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Ojibwe Physician Named as President and CEO of Blandin Foundation

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Dr. Kathleen Annette, a physician who grew up on the Red Lake Indian Reservation and is enrolled with the White Earth Band of Ojibwe—both located in northern Minnesota, has been selected as the new president and chief executive officer of the Blandin Foundation, a nonprofit focused on strengthening rural Minnesota.

"The Blandin Foundation has a strong mission, goals and values and makes a tremendous difference in the state, especially the Grand Rapids area," Annette said. "This is a real honor, and I look forward to continuing the Foundation's journey of partnering with communities to strengthen rural Minnesota."

Annette currently serves as deputy director for field operations of the Bemidji, Minnesota-based Indian Health Service. There, she supervised area directors throughout the country at 48 hospitals and 238 health clinics serving 1.9 million American Indian patients and 15,000 federal employees. She will retire from the federal service September 1 and join the foundation immediately.

A former board member of the Blandin Foundation from 1991-2003, Annette has chaired and participated in the Blandin Foundation American Indian Advisory Committee since 2004.

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"Kathy has deep appreciation for the mission of this foundation and has been a long-time partner in our work," said Marian Barcus, chairman of the Foundation's board. "She will be an excellent guide for the Foundation's continued journey-contributing to the vitality of the Itasca County area, investing in rural community leaders statewide, and expanding opportunity for rural Minnesota residents through education, economy and inclusion."

Annette succeeds former CEO Jim Hoolihan, who plans to return the private sector October 1.