier Nieto will retire in December 2021, after serving as dean of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences since 2016. 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to be dean,” he says. “I am profoundly grateful for the lifelong friends I have made here at OSU, for the mentorship I have received and for the opportunity to represent the dedicated and inspirational faculty, staff and students of our college. When I look back on the past five years, I am filled with pride and fond memories. 

“I look forward to continuing our important work over the next 10 months, including our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the arrival of vaccinations, we can begin to anticipate a return to campus, and more ‘normal’ operations. As always, even in times of challenge, we will thoughtfully teach and mentor our students, lead our research endeavors, engage collaboratively with our community partners, and continue our service to Oregon and beyond.” 

Under Javier’s leadership, CPHHS deepened its national reputation for excellence; grew its funded research activity, twice breaking records and securing nearly $22 million in support in Fiscal Year 2020; convened interdisciplinary conversations across OSU focusing on health and wellness; expanded its online offerings; and led other colleges nationally in joining the global Planetary Health Alliance. OSU’s Center for Health Innovation, based in the CPHHS, has become a nexus for academic, government, community and corporate health partnerships in Oregon. Javier’s holistic health education mantra — “Everything is related to health and well-being” — informed interconnections among the “Three Healthies” described in the university’s current strategic plan.  

Javier has championed community mental health as a priority focus for Oregon and OSU through engaging legislators in Salem, forging new partnerships with health care and community organizations, and building federally funded partnerships among the college, OSU’s Division of Extension and Engagement, and local community organizations. He developed new initiatives at the intersection of arts and health, bringing a national think tank to OSU for a symposium on arts and healthy communities. And he helped make the college’s role in community outreach a signature strength. Indeed, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health recently honored the college’s accomplishments in Extension and outreach by naming it a finalist for the prestigious Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service

During his tenure as dean, Javier has placed special attention on enhancing the work climate in CPHHS and across the university. He stewarded the creation of a collegiality statement and led by example on issues of diversity, equity and social justice. Students of color pointed to the college’s prompt and direct response to racism and racial injustice during the protests last summer as an example of care and compassion. 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Javier’s expertise as a nationally renowned physician-epidemiologist has been an invaluable asset to the OSU community. A co-investigator on TRACE projects, he has been a key liaison with the Oregon Health Authority and public health directors in numerous Oregon counties. He also serves as co-chair of a joint OSU and University of Oregon task force that will advise both universities on resuming onsite activities. More broadly, Javier has been an invaluable member of the Provost’s Council of Deans and a productive collaborator with OSU’s other colleges and OSU-Cascades. 

A national search to fill the dean position will launch in March 2021. Roy Haggerty, dean of the OSU College of Science, will chair the search committee.