Staff

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Esther Lucero, MPP

Chief Executive Officer of the Seattle Indian Health Board and the Urban Indian Health Institute

Esther Lucero (Navajo/Latina) became the Chief Executive Officer of the Seattle Indian Health Board in November 2015, ushering in a new era for the organization following the retirement of its longtime CEO, Ralph Forquera. Ms. Lucero comes to the SIHB from the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health in San Francisco, where she was the Director of Programs and Strategic Development. Esther received her Master in Public Policy from Mills College in 2010. She brings to the SIHB her experience and training in public policy coupled with her robust experience in state and national level health policy work, including extensive knowledge of federally qualified health centers, and urban Indian health issues.

Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA

UIHI Director

Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA is an enrolled member of the Kitkehahki band of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. She is also a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Village, Alaska. She was born in the heart of Alaska where she was raised in the traditional values of giving, respect for all and love. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and Minor in Human Rights, and a Master of Arts in Policy Studies. She previously served as the Co-Director and Tribal Liaison for Partnerships for Native Health at Washington State University-Spokane. In this role she oversaw the implementation and dissemination of 24 NIH funded grants with topics ranging from suicide prevention, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more. Ms. Echo-Hawk focuses on policy advocacy in areas such as: maternal and child health, domestic violence, sexual assault, youth prostitution and educational disparities. Her greatest accomplishment however, is her place within her extended family. She is a wife, a mother, an auntie, a daughter, a granddaughter, a friend and a community member. Abigail strives to serve them with love and to be a small part of ensuring a great future for the next generations.

Adrian E. Dominguez, MS

Scientific Director

Adrian received his Master of Science in Epidemiology and Bio-statistics from the School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1988 he was awarded the Harvard University Health Professionals fellowship and attended Harvard University to study neurology and public health. Adrian has over 23 years’ of experience working as epidemiologist. His work includes pediatric lead poisoning in low income areas, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, diabetes, breast and cervical cancer, social determinants of health and health equity, community health assessments and evaluations. In 2013, Adrian began teaching as an adjunct professor for Eastern Washington University in the public health program at the College of Business and Public Administration, teaching Social and Behavioral Trends in Public Health, Social Justice/Culture and Public Health Practices and Epidemiology. Adrian serves as a board member for Washington State Public Health Association and is also a member of the Statewide Pioneering Healthier Communities, Washing State Alliance of YMCAs. In 2015 Adrian was inducted into Eastern Washington’s Upsilon Phi Delta Honor Society for his work and contributions to public health.

Rosalina “Rose” James, PhD

Director of Evaluation and Research

Rosalina “Rose” James (Lummi/Duwamish), PhD, joins the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) team as the Director of Evaluation and Research, she brings 20 years of experience working with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities to improve the health and well-being of their people. She will be directing UIHI’s evaluation of the CDC Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country program. Over the past 10 years she worked with AI/AN communities and organizations to develop capacity for interdisciplinary tribal health research practices and policies. As part of these efforts, she led a number of activities that exposed AI/AN college students to health science careers, community based participatory research, and ethical, legal, and social implications related to conducting genetics research with Indigenous populations.

As director of the Training core for the NIH/NHGRI-sponsored Center for Genomics and Healthcare Equality (CGHE), Dr. James led an annual workshop that supported career development for more than 60 AI/ANs interested in health science programs or communitybased research. She also directed the Indigenous Genomics Alliance core for CGHE where she co-chaired a working group which aimed to establish collaborative processes between local tribal organizations and university research divisions. Currently, she also co-directs the Community Outreach and Education Core of the NIH/NIEHS-sponsored Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genomics and Environment at the University of Washington.

Caitlin Keller

Administrative Coordinator

Caitlin is a direct descendant of the Omaha Nation and was raised in Tacoma, WA. She attended University of Washington, Tacoma and has worked at the Seattle Indian Health Board for 3 years prior to joining the UIHI team as Senior Administrative Assistant. Outside of work she enjoys doing beadwork and making regalia.

Alyssa Yang, MPH

Epidemiologist II

Alyssa received her Master of Public Health in Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology from the University of Michigan-School of Public Health. She was a Class XI applied epidemiology fellow through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and worked at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Her work has included oral health, chronic disease, and maternal and child health. She has also served as a peer reviewer for the Maternal and Child Health Journal and as a member of the CSTE Tribal Epidemiology Subcommittee. At the UIHI, her responsibilities include analyzing and interpreting health data, updating and maintaining surveillance datasets, and providing epidemiological consultation and technical assistance to other agencies.

Colin Gerber, MPH

Epidemiologist

Colin received his Master in Public Health with a Global Health Concentration from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelors in International Relations from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since then, he has worked extensively in public health monitoring, evaluation, research, and quality improvement, including a stint as a Global Health Corps Fellow with Partners In Health in Rwanda, East Africa. His interests include advancing health equity, utilization-focused evaluation, health systems strengthening, and community building. At UIHI, Colin helps coordinate the national evaluation for the Good Health & Wellness in Indian Country initiative.

