New director named at URI’s Institute for Integrated Health and Innovation

Bryan Blissmer had served as interim director

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Bryan Blissmer. Photo by Michael Salerno Photography

KINGSTON, R.I. – Sept. 8, 2017 — The University of Rhode Island recently announced the appointment of Bryan Blissmer as director of the Institute for Integrated Health and Innovation, part of URI’s Academic Health Collaborative, which includes the Colleges of Health Sciences, Nursing and Pharmacy.

Blissmer, a Chicago native, has served as interim director of the Institute since its inception in spring 2016. He began at the University as an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. He has also served as a faculty member in the Cancer Prevention Research Center and as interim chair of kinesiology.

In his time heading up the Institute, Blissmer has worked to create a platform for health professionals to work more closely together and combine their expertise to promote better public health and improve services, research and education across health-related disciplines and health care.

“The goal is to facilitate a professional collaboration among the three colleges, to build upon each other’s strengths,” Blissmer said, noting the mission goes beyond the three colleges in the Collaborative. “There are different pockets of health-related interests. We wanted to make sure they’re welcome in this effort at the University. The institute became a place where they can be connected with what’s going on with health at URI.”

The Institute, which brings together the expertise of more than 75 faculty members from across the University, combines an educational component with research and outreach to professionals in the field. It aims to train the next generation of health experts, while offering a system for researchers in various health fields to coordinate their work with the goal of improving overall health care and delivery.

“The goal is to integrate faculty, teaching and research around health across the campus,” said Blissmer, who has led efforts that have secured more than $2 million in grant funding with external partners over the past year, and has fostered the submission of 30 new grant proposals. “Expertise from within the Collaborative and across campus will create, support and promote cross-disciplinary opportunities in education, research, entrepreneurship and service provision for health.”

Blissmer received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996, a master’s degree in health appraisal and enhancement from Miami (of Ohio) University in 1997, and a doctorate in exercise and health psychology in 2000. He came to URI in 2000 as a faculty member in kinesiology and a research faculty member in the Cancer Prevention Research Center.