The University of Colorado Board of Regents approved the Sept. 1 appointment of Elias Provencio-Vasquez, RN, PhD, as the new dean of the CU College of Nursing at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

Elias Provencio-Vasquez, RN, PhD, new dean of the CU College of Nursing.
Elias Provencio-Vasquez, RN, PhD, new dean of the CU College of Nursing.

Provencio-Vasquez becomes the 10th dean and the second male dean in the history of the College, which is celebrating 120 years of educating nurses throughout Colorado. He is also the first Latino male to earn a doctorate in nursing and to head a nursing school in the U.S.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Provencio-Vasquez will be leading the College of Nursing,” said CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman. “Not only is he a highly experienced nurse educator, eminent researcher and proven administrator, he’s the son of immigrants who was the first in his family to attend college. He is uniquely qualified to lead the College into the next phase of its history.”

Provencio-Vasquez got his start in the healthcare industry more than 40 years ago as a teenager organizing food trays in a Phoenix hospital. That experience helped inspire him to pursue a career in nursing. After receiving his associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, he went on to earn a doctorate.

“I know personally the power of education and appreciate the University of Colorado’s commitment to student access and diversity,” he said. “I never thought that having faculty or people that look like you would make a difference, but it does. If you see faculty whom you can identify with, that does make a difference.”

During his career, he has served as a clinical nurse, a nurse researcher, a nurse educator, school administrator, and a pediatric and neonatal nurse practitioner. He is internationally renowned for his pioneering work in neonatal and pediatric care and in women’s health. Provencio-Vasquez is also a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow alumnus, a Robert H. Hoy III Distinguished Professor in Health Sciences and serves on several community and editorial boards.

Prior to his current position, Provencio-Vasquez served as dean of the nursing school at the University of Texas El Paso, associate dean at the University of Miami and director of the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Texas at Houston and the University of Maryland.

Contributing author: Submitted by Dana Brandorff, director of marketing & communications, College of Nursing.