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Idaho State University

Grant writer focused on research initiatives joins KDHS

October 12, 2018 - POCATELLO, ID

A grant writer whose efforts will be dedicated to coordinating research funding for a variety of projects has joined the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences (KDHS) at ISU. Mary van Muelken brings nearly 20 years of grant writing and research reporting experience to the KDHS. Prior to moving with her husband to Pocatello, she worked at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF), where she coordinated the National Institutes for Health (NIH) funded Specialized Neuroscience Research Program, a multi-investigator program aimed at decreasing health disparities in Alaska.  Upon transferring to UAF’s Resilience and Adaptation Program, she continued to participate in grant writing and administration while expanding her duties to include student and faculty coordination, student advocacy and more.

van Muelken plans to work with KDHS faculty and student researchers to secure grants from a number of organizations. She says, “I am working now to learn faculty research interests, reviewing calls for proposals, and connecting researchers to grant opportunities. I am looking at a variety of available funding mechanisms to see how they are applicable to the basic science and health outcomes research conducted by KDHS.” Funding secured by faculty with van Muelken’s assistance will be utilized for program expansion, equipment needs, and graduate student support. van Muelken says she appreciates the warm welcome she has received from ISU colleagues.   She says working with a team to support research efforts is always more stimulating and productive. “I am amazed at the scope of KDHS and the multitude of programs and services being offered to the community. I am enjoying ISU’s collaborative spirit and am looking forward to meeting and working with students, faculty and staff. I see a bright future within the KDHS as we work to secure funding for key initiatives and discoveries.”

Since beginning work at ISU in early August, van Muelken says she views working for the KDHS as a natural continuation of her prior work and shares its commitment to improving access to healthcare for the rural and underserved populations of Idaho. Before moving to Alaska, van Muelken spent many years working for nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving homeless families.  She spent seven years working in northeast Louisiana where she designed a transitional living program for homeless young adults, many with children. “The poverty in northeast Louisiana was crushing and the level of need extraordinary. I administered the agency’s transitional housing program and wrote all of the agency’s grants,” van Muelken says. Since arriving in Pocatello she has assisted with a cancer related Department of Defense submission and is currently working with faculty members on several NIH and foundation applications.  A returned Peace Corps volunteer, van Muelken gravitates toward working with underserved populations.