Provost names new Decker Chair in Community Health Nursing
Decker College Dean Mario Ortiz has a record of success in community-based healthcare
Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences Dean Mario R. Ortiz has been appointed as the Decker Chair in Community Health Nursing, Binghamton University Provost Donald E. Hall announced.
Ortiz is the fourth person to hold the chair position since it began in 1994. Endowed by the Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker Foundation, the position focuses on nursing programs, curricula and clinical practice throughout the college and community, with an eye on creating new and emerging systems of delivering nursing care, and measuring the effectiveness of the care delivered to communities.
“Dean Ortiz has a record of success when it comes to developing community-based healthcare programs, from establishing critical community partnerships to fostering the development of faculty, staff and clinicians,” Hall said. “He’s also garnered millions of dollars in endowments and grants to support education and community care. With such a wide-ranging and impactful background, he is a natural fit for our Community Health Nursing chairship.”
Ortiz is also the executive director of the Kresge Center for Nursing Research and the Community Health Centers of Practice, and has been at the forefront of establishing nurse-led, patient-centered medical homes as primary care clinics.
“Before I retired, I told [former provost] Donald Nieman I thought Mario would be a wonderful representative to the community as the Decker Chair in Community Health Nursing,” said Gale Spencer, who held the chairship from 2006 until her retirement from the Decker School of nursing in 2022 after 46 years. “He has a degree and background in community health nursing, he has a good reputation in the community and is involved in a lot of local activities and he works well with the Decker Foundation.”
A board-certified community and public health nurse specialist and family nurse practitioner, Ortiz earned a BA in art history and the humanities, a BS in nursing and MS in community nursing at Valparaiso University in Indiana, followed by a PhD in nursing at Loyola University in Chicago.
He continues to work in the field as an advanced practice nurse at REACH Medical, with offices in Ithaca and Johnson City, focusing on primary care, the treatment of opioid use disorder, the prevention and treatment of HIV, and Hepatitis C testing and treatment. He is also the only nurse serving on the New York State Department of Health’s Public Health and Planning Council.
At Decker, he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in community health nursing, family nursing, research and theory, and nursing leadership and management. He is also a respected national and international scholar, a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, and a Fellow in the Nursing Academy of the National Academies of Practice, the American Academy of Nursing and the Royal Society for Public Health. In addition, Ortiz has been a contributing editor to Nursing Science Quarterly for more than 15 years.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be named the Decker Chair in Community Health Nursing,” Ortiz said. “Binghamton University has a long legacy of working to improve the health and well-being of rural and underserved populations, and I’m committed to continuing that work with stakeholders across the community.”