Ann Custer joined the Oregon State University Center for Health Innovation earlier this year as manager of workforce development and corporate relations. Ann joins the college from Linn-Benton Community College, where she served as a faculty member from 2004-2016. She’s also held positions as a health care educator, a rehabilitation manager and an occupational therapist.
Why did you decide to get into this field?
“My professional interests have always involved health and education. I worked for many years as an occupational therapist in a variety of practice settings. Though it was a very rewarding career, I eventually felt a draw to shift my focus from treatment of conditions to promotion of health, and from therapy to education. I have since served as a faculty member in two programs at a community college. In addition to providing opportunities for teaching, both positions involved planning, implementation and evaluation of innovative programs. I’d say I enjoyed the teaching and administrative duties in equal measure.”
What interested you about this position?
“Since we moved here 12 years ago, my husband and I have fallen in love with Oregon in general and with Corvallis in particular. Though I was happily employed at the community college, I was also hoping to work for OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences one day. Last fall is when I first learned of its new Oregon State University Center for Health Innovation. The word “innovation” captured my attention since I’ve so enjoyed collaborating with others to develop and deliver innovative health-related programming. When I later read the job description for this position, I knew I had to apply.”
What do you hope to achieve in this new role?
“Generally speaking, I hope to be part of the team that helps to increase and strengthen linkages between OSU/CPHHS, and the public health and health care industry and workforce.”
What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
“It’s probably one of two programs developed from scratch. The first was a rehabilitation program in Arizona that provided inpatient and outpatient services for physical, occupational and speech therapy. The second was an Occupational Therapy Assistant Program in Oregon that was awarded initial accreditation with no areas of non-compliance – uncommon for the field – and used an innovative delivery model to increase access and impact around the state.”
What advice would you give students and recent alumni?
“Be the person other people want to work with.”
What is one surprising thing about you many people don’t know?
“My maiden name is Klein, which in German means small – a bit ironic considering my father was 13 pounds at birth and I was 10!”
What are your favorite activities outside of work?
“Visiting with family and friends – especially when tasty food and a nice bottle of wine are involved – live music, good movies, nature walks and travel.”