SPOKANE – The Department of Health Policy and Administration at WSU Spokane recently hired Gary Smith as a clinical associate professor. Employed by WSU since 2008, Smith is also appointed as a senior project associate with the Area Health Education Center, a unit within WSU Extension that promotes health and wellness for rural and underserved communities. His dual appointment was effective Aug. 16.
Smith brings more than 40 years of health care administration and management experience to the HPA program. A physical therapist by training, he began his career in health care administration as an officer in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps in 1968. Since then, he has headed up several physical therapy practices and rehabilitation facilities and served as faculty member and chair of Eastern Washington University’s Department of Physical Therapy. Most recently, he was the chief operating officer for St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane.
“With the addition of Dr. Smith, we have a strong core HPA faculty,” said Joseph Coyne, interim chair and professor in the HPA. “The collaboration with AHEC through Dr. Smith will be an excellent conduit for faculty and students to apply health care management techniques in practical settings.”
Smith’s areas of expertise include health services administration and governance; leadership development; the operational viability of rural hospitals; and medical informatics. He will teach courses in health care and human resource management; health care management; and strategic management and marketing to students in the WSU Master of Health Policy and Administration program.
“In a period of rapid change in health care services and policy, Dr. Smith will be able to create critical opportunities for HPA students to contribute to the practical problem-solving discussions AHEC supports in communities and health disciplines across eastern Washington,” said Chris Blodgett, director of the AHEC of Eastern Washington.
Smith serves in a variety of health care-related leadership positions, both in Spokane and statewide. He is past president of the state chapter of the American College of Health Care Executives, which named him a fellow in 2008; serves on the advisory board for Eastern Washington University’s healthcare administration and speech therapy programs, and is president of the governing board for Daybreak, an organization that provides alcohol and drug treatment to youth.
Smith holds a Ph.D. in Education and Administration from Gonzaga University, a master of health science degree from Whitworth College, a certificate of physical therapy from the Mayo Foundation School of Physical Therapy, and a bachelor’s degree in pre-physical therapy from the University of Montana.