Eric Barker, a brunette man in a black suit, smiles for the camera.
Tuesday, May 7, 2024

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue Provost Patrick Wolfe announced Monday (May 6) that Eric Barker is promoted to vice president for health affairs, effective July 1. Reporting to the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, Barker will lead Purdue’s academic health efforts.

Currently the Jeannie and Jim Chaney Dean of Pharmacy, Barker will retain his deanship at this time, but will step down from his role as acting associate provost for graduate programs and will be succeeded by Haley Oliver, who will become interim vice provost for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

“This vital appointment will accelerate, amplify and elevate the academic life and health sciences at Purdue, positioning this great university for excellence at scale in these consequential areas,” Wolfe said. “There are few more profound pursuits than those that impact the prosperity of the lives around us. We are proud of Purdue’s history, and this focus for Eric will only strengthen the impact of our research, teaching and engagement missions.”

As part of his charge, Barker will review and consider the findings of the College of Health and Human Sciences’ Leadership Advisory Committee, led by Jerome Adams, Purdue distinguished professor of practice and former U.S. surgeon general. Adams held listening sessions through the spring tasked with developing a blueprint for the future of Purdue’s health and life sciences academic programs and research thrusts.

Recent facility investment by the university includes the teaching building shared by pharmacy and nursing. Through Barker’s leadership and with participation across campus, two additional study committees will begin exploring facility support to faculty and students, one for the broad health and life sciences research facility and another for a chemistry-related research facility.

“Leading Purdue health affairs is both a privilege and a responsibility,” Barker said. “It's an honor to spearhead transformative research and education that advances human health, enriches lives, and leaves a lasting impact on our global community.”

Ultimately, Barker’s charge will include the following:

  • Align health and life science undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in a way to find synergies, including strategic program growth at West Lafayette and Indianapolis.
  • Help catalyze health research to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and greater federal funding.
  • Help assess the future needs of veterinary medicine at Purdue, including the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, as an essential resource to the state of Indiana.
  • Strengthen connections between health and life science programs with both industry and clinical partners, locally and in the Indianapolis area. This could include robust partnerships with health science businesses, health care clinics and hospitals, and involve research collaborations as well as student training opportunities (e.g., internships, co-ops and experiential rotations).
  • Take advantage of Purdue for Life Foundation’s alignment of health programs, which over the past five years has exceeded $350 million.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at

Media contact: Tim Doty,

Source: Purdue Today