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Ellen Barnidge Tapped as Interim Vice President for Research


Ellen Barnidge, Ph.D., professor of behavioral science and health equity in the College for Public Health and Social Justice (CPHSJ), will serve as Saint Louis University's interim vice president for research effective June 17, 2024.

Headshot of Ellen Barnidge

Ellen K. Barnidge, Ph.D., will serve as interim vice president for research. Photo by Benjamen Loewnau.

Barnidge’s SLU roots run deep. She earned both her master’s degree and Ph.D. in Public Health at SLU and has been a CPHSJ faculty member since 2010; she earned the rank of full professor in 2023. Most important for this appointment, Barnidge has complementary, stellar histories as a funded research scholar, and as an interim dean working with the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) in support of the scholarship of her colleagues, and as a leader of multiple college-based and University-wide committees and special initiatives (including service as the president of the CPHSJ Faculty Assembly and co-chair of the Student Well-Being Task Force).

In addition to her authorship of more than 40 publications, Barnidge has been a principal investigator or co-investigator on grants funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and Missouri Foundation for Health. In this work, Barnidge has drawn heavily on OVPR resources to support her widely recognized scholarship addressing health equity, social determinants of health, and related issues. She values the collaboration demonstrated by her research partners in social work, medicine, economics, health outcomes, and law. As interim dean of the CPHSJ, she represented her faculty colleagues as a leading advocate for OVPR support, and knows well both the significant strides the unit has made under Kenneth Olliff’s leadership and the challenges that remain ahead.

In her new role, Barnidge will focus primarily on the internal operations of the OVPR, working closely with the senior leadership of that organization, as well as with academic deans and chairs, to strengthen accountability and service (pre-and post-award) to all faculty. She will also work closely with the provost's office, and the Office of Business and Finance, on the President’s Research Council to address past compliance audit findings. Her charge is to ensure SLU continues to excel as we anticipate being designated a Carnegie “Research I” university in January 2025.

Barnidge will also be involved in the community-facing aspects of the role, although to a different degree than Olliff was. A small advisory team of key leaders and faculty researchers will form in late summer to advance and expand the strong community partnerships that OVPR has formed over the past several years. Barnidge will regularly work with this team and key external stakeholders. SLU's success in research would not have been possible without the support of our external partners, and the University will seek even more community-based engagement through the work of a full team of institutional representatives going forward.