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Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD  

Dean of the College of Education and Health at the University of Arkansas

Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD is Dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. In this role, he serves 4000 undergraduate students, 1300 graduate students, 180 faculty members, and 300 staff members focused on the many helping professions, including public health, teaching, nursing, counseling, occupational therapy, exercise science, and educational leadership. He is also a full professor of public health and medicine with tenure and the Henry G. Hotz Endowed Chair in Educational Innovations.

Before this, he was Dean of Honors College, holder of the Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Endowed Chair, Director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health, and Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Primack graduated Yale University magna cum laude in 1991 with degrees in English and Mathematics. After teaching in West Africa for a year, he returned to the U.S. and received his master’s degree from Harvard University, where he focused on adolescent development, psychology, and education. During this time, he also served as Dean of Students at a large summer program for teens. At that program, he also taught courses in cryptography, African art and culture, mathematical art, and comedy writing. He subsequently accepted a full scholarship to Emory Medical School, from which he graduated first in his class in 1999.

After completing his residency training in family medicine and his PhD in multidisciplinary social sciences, Dr. Primack developed a research program centered around the interface of media communications, technology, and health outcomes. Within 15 years, he amassed over 200 scholarly publications that have been cited in leading news sources such as the New York Times, National Public Radio, U.S. News and World Report, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Cosmopolitan magazine, the Today Show, Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley, the International Herald Tribune, and many more. He has been principal investigator for over $10 million in federal research funding related to education and wellness.

He is the recent recipient of multiple awards for research, teaching, and overall achievement, including the highest awards for emerging researchers offered by each of two different international societies: The Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. He was also recently featured as a mainstage speaker at the annual TEDMED conference in San Francisco. He is one of only 5 living persons inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation -- the leading US organization for medical researchers -- from the state of Arkansas.

Based on all of this experience, and buoyed by his background in theater and public speaking, Dr. Primack can passionately engage and entertain audiences about multiple areas related to education, wellness, and health, including the influence of social media on health, new tobacco and nicotine products such as e-cigarettes and vaping, how to maximize student success on the secondary and collegiate levels, video games and youth, and the future of health and medicine.

Speech Topics


The influence of media and technology on health and wellness; social media and wellness; e-cigarettes and vaping; alcohol, tobacco, and drug use in the 21st century; media literacy to improve health; the future of health and medicine

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