Tracy Nelson, PhD, MPH, is the director of the Colorado School of Public Health at CSU. She has been involved with the Colorado School of Public Health since early discussions for the school began in 2006. She became the associate director of the ColoradoSPH at CSU in 2011 and served in that role until becoming the director in 2019.
She has training in exercise science, public health (epidemiology), and biobehavioral health. Previously her research focused on genetic and environmental risk factors (e.g. diet, physical activity and inflammatory factors) and chronic disease outcomes including cardiovascular, diabetes and obesity. She used both observational and experimental designs to answer questions related to this focus area. More recently her focus has been on engaged scholarship, working on societal issues in concert with our communities. Over the last decade she has worked on developing and promoting partnerships and collaborations between CSU and external partners including the UCHealth Healthy Hearts program. The Healthy hearts program works to educate and screen young students and families on heart healthy lifestyles to increase early detection, encourage healthy lifestyles and ultimately prevent heart disease. She has also worked with the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) or Green Berets at Fort Carson, CO as well as the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, FL and Cannon Air Force Base, NM on a program called Preservation of the Force and the Family (POTFF). This program focuses on the human, psychological, cognitive, social, family and spiritual domains of performance. She assisted them in evaluating the interventions that enhance these domains. Her interests also include evaluation and interventions to improve community-level chronic disease risk. Specifically, she worked closely with La Clinica Tepeyac, a medical clinic providing health care for medically underserved individuals in the Globeville, Elyra-Swansea (GES) neighborhood of Denver to implement an innovative, community-level approach to reduce chronic disease disparities in this neighborhood. She is continuing to work with the GES communities as the CSU SPUR campus takes shape.
Dr. Nelson has served on the CSU Provost’s Council for Engagement (2016-2020) and was elected to a four-year term on the Board of Directors for the Health District of Northern Larimer County (2014-2018). She received the Outstanding Engagement Award in the College of Health and Human Sciences in 2018 and Superior Faculty Service Award in 2012.