AIIAS Names New Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Richard D. Nelson, MD MS, has been appointed by the Board of Trustees as the new AIIAS Vice President for Institutional Advancement (VPIA). The VPIA will oversee advancement (donor relations, alumni relations, grant procurement, and fundraising), public relations, and marketing for the institution. Nelson’s personal energies will primarily focus on activities that will bring non-tuition funding into the institution, build new collaborations, and assist the president in nurturing the connections of AIIAS with General Conference divisions, local and international entities, and prospective donors.

Nelson currently serves as Special Assistant to the Dean for Extended Campus Programs, Professor, and as Program Director at the School of Allied Health Professions, Loma Linda University. Dr. Nelson has held a faculty position at Loma Linda University for 34 years, working in educational and clinical administration. His past appointments in affiliated organizations have included Vice President for Medical Affairs at Weimar Institute; Union Global Mission & Health Director at Southern Union Conference of the EuroAsia Division; Internal Medicine Consultant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Associate Dean, Professor, & Department Chairman of a Saudi medical college; and Co-founder and Director of the 1st USA accredited international allied health university campus outside of North America (Loma Linda University). He also served for many years as a clinical member of the Loma Linda University International Heart Team and has participated in health and humanitarian activities in 22 countries to date.


Early in their marriage, Drs. Richard and Anna Nelson served in Eastern Europe and then Central Asia where they initiated 85 global mission and health projects. “This year they felt a calling to again return to international mission service,” says AIIAS president Ginger Ketting-Weller. “The VPIA search committee noted Richard’s dedication, mission spirit, enthusiasm, wealth of experience, and excellent fit for the needs of AIIAS at this time. We feel so blessed to have the Nelsons’ sense of God’s calling coincide with our need. Dr. Nelson’s childhood and family history in Asia as well as his experience, connections, energy and vision will be inviting to all who get to meet him. We know he’ll be a significant asset to the administrative team in advancing the wellbeing, service and reach of AIIAS.”


Nelson was born in Taiwan to missionaries serving at the Far Eastern Division. He was schooled in the USA, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, graduating from 8th grade on the Baesa campus of Philippine Union College. His mother, Capt. Dorothy Nelson, is a well known health educator and nurse-pilot of the “Wings of Health” in the Philippines while his father, Dr. Wilbur Nelson, served as the division development officer. Nelson earned his doctor of medicine degree from Angeles University, Philippines, with clinical training in North America, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Loma Linda University, USA. He has been an active contributor to scholarly articles and texts related to clinical care and health. In addition to his administrative roles, he has participated in international symposia as a presenter and speaker and has been an instructor for health education conferences and workshops worldwide.


Nelson shares from Loma Linda, “AIIAS has a special meaning to me as I recall accompanying my father when the division explored potential properties before AIIAS was built in Silang. It is remarkable to see how God has led AIIAS to become a global center for education today. I feel honored to be welcomed to the team!”


Richard Nelson is married to Anna Nelson, DrPH, a 2007 alumna of the AIIAS MPH program. Anna was one of the first online students of AIIAS, working on her degree while serving in Central Asia, and now serves as associate professor and senior program director of Public Health practice programs at Loma Linda University. She will continue her work remotely for Loma Linda University from their home at AIIAS. The Nelsons have been blessed with four sons, Nerik (3rd year medical student, Loma Linda University), Billy (age 18), Tommy (age 16), and Michael (age 10).



Welcome to the AIIAS family, Drs. Richard and Anna Nelson!

Nelsons including eldest son Nerik, wife Katya, and grandkids.
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