Dr. Shafik Dharamsi currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Provost at New Mexico State University. He brings a strong interdisciplinary background and extensive international and community development experience as an educator, scholar, and administrator. Dharamsi is working to create transdisciplinary initiatives and build partnerships with industry and civil society organizations leading to new programs, internship opportunities for students, applied research, and transformational community engagement opportunities to improve the quality and conditions of life in the region.
Born in Tanzania, Dharamsi was eleven years old when his family migrated to Canada in 1976. A first-generation college graduate, he is deeply committed to student success and educational equity. He began his career as an inner-city schoolteacher. In 2000, he was recruited by the Aga Khan Development Network to serve as the Regional Director of an early childhood development and poverty alleviation program in East Africa. Based in Kenya, with projects in Zanzibar and Uganda, he led over 200 staff across the three countries, fostered consensus in complex social, cultural, political, and economic environments, managed multimillion-dollar grants, led major international fundraising initiatives, hosted graduate students from Canada, Europe, and the United States, and successfully cultivated relationships with donors, civil society organizations, and government agencies.
Dharamsi was subsequently recruited to The University of British Columbia where he earned tenure in the Department of Family Medicine and served as the Associate Director of the UBC Center for International Health. His work as a teacher-scholar focuses on addressing health and educational inequities, and building and supporting connections that engage students, faculty, and staff in the community and bring the community into the life of the university. He has published widely in the areas of public health, medical education, service-learning, global health, ethics, and the social determinants of health.
In 2015, he was invited to serve as Founding Associate Dean to help establish a new osteopathic medical school at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. After seeing the new medical school through the initial phases of the accreditation process, he accepted the responsibility to serve as Dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso and provide oversight of the university’s Student Health & Wellness Center that serves nearly 25,000 students on campus. About half of UTEP students are first-generation, and most come from families in the lowest income quartile. Under his leadership, student retention increased from 84% to 87%; the college faculty significantly increased community engaged research initiatives and annual research expenditures nearly doubled; peer-reviewed publications increased by 70%; and publications in the most prestigious journals (Q1) increased by more than 200%. The Dean’s Office also secured a $14.3 Million contract from the Texas State Department to establish a Contact Tracing Program to recruit, train and deployed over 200 students and staff to support statewide efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Dharamsi serves as a board member on several local, national, and international civil society organizations.
Dharamsi earned a dual bachelor’s degree in social sciences and teacher education from York University, a health science degree from the Medical College of Georgia, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of British Columbia.