Hector Olvera, Ph.D., PE

Headshot of Fellow Hector OlveraAssociate Professor, School of Nursing
Senior Associate Dean for Research, School of Nursing
Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, Oregon

Fellowship Project: Life stress, particulate matter exposure, and inflammatory reactivity/ Nature Contact, and Health Inequities (Collaborative Project)

Dr. Olvera Alvarez’ research expertise is in exposure science and environmental epidemiology. During the fellowship program he was able to expand the focus of his program on understanding how the totality of environmental factors (e.g., natural, built, and social) interact to affect health and well-being across the lifespan. His current aim is to determine how severe psychosocial stress early in life increases the risk of chronic illness later in life. Specifically, he is studying how a neuro-immunological hyper-sensitivity to psychosocial and environmental stressors, which is programmed by stress in childhood, increases the risk of disease in adulthood via systemic inflammation. The conceptual frameworks for this work were published in high-impact journals1. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of his program, Dr. Olvera Alvarez mentors undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from several disciplines (e.g., nursing, biology, psychology, and environmental science). He teaches primarily at the graduate level where he consistently receives strong student evaluations.

1 Olvera Alvarez HA, Kubzansky LD, Campen MJ, Slavich GM, Early Life Stress, Air Pollution, Inflammation, and Disease: An Integrative Review and Immunologic Model of Social-Environmental Adversity and Lifespan Health, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.06.002

Olvera Alvarez, H.A., Appleton, A.A., Fuller, C.H. et al. An Integrated Socio-Environmental Model of Health and Well-Being: a Conceptual Framework Exploring the Joint Contribution of Environmental and Social Exposures to Health and Disease Over the Life Span, Current Environmental Health Reports (2018)


During the fellowship program Dr. Olvera Alvarez founded the SON’s Biobehavioral Research Laboratory (BbRL), which offered extensive clinical, biomedical, and behavioral capacity for human subject research. In 2017, he was named co-director for the Interdisciplinary Health Ph.D. program at UTEP and also served in the executive advisory board for the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE). In the community and in collaboration with the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso he founded the Alpha Youth Leadership Academy to serve at-risk youth from Government Subsidized Housing Communities in El Paso. Through the Academy, Dr. Olvera Alvarez connected UTEP students with at-risk youth to deliver structured curricula and hands-on opportunities that help develop the skills necessary to live a Happy, Healthy, and Self-Sufficient life.

Hector A. Olvera Alvarez has degrees in Civil Engineering (B.S.,1999), Environmental Engineering (M.S., 2002), and Environmental Science and Engineering (Ph.D., 2006). Dr. Olvera Alvarez’ post-doc experiences include trainings at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, NM. He received graduate certification in epidemiology from the University of Michigan (2017). He is also a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas since 2011, and joined the School of Nursing (SON) at the University of Texas at El Paso in fall 2015 as an Associate Professor and Director of Research. Prior he worked as a Research Assistant Professor in UTEP’s Center for Environmental Resource Management.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.