In 1994 Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis came to CSULB seeking a fertile environment to synthesize health education, social justice, and community-based participatory research (CBPR) while growing a vision of health and educational equity for Latinos and other underrepresented populations.
Almost 20 years later, Dr. Rios-Ellis has significantly influenced Latino health research and education. She is a nationally recognized leader in the field of Latino health, serving as a member of the CDC/Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention and Treatment; the National Multicultural AIDS Education and Training Center at Howard University; the UCI Medical School Prime-LC Advisory Board; and the Hispanic Advisory Group to the NIH Office of AIDS Research (OAR), and is Co-Director of the Research Training and Education component of the BRITE Center at UCLA, among other affiliations. She has also created alliances with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) - the largest Latino U.S. civil rights and advocacy organization, the NIH OAR, HRSA, and others.
She is recognized as an extraordinary teacher, scholar and mentor and has delivered exemplary service to the university and nation. She has taught courses in five departments, developed transdisciplinary programs, served on theses committees, and as a McNair and Partner for Success mentor. Dr. Rios-Ellis has secured over $20 million in research funding for programs emphasizing Latino health research and education and guided CSULB's efforts in becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution. In this effort she has highlighted Latino cultural assets and resilience and developed the Latino Cultural Capital Model and Promotores programs. She has numerous peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and white papers regarding her work in Latino health and education and is the recipient of two Mujer del Año awards as well as the Sol Award.
Through a Congressional Earmark spearheaded by Hilda Solis, Dr. Rios-Ellis founded and directs one of the most successful research centers on campus, the NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training. The Center not only improves, promotes and advocates for the health and well-being of diverse Latino/Hispanic communities through the implementation of multi-year grant funded research projects, it is currently engaging more than 50 students in CBPR through scholarships, internships and assistantships. Further, the Center provides technical assistance and evaluation to NCLR's Institute for Hispanic Health, AltaMed, Latino community-based organizations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Farmworker Justice, and YMCA REACH. To improve its CBPR capacity the Center is expanding to a downtown location.
Dr. Rios-Ellis earned her doctorate in community health, her master's in health and fitness management and a dual bachelor's in political science and Spanish from the University of Oregon. She and her husband, Enrique, have three children, Xóchitl, Enrique and Itzél.