Crisandra Wilkie, MPH

Epidemiologist

Crisandra is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and Klamath on her mother’s side. She received my Master of Public Health from the University of Kansas Medical Center. Crisandra also has a Bachelor degree in Cellular Biology from the University of Kansas. Before coming to UIHI, she worked at the Center for American Indian Community Health where she had the opportunity to work with the surrounding American Indian community. The primary projects she was a part of were related to cancer education, and tobacco cessation.

Dornell Pete, MPH

Epidemiologist II

Dornell is Navajo from the Water Flows Together (maternal) clan and Water’s Edge (paternal) clan. She is originally from Shiprock, New Mexico, and grew up on the Navajo Reservation. Dornell is pursuing a doctorate degree in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. She earned her Master of Public Health degree from Yale School of Public Health in Environmental Health with an Epidemiology concentration. She has worked as an Epidemiologist with the Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Epidemiology center in the Southwest. Her interests include cancer prevention and control, LGBTQ2S health, and learning about different Indigenous methodologies that promote health within tribal communities. In her “free” time, Dornell enjoys being outside, listening to podcasts, and cooking and trying new recipes with her wife and family.

Matt Doxey, MPH

Epidemiologist II

Matt received his Master of Public Health from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. A veteran of the US Army, Matt has worked extensively on health initiatives and development programs around the world, including work for both the US government and private organizations in central Asia, the Balkans, and sub-Saharan Africa. Matt is a member of the American Public Health Association and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. His research interests include tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, as well as public health surveillance and antibiotic resistance. At UIHI, Matt contributes to the diabetes and elders programs, as well as the nationwide community health profiles.

 

Lyle Chrzaszcz, MPH

Epidemiologist

Lyle received his Master of Public Health in Epidemiological Methods and Application from the University of Michigan – School of Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Geography from the University of Florida. He then worked for the Institute for Child Health Policy at UF. While there, he conducted research for the Texas External Quality Review Organization, assessing the Medicaid programs administered for the state of Texas. His professional interests include addressing disparities in access to health services as well promoting health equity. At UIHI, Lyle works on analyzing, interpreting, and reporting health data.

 

Kalyn Yasutake, MPH

Epidemiologist

Kalyn received her Master of Public Health in Epidemiological Methods and Application with a concentration in Public Health Genetics from the University of Michigan – School of Public Health. She then worked for the University of Michigan Hospital System as a genetic epidemiologist specifically researching the genomics and biological mechanisms of pediatric nephrotic syndrome. Her interests include chronic disease prevention and surveillance as well as promoting public health equity through research and application. At UIHI, Kalyn works on analyzing, interpreting, and reporting health indicators and outcomes for the diabetes program.

Sofia Locklear, MA

Evaluator II

Sofia Locklear (Lumbee Tribe) was born and raised in Seattle, WA. She received her BA from Seattle University, her MA from the University of New Mexico, and is currently a PhD candidate in sociology focusing on social determinants of health and race and ethnicity. Sofia strives to engage in rigorous and dynamic research and evaluation that is centered around community cultural values, needs, and ways of knowing as an effort to combat structural oppression.

 

Andrew Sikes, BA

Data Coordinator

Andrew Sikes hails from Florida, was raised in Colorado, and was educated in Washington. He earned his BA in Digital Art with a concentration in Film from Henry Cogswell College. At UIHI, Andrew is responsible for providing data management of all datasets reviewed by UIHI staff. His emphasis is ensuring we have accurate, accessible data. This is through the process of application to dataset ownership groups, maintaining profiles on all research staff, access times, utility, and data destruction policies under supervision of the Scientific Director. He also cleans and propagates data into different mediums: SAS, Stata, CSV, SQL or even fixed-width forms if need be. Upon request, Andrew does code reviews and supplies table creation for UIHI staff. Andrew finds great meaning in working in the world of Native health. He likes that staff is encouraged to learn and grow while helping the community. When he isn’t on the job, he enjoys doing character illustrations, going camping, brewing his own beer, and fiddling with various types of technology. Oh, and Andrew also has one IMDB credit to his name!

Joshua Behn, MA, BIS

HIV Coordinator

Joshua Behn is from Boston, Massachusetts. Joshua brings to UIHI extensive HIV/HCV/STI experience in program development, PrEP navigation, prevention, and medical case management. Whether it’s been setting up an HIV/HCV test site, sitting on state and county HIV/HCV/STI steering committees, or working directly with clients, Joshua has been a staunch advocate for those living with, or at risk of acquiring, HIV. He holds a Masters of Peace and Justice from University of San Diego (California), and a Bachelors of Integrated Studies in Social Work, History, and Political Science from Weber State University (Utah). He is the author of the Voices Amidst Conflict Project, a qualitative research study that explored the intersection of sexual identity formation and armed conflict among gay men in Northern Ireland. Other specializations include HIV care among long term survivors 50+ years old, conflict and diplomacy, restorative practice, and the navigation of religion and sexual identity. Joshua is an avid traveler, an actor, a Quaker, and something of a paradox. A few of his (many) guilty pleasures include Russian literature, graphic novels, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Meenakshi Richardson, MPH

