Volume 43 | Number 2 | Spring 2013

Galen Louis

Photo by Chris Gabettas

Louis Gives Even in Retirement

Spring 2013 Issue | By Chris Gabettas

Dr. Galen Louis remembers what it was like being a financially strapped graduate student, struggling to fund his research.

So when he retired Dec. 31 as an assistant professor and director of ISU's Master of Public Health program, he wanted to leave something behind.

Louis, who began as an adjunct professor at ISU in 1998, set up the Galen Louis Endowment Fund to help future MPH students with research and thesis projects.

"It's my way of giving back," said Louis, who contributed the first $5,600. The fund, which reached $13,000 in January, will operate off of interest, preserving the principal for generations to come.

Louis, who taught at the ISU-Meridian Health Science Center, became MPH program director in 2006. Under his leadership, the 48-credit program doubled its enrollment to 60 full and part-time students and achieved nationally recognized accreditation.

Many of his students have landed top jobs in the public health arena. Vivian Lockary, a 2009 graduate and a past president of the Idaho Public Health Association, manages the diagnostic laboratory at Elmore Medical Center in Mountain Home.

She says Louis' real-world experience coupled with his passion for public health, community service and research have made a lasting impact on her life.

"The MPH program was awesome because of Dr. Louis," she said.

When asked several years ago why he loved to teach, Louis responded: "My graduate students are not only my educational charges, they are also my partners in this learning experience. For me, the learning experience is more than just about the acquisition of knowledge. It is about critical thinking and the ability to translate complex ideas and theories and weave them into the fabric of our lives."

Louis also played a major role in securing more than $500,000 dollars in MPH research grants to improve the lives of vulnerable Idahoans. Projects include creating an anti-tobacco campaign for Hispanic teens living in Canyon County, evaluation of medical interpreter services in Idaho hospitals, and research to improve services for HIV/AIDS patients in the Gem State's seven public health districts.

Louis holds a doctorate in community health from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and an interdisciplinary degree in public administration and health policy from ISU.

In 2012, ISU honored Louis with a Master Teacher Award for teaching excellence and the Idaho Public Health Association celebrated his outstanding service in public health with its annual President's Award.

In 2009, he was a finalist for Idaho Health Care Hero Educator, a statewide competition sponsored by the Idaho Business Review newspaper.

To contribute to the ISU-Galen Louis Endowment Fund, send a check to:
Idaho State University
c/o Joan Hansen, Director of Development, Division of Health Sciences
Galen Louis Endowment
921 S. 8th, Stop 8288
Pocatello, ID 83209