The son of Mexican immigrants and one of seven children, Elias Provencio-Vasquez was the first in his family to graduate from college. Stepping out of his comfort zone and becoming “the first” would emerge as a theme in his life. He became the first Latino male to earn a doctorate in nursing and head a nursing school in the United States. Early hospital jobs – one in a hospital kitchen, one in an ER – ignited his passion for nursing
Despite obstacles as a minority male nurse in the 1970s and ‘80s, he excelled, making a name in women’s health and pediatric and neonatal medicine. During his career, he has served as a clinical nurse, a nurse researcher, a nurse educator, school administrator, and a pediatric and neonatal nurse practitioner. He is internationally renowned for his pioneering work in neonatal and pediatric care and in women’s health.
His background makes him uniquely qualified to lead a revolutionary program like CU Nursing, which is known for inventing the Nurse Practitioner, and contributing professionally to the lives of 10 American Academy of Nursing Living Legends.
CU Nursing leads by example, surpassing the national average of male nursing candidates in its programs (15% undergraduate and 13% in graduate programs). Only about 9% of nurses currently in the field are men.