Office of the Provost

Wilson Hall, Suite 3000
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-2190


Britt Rios-Ellis, M.S., Ph.D. biography

Britt Rios-Ellis, M.S., Ph.D. serves as Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost at Oakland University. Her focus is student success, equity, and ensuring fertile ground for research and community service. As a bilingual/bicultural educational leader with inclusive excellence as her guide, Dr. Rios-Ellis seeks to collaborate in creating learning spaces and approaches that explore interprofessional, intersectional, and interdisciplinary education.

She holds Bachelors’ degrees in Spanish and Political Science, a Master of Science in Health and Fitness Management, a certificate in Women’s Studies, and a Doctorate in Community Health from the University of Oregon. Britt completed Harvard’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education and the HERS Program for Women’s Leadership in Higher Education at Bryn Mawr.

As founding Dean of California State University Monterey Bay’s (CSUMB) College of Health Sciences and Human Services (2014-2020), she doubled and diversified tenure-track faculty and launched the Diversity Celebration Series. Britt co-founded the first Master of Science Physician Assistant Program within the 23-campus CSU system–raising over $2 million in health partnerships, launched two academic departments, and shepherded the Master of Public Health. Furthermore, she spearheaded the Center for Community Health Engagement, a multipurpose, interprofessional space to optimize wellness for homeless populations, and established COVID-19 protocols for face-to-face learning and street outreach.

From 1994-2014, Britt was professor of health sciences at CSU Long Beach and the founding director of the Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training, and the community-based Centro Salud es Cultura. As Principal Investigator on multiple grants, including CSULB’s first Hispanic Serving Institution awards, she led efforts that honor, integrate, and evaluate the impact of cultural and linguistic capital into a S(H)TE(A)M approach, fusing humanities and the arts into educational programming. In 2013 she received CSULB’s highest honor–Outstanding Professor.

Dr. Rios-Ellis has led over $57 million in student-and community-strengthening health-and education-related efforts funded by the NIH, US Department of Education, Office of Minority Health, USDA, National Institutes of Minority Health and Health Disparities, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), among others. Britt has consulted for Mothers to Mothers (Africa), the Japanese Ministry of Education, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Pan American Health Organization, YMCA, the US Department of State, the NIH, and the CDC.

Britt has authored peer-reviewed manuscripts on Latino and URM-focused education, HIV/AIDS, maternal-child health, nutrition, and obesity. She is the recipient of the Henry Montes Presidential Award from the American Public Health Association’s Latino Caucus, two Woman of the Year accolades, and the Sol Award from L.A. County’s Office of AIDS Policy.

Dr. Rios-Ellis was a commissioned member of the CDC/HRSA’s Advisory Committee on HIV, Hepatitis and STD Prevention/Treatment, SAMHSA’s Advisory Committee for Women’s Services, and the President’s Advisory Commission for HIV/AIDS Disclosure Work Group. She has appeared on Spanish and English-language television for Telemundo, Univision, CNN, and ABC World News.  

Britt is married to music educator Dr. Enrique Rios-Ellis and is the proud mother of Xóchitl, Enrique, and Itzél, three budding artists who inspire her every day.