January 5, 2011
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
As president of Idaho's lead institution in health professions education, I take great pride in telling you of recent accomplishments at our ISU-Meridian Health Science Center.
ISU-Meridian, which opened in August 2009, now serves more than 1,000 students in the Treasure Valley and offers more than 20 graduate and undergraduate programs in the health professions and sciences.
This fall, our faculty and students partnered with Ada County, Central District Health and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to provide free health screenings for low-income and uninsured adults in the Boise area.
Our faculty and students conducted dental exams, administered flu shots and hepatitis vaccinations, tested for HIV and screened for depression. The idea is to identify potential health problems before people become so ill they are forced to seek costly treatment in hospital emergency rooms.
Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman, who worked closely with ISU-Meridian in setting up the screenings, says covering the medical bills of the indigent is often a huge burden on taxpayers. It's her hope that the screenings will ease that burden while providing citizens with health information that can prevent them from getting sick in the first place.
More than 80 adults were screened this fall—many called ISU-Meridian to thank faculty and students for their services. We were honored to serve the community and look forward to continuing the screenings in 2011.
In late December and early January, while students are away for winter break, ISU-Meridian was a fairly noisy place. Crews will be moving classrooms from the west wing to the east wing of the building to make room for a new dental clinic. The ISU Delta Dental of Idaho Advanced Dental Residency Clinic is scheduled to open in August 2011, thanks to a $500,000 gift from Delta Dental of Idaho and additional funding from the Idaho Legislature. The clinic will provide advanced training for dentists and treatment for underserved and low-income patients.
I'd like to highlight another milestone. The Communications Sciences and Disorders program—which includes speech language pathology and educational interpreting—will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in the Treasure Valley in 2011. Activities include monthly speech and language screenings for the community and a conference for speech-language professionals in April.
Finally, if you swing by the ISU-Meridian campus soon, you'll probably see more orange and black. The staff is working with local retailers to offer more ISU, ISU-Meridian and Bengal merchandise for sale in the Treasure Valley.
I look forward to sharing more news about the achievements at ISU-Meridian, our other outreach centers and the Pocatello campus in the New Year.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University