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Stephanie Ahlgren

Advancing public health

YVC instructor Stephanie Ahlgren joins Yakima Health District Board

Since her earliest years, Stephanie Ahlgren was interested in understanding food.

She grew up in a Yakima Valley fruit orchard and joined 4-H at age 10, following her interests in baking bread, preparing meals and food preservation projects.

After starting college at Eastern Washington University, she eventually decided to pursue a degree in food and nutrition/dietetics and launch her career as a dietitian.

During her first several years working as a clinical dietitian, Ahlgren gravitated toward working with outpatients doing nutrition counseling and earned her Certified Diabetes Education credentials. While working toward her master’s degree in human nutrition, she moved to Spokane Valley, and then joined EWU’s faculty while continuing to work as an outpatient dietitian/diabetes educator.

“Over the years, I worked many, many different dietitian jobs,” Ahlgren said, joking that “I must get bored easily!”

She’d eventually move across the country and spend a few years in Florida working in a community health clinic and as an adjunct faculty member at Hillborough Community College.

But the call to return home was strong. After starting to interview for full-time nutrition instructor positions across the country, Ahlgren’s first offer came from Yakima Valley College in 2016.

“Yakima Valley College is a big part of the Yakima County community. I look forward to building partnerships with YVC and the Yakima Health Department.” Stephanie Ahlgren

“All my years of clinical work in a variety of settings with a variety of people, my teaching experience and the fact that I grew up here uniquely qualified me for this job,” Ahlgren said. “I have a ton of family all over Yakima County and it is very nice to be back home.”

In the summer of 2022, Ahlgren decided to take on an additional role is advancing the health of community members in the Yakima Valley when she applied for and was appointed as a community representative on the Yakima Health District Board.

“It’s work that coincides with my strengths and knowledge of increasing health and decreasing disease in people,” Ahlgren said.

Ahlgren and her fellow Board members play an important role in guiding the health district’s work advocating for the preservation, promotion and protection of public health, preventing the spread of disease, setting local public health regulations and enforcing state and local public health laws.

“Yakima Valley College is a big part of the Yakima County community,” Ahlgren notes. “I look forward to building partnerships with YVC and the Yakima Health Department.”