Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University home

About the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences

Students in the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences make up one-third of the student body at Idaho State University. In addition to 30+ academic program offerings in the health professions, the KDHS is a hub for health and wellness research and innovation. The KDHS main campus and offices are located in Pocatello, ID, including a multitude of community health clinics and research centers. A branch campus location in Meridian, ID offers many of the same programs offered in Pocatello, along with health clinic services unique to the needs of Treasure Valley residents.  

Mission Statement

Idaho State University's Kasiska Division of Health Sciences provides leadership in the delivery of rural health care by educating caring and competent professionals across all dimensions of health and promoting interprofessional research and practice in the health sciences.


The Kasiska Division of Health Sciences is a destination site for health profession education.

Core Values

Professional Integrity - Promoting professional ethical standards and respecting the integrated roles of all health professionals.
Holistic Approach to Health - Emphasizing a comprehensive view of human health, including curative and preventive dimensions.
Collaboration - Recognizing the value of internal and external partnerships through professional and community engagement.
Discovery and Innovation - Seeking new evidence to improve health.
Dedication - Supporting the mission and vision of the KDHS.
Excellence - Striving for excellence in all aspects of professional, academic and personal endeavors.

Leadership Team

Rex Force, PharmD, Vice President for Health Sciences and Senior Vice Provost
Christopher Owens, PharmD, MPH,
 Associate Vice President for Health Sciences
Gabriel Bargen, PhD, CCC-A/SLP, Interim Executive Director, ISU-Meridian
Brian Hickenlooper, Assistant Vice President for Clinical Services
William Woodhouse, MD, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Professional Relations
Vacant, Dean, College of Health 
Karen Neill, PhD, RN, Associate Dean, College of Health and Director, School of Nursing
Walter L. Fitzgerald, Jr., BPharm, MS, JD, 
Dean, College of Pharmacy
Chris Sanford, PhD, CCC-A, Interim Associate Dean, College of Health, Director, School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences, Department Chair, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Goal Areas

Goal 1 - To provide high quality programs that are efficient, cost effective, and student oriented.
Goal 2 - To create an environment conducive to inquiry.  
Goal 3 - To facilitate interprofessional health services to the community.
Goal 4 - To expand/improve the image and reach of the KDHS as a destination site for health professions education.

Kasiska Family Legacy

Since the late 1980s, the Kasiska Family Foundation has donated $17 million to ISU and pledged an additional $3 million, bringing the total gift to $20 million. The money has funded scholarships, health science programs, equipment, special events and conferences.

Kasiska support for ISU began in the 1960s and 70s, thanks to sisters Eva and Mabel who inherited their father’s philanthropic spirit.

William Frederick Kasiska emigrated from eastern Europe in 1881 and settled in Pocatello in the late 1890s. A skilled financier and former Pocatello mayor, he amassed a fortune in business, banking, ranching and real estate. Kasiska, who died in 1945, was known for helping young people finance their education or dipping into his pocket to help a friend in need.

“He always said he made his money here and he wanted to show his appreciation to the community that made it possible. It gave him great pleasure to help people and we like to carry on his work…’’ said daughter Eva in an Idaho State Journal newspaper article published in February 1974.

That same article highlighted the Kasiska sisters’ early support of ISU—Eva and Mabel were often the first in the community to donate to an academic program or annual scholarship drive.

“We like to think we are helping to attract worthwhile students to the university,” Eva said.

Mabel died in 1976 and Eva in 1986, but their spirit of giving continues through the Kasiska Family Foundation. Since 1987, close to 7000 ISU students have received Kasiska scholarships. Many have pursued advanced degrees—becoming nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, speech-language pathologists and physical therapists. Others have chosen to practice in rural Idaho communities, improving access to quality health care for thousands of citizens.