Veteran WSU Extension Specialist Named AHEC Director

SPOKANE, Wash. – Chris Blodgett, long-time associate scientist and Extension specialist, is the new director of Washington State University Extension’s Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center.

AHEC, like its sister organizations around the country, focuses on the education and training of the health professions, recruitment, and retention, especially for rural and underserved communities. It also provides technical assistance to communities and serves as a grant partner for a number of initiatives. It also is an integral part of the health science programs at WSU Spokane.

“Christopher brings a strong combination of skills to this position,” said Linda Kirk Fox, dean and director of WSU Extension. “He knows eastern Washington and its health care issues. He also has a specific focus in high-risk children and families, some of those most in need of the health care services AHEC fosters.”

Blodgett has served as interim director of the center, which is located on WSU’s Spokane campus, since January. Prior to that, he spent six years as director of the WSU Child and Family Research Unit. Researchers in the unit are examining outcome services and public policy addressing the needs of high risk children, their families and their communities. It is funded with multiple external grants and contracts. With Blodgett’s appointment, the unit will become a part of AHEC.

Blodgett joined WSU in 1995 as a senior research associate with the institution’s Washington Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training and four years later became assistant director of community program development there. He became an associate scientist and Extension specialist in family living/human development in 1996.

“The evidence clearly shows that the need for rural health care is tremendous,” Blodgett said. “We want to reassert the role of WSU Extension as a partner in addressing these concerns through the AHEC.”

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