June 23, 2022 By CDHD CYSC Director, Dr Gwen Mitchell is retiring Dr Gwen Mitchell, Director of the Child and Youth Study Center, will be retiring on June 24, 2022. Gwen has been at the Idaho Center for Disabilities and Human Development for 17 years. Not only has she provided invaluable leadership and experience during that time, but she helped develop the Child and Youth Study Center into what it is today. We sat down to catch-up with Gwen to talk about the last 17 years and what lies ahead. So, we’ll start off with an easy one. When did you start at the CDHD? I started at the Center in 2005. The Clinical services project was just starting. I worked with Dr Laura Richards. She had been doing the school psychology contracts for the Moscow Charter School. I needed to do an internship for my Education Specialist and School Psychology program, so she recruited me to take over for in that role. I did that for a year. When that was over Julie and Laura decided they would hire me full time as a counsellor and school psychologist. I continued to do the work at the Charter School and I started on at the Center in the Clinical Services Project. So the Study Center started around the same time? Yes, that was all started at the same time. Dr Rand Walker was doing supervision of Clinical Psych students out of his office… and down at the Breakfast Club [laughs]. Julie and Dr Walker kind of got together and decided we needed to have a clinical services project at the Center. They recruited Dr Richards and between the three of them, they started this project. Then, when I started, Dr Richards and I were really the ones who put together the program as it is now. We got the different accreditations with the different insurance companies and started billing for services. Then it kind of evolved. At one time we had as many as seven graduate students from WSU here! What has been your favorite thing about working at the Study Center and with the community? My favorite thing I do here is to supervise the graduates in their assessment work. That entails helping them learn how to administer psychological assessments. They will observe me and then I will sit in with them. I’ll watch them. I’ll observe their video tapes … That part – the supervision of the students. It’s very fulfilling. Yes, I can imagine. You’re training the next generation. Training the next generation. Yes! Do you have a favorite memory of your time at the Study Center and/or at the CDHD? I’d say the best memories have consistently been the opportunities to be with the people here and getting to know them. That’s always been really fun. But overall, my favorite thing about being here has been working with the families. Being able to answer their questions and be a resource for them to help them support their child as they turn into an independently functioning adults. So, when is your official last day? My last workday will be June 24. I might take a day or two off between now and then, but I have lots to clean up! They’re going to let me keep an office here. Oh, that will be great! Oh yeah. I’m not going to … I mean, you’re still going to see me around [laughs]. What are your retirement plans? Well, I am going to continue working with the Moscow Charter School. And I hope to do some independent work. That brings me to my last question. Do you have any parting words for staff, or the community – the people that you’ve worked with over the years? Yes, this has been such a fun group of people to work with. It’s really been a nice way to end my working career, working in such an inclusive and accepting environment. I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity. Working at the Center and the environment that Julie offers us … it’s priceless. Thank you, Gwen for the past 17 years! All of us at the CDHD would like to wish you the very best in your retirement. Please also note Unfortunately, Dr Mitchell's departure means that the Child and Youth Study Center has discontinued direct services. Together with Gwen, we are proud that for 17 years the Child and Youth Study Center has been able to consistently fulfill Dr Rand Walker and Dr Julie Fodor’s original dream of providing therapy and assessment services to the underserved in the community. The decision to close was made based on financial limitations and we sincerely regret the loss to the community. We appreciate the many partnerships and friendships made over the years.