Dean Selected for University Honors College

Brian A. Primack, a scholarly researcher currently serving within the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will assume the deanship and the Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Chair of Pitt’s University Honors College.

“As dean, Brian’s multidisciplinary dexterity — coupled with his commitment to collaborating and leading — will ensure that our Honors College continues to serve as a defining force in our University’s mission to leverage new knowledge for society’s gain,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher.

The University Honors College seeks to meet the academic and cocurricular needs of Pitt’s highest achieving undergraduates. Through honors courses, specialized advising and multidisciplinary research opportunities, the college strives to fuse the scholarly aspirations of a major research institution with the individualized attention of a small college. Located on the upper floors of the Cathedral of Learning, Pitt’s Honors College was established in 1986.

There are approximately 2,000 Pitt undergraduates engaged in the University Honors College’s activities and programs, including more than 700 students who live in dedicated honors housing facilities. It has awarded more than 450 Bachelor of Philosophy degrees, signifying the highest level of scholarship attainable by an undergraduate Pitt student. Additionally, through the University Honors College, Pitt alumni and students have been extraordinarily successful in winning prestigious awards, including such internationally recognized honors as the Rhodes, Truman, Udall and Churchill scholarships. 

Succeeding Edward M. Stricker, Primack will be the third dean of the University Honors College. Founding dean G. Alec Stewart held the position from the college’s inception until his death in 2010.

Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson said, “Under Dr. Primack’s leadership, I am confident that the University Honors College will continue to serve as the center of gravity for our most academically engaged and curious undergraduate students and as a hub of intellectual activity for our entire University community. His broad and inclusive vision is well-matched to our aspirations for the UHC and the University.”

A Pitt faculty member since 2002, Primack currently holds the Leo H. Criep Endowed Chair in Patient Care within the School of Medicine. Within Pitt’s medical school, he is a professor of medicine, pediatrics, and clinical and translational science, and he is an assistant vice chancellor for research on health and society in the University’s schools of the health sciences.

As dean, Brian’s multidisciplinary dexterity — coupled with his commitment to collaborating and leading — will ensure that our Honors College continues to serve as a defining force in our University’s mission to leverage new knowledge for society’s gain.

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher

Prior to arriving at Pitt, Primack attained a wealth of professional experiences that have informed his teaching and mentoring career. Among other pursuits, he has previously served as the dean of students for a residential summer program for highly talented secondary school students at Wellesley College and an instructor at the American International School of Niamey in Niger. An experienced patient care provider, he has practiced medicine at various UPMC hospitals, the Matilda H. Theiss Health Center and the student health services centers at both Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University.

Primack’s academic interests range a broad spectrum of areas, from media messaging and community engagement to clinical medicine and public health. His most recent work has investigated complex relationships between media exposures and health outcomes. To further explore concepts in this area, Primack founded Pitt’s Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health in 2012.

Primack’s work and expertise have been cited in such international news outlets as The New York Times, BBC News, National Public Radio, Reuters, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. He has authored or coauthored more than 90 peer-reviewed research articles in a diverse range of academic publications.

Throughout his career, Primack has been recognized for research, teaching and overall achievement. These honors have included the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Physician Faculty Scholar award, the Early Career Investigator Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine and the New Investigator Award from the Society for Adolescent Medicine. At Pitt, Primack was awarded the Institute for Clinical Research Education’s 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award in Clinical Research and designated a University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Junior Research Scholar. He also is a two-time winner of Pitt’s Outstanding Medical Student Research Award.

A Pitt alumnus, Primack earned a Master of Science and a PhD degree in clinical and translational science in 2008 and 2011, respectively. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and mathematics at Yale University, where he was selected as a graduation speaker, in 1991. He earned a Master of Education degree in human development, psychology and education at Harvard University in 1993 as well as a Doctor of Medicine degree at Emory University in 1999. Primack completed the Family Medicine Residency Program at UPMC St. Margaret in 2002.