Brian A. Primack is Dean of the College of Health at Oregon State University. In this role, he leads a diverse unit of 3000 students and 300 faculty and staff members in areas including public health, exercise & sport sciences, human development & family sciences, and nutrition. He is also a professor of public health with tenure.
Prior to his appointment at Oregon State, he served as the Dean of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. In this role, he served over 6000 undergraduate and graduate students and 500 faculty and staff members in such diverse areas such as K-12 education, nursing, educational policy, occupational therapy, exercise science, adult and community education, counseling, and human resources and workforce development. At the University of Arkansas, Dr. Primack also served as the Henry G. Hotz Endowed Chair in Educational Innovations and a tenured professor of public health and medicine.
Prior to moving to the University of Arkansas, Dr. Primack was Dean of the Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also served as a tenured professor of medicine, pediatrics, and clinical and translational science. There, he also served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research on Health and Society and the Leo H. Criep Endowed Chair in Patient Care. He was also founding director of the University of Pittsburgh's multidisciplinary Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health. He has had over 300 publications, including over 140 peer-reviewed articles of original research, and over $10 million in federal research funding.
After graduating Yale University magna cum laude in 1991 with degrees in English and Mathematics, Dr. Primack spent 4 years teaching adolescents and studying human development for his master's degree, which he received from Harvard University. During this time, he also volunteered at a Head Start program for homeless children in Washington, DC and served as the dean of students for a large summer program aiming to instill a love of learning in adolescents. He subsequently graduated first in his class and summa cum laude from Emory Medical School and trained in Family Medicine in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Primack combines his expertise in education, technology, human development, and medicine by researching both positive and negative effects of media and technology on health. In 2014, he was a featured speaker at the national TEDMED conference on this topic. His studies on media, technology, and health have been published in a wide variety of leading journals including JAMA Psychiatry, JAMA Pediatrics, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Adolescent Health, Addiction, Tobacco Control, Journal of Emergency Medicine, and Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The University of Pittsburgh media office estimates that press related to his studies have reached over 200,000,000 subscribers via outlets such as the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, TIME Magazine, NPR's "Here and Now,” and NPR's "All Things Considered.” He has also been successful at translating research findings to influence policy. For example, his research on the diversification of tobacco product use has been cited in official policy documents of organizations such as the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization. He is a pioneer on the use of media literacy education in promoting health and preventing disease.
He is the recent recipient of regional, national, and international awards for research, teaching, and overall achievement, including the New Investigator of the Year by the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine (2006), the Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Physician Scholar Award (2009), the Early Career Research Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine (2010), the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Junior Faculty Scholar Award (2010), and the University of Pittsburgh Outstanding Medical Student Mentoring Award two years in a row (2013 and 2014). In 2019, he was only the 7th person in the state of Arkansas to be inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the leading organization globally for physician-scientists. In 2021, his book You Are What You Click, published by Chronicle, was shortlisted for the prestigious Next Big Idea Book Award, which is selected by Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Daniel Pink, and Adam Grant.