Research Site Coordinator

Meenakshi (Meena) embarked upon her journey as an Act 6 scholar at Northwest University for an undergraduate degree and received a BS in Biology and a minor in Intercultural Studies. She was then blessed to begin her graduate career at Bastyr University, receiving her Master in Public Health with an emphasis in community health education and epidemiology. As a Native American (Haliwa-Saponi, North Carolina) and East Indian, Meena aspires to serve her community by implementing culturally-influenced health education and outreach services as a public health practitioner. Her passion is promoting and elevating behavioral health services, natural wellness, traditional medicine, and cultural embodiment. Coming onto the team at UIHI, she brings with her stories and experience from the Puyallup Tribal Indian Health Authority, having worked for the Kwawachee Counseling Center as well as the Community Wellness program to provide individualized treatment planning, short-term crisis stabilization, ongoing counseling and advocation, as well as community health outreach interventions. Immersing herself in our local tribal communities has equipped her with the skills and competencies needed to further advocate for our people. At UIHI, Meena works as the Research Site Coordinator to oversee and execute the SUNDANCE collaborative study on young adult suicide prevention— Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) evaluation at the Seattle Indian Health Board, and the Randomized Control trial on suicidal attempt and ideation. Her hope is that by changing a little piece of her world, she can then encourage others to change a part of theirs.

 

Wyatt Pickner, MPH

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Coordinator

Wyatt (Hunkpati Dakota) was born and raised in South Dakota. He graduated from the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor of Arts in American Indian studies and a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. Most recently, he graduated from the University of Washington with a Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice. Since 2012, Wyatt has worked with Indigenous communities on research projects related to cancer, emergency department use and care, mental health, and police violence, as well as helping to build research infrastructure and capacity. He also completed a ten-week traineeship in Aotearoa (New Zealand) that included a research project to critically analyze biological specimen sample collection practices for cultural safety and responsiveness. Wyatt coordinates UIHI’s national urban Indian Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System project. He enjoys spending time with his family and traveling and traveling to spend time with his family.

Thomas Lawrence, BA

Program Manager

Thomas Lawrence is an enrolled member of the Makah Tribe from the village of Tsoo-Yess in Neah Bay, Wash. He was born and raised on the Makah reservation where he was surrounded in the traditional culture with respect to the Straits of Juan de Fuca and vast forest. Tom is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minor in American Indian Studies. He has worked in public health since he was 18 years old, starting with a summer public health internship before becoming a student research assistant for Partnerships for Native Health at Washington State University-Spokane. After receiving his degree, Tom returned home and was a Prevention Specialist and administrative assistant to the Integrative Health Director for Sophie Trettevick Indian Health Center. Today, Tom strives to serve American Indian and Alaska Native people by providing opportunities to improve their overall health and wellness.

 

Kelsey Liu, MPH

Program Manager

Kelsey Liu works at UIHI as a Program Manager for the EpiCore funding through IHS. She received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health from the University of California – Berkeley. Prior to joining UIHI, Kelsey worked at Partnerships for Native Health as a research coordinator on an attachment parenting project and outreach events. Through her work at P4NH and at Berkeley, she has worked directly with both urban and rural AI/AN communities in the Seattle area, the SF Bay area and at the Campo Kumeyaay reservation to promote the health and advancement of Native communities.

Gunnar Colleen, BA

Project Associate

Gunnar Colleen is a banjo-playing project associate who works on number of UIHI projects around the prevention of chronic diseases and promotion of traditional methods to create health and wellness in Indian Country. Gunnar received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health from the University of Washington. Prior to joining UIHI, Gunnar led the opening of the University of Washington Food Cooperative where he promoted food justice and equitable access to healthy, sustainable foods. Outside of work, Gunnar enjoys cooking, eating, and playing the banjo.

Eliza Ramsey, BA

Project Associate

Eliza is a tea-drinking project associate at UIHI who supports epidemiological reporting on a variety of health determinants and outcomes. Eliza earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a concentration in community and global health from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. She previously worked as non-partisan staff for the Washington State Senate, interned with the Washington State Department of Health, and volunteered with various public health NGOs. Eliza was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, so she’s obviously an avid runner, skier, and hiker. But she doesn’t run away from her belief that strong health communication and literacy is fundamental to improving health equity.

Cherrise Reyes, BA

Project Assistant

Cherrise Reyes is a member of the Upper Skagit Tribe and descends from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation; Arrow Lakes Band, the Yakama Nation; Cascade Band, the Swinomish Tribe, and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; Wasco Band. She graduated from Washington State University (WSU) with a degree in Political Science and Minor in Criminal Justice. During her undergrad, she was the Historian and Senator of the Native American Women’s Association, Chair of the Coalition for Women Students, a member of the WSU Conduct Board, a Student Ambassador for the Native American Student Center, a member of the first cohort of the Tribal Nation Building Leadership Program, and participated in the Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP) at George Washington University. Before joining the UIHI team, she was the Project Manager of the Pacific Northwest Circle of Success: Mentoring Opportunities in STEM (PNW-COSMOS) at WSU. At UIHI, Cherrise assists with a variety of administrative duties, project support activities, communications, and outreach planning. In her spare time, she likes to take kickboxing classes and go to local art galleries.

Debbