Announcing the new College of Applied Health Sciences dean

Dear faculty, staff and students,

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Carlos J. Crespo, DrPH, FACSM, as the next dean of the University of Illinois Chicago College of Applied Health Sciences, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, effective Aug. 15. Crespo’s national reputation; extensive research portfolio; experience in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs; and commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts across biomedical disciplines make him well-positioned to take on this leadership role.

Crespo currently serves as a tenured professor at the Oregon Health and Science University-Portland State University, School of Public Health and vice provost for undergraduate training in biomedical research as well as acting director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, Portland State University. Prior to these roles, he has served as the director of the School of Community Health; interim dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs; and director, WHO, Collaborating Center in Urban Health and Sustainability at Portland State. Before joining PSU, Crespo was a tenured faculty member at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, and was on the faculty at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Additionally, he has worked for the CDC at the National Center for Health Statistics, and as a public health analyst for the National Institutes of Health.

Crespo received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Inter American University in San German, Puerto Rico. He would go on to receive his Master of Science in sports health from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and his Doctorate of Public Health from Loma Linda University in California. His main area of research involves the epidemiology of physical activity in the prevention of chronic diseases and research on minority health issues.  Crespo was among the top-ranked principal investigators funded by NIH in 2021. He lists more than 100 publications and has been a contributing author to five textbooks on minority health and sports medicine, has served on several editorial boards, and has authored more than 20 government reports, including the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health.

Additionally, Crespo received the 1997 U.S. Secretary of Health Award for Distinguished Service, and in 2003 became a Minority Health and Health Disparities Scholar from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities at the NIH. Further highlights of his career include having served on the board of directors for American Council on Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine, the Oregon Health Policy Board and Oregon Public Health Institute. From 2008-2013, he also served as director of a World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Urban and Health Sustainability.

Crespo currently serves on a CDC Advisory Committee for the Community Guide for Physical Activity and the Built Environment; the Physical Activity Alliance Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee; the Executive Steering Committee of the Diversity Program Consortium of NIH; and the Oregon Latino Health Coalition. He is also a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

As the College of Applied Health Sciences is recognized for its commitment to education, research and practice, it continues to be highly recognized for such academic programs as the No. 2 online BS in health information management; No. 3 online MS in health informatics; and the No. 1 MS in occupational therapy program among public universities (U.S. News & World Report). I am confident that Crespo has the experience and knowledge to lead the college across all domains — education, research, care delivery and community engagement. He will be a great addition to the group of deans on this campus, and he will be an outstanding leader at UI Health.

Please join me in congratulating Crespo on his appointment. We look forward to continued achievement and success for the college through his leadership in this new role as dean.

I would like to thank the search committee, co-chaired by Michele Mariscalco, MD, MHA, and College of Pharmacy Dean Glen Schumock, PharmD, PhD, MBA, for their outstanding work during the extensive vetting and interview process. Further, I thank all members of the campus and College of Applied Health Sciences community for their participation in the interview process and for providing feedback on the finalists for this position.

Finally, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Dean Bo Fernhall. As he moves into the next chapter of his career, the university will forever be grateful for his tenure and contributions as dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences.


Robert A. Barish, MD, MBA
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

For more information, please contact:
Margaret Moser
[email protected]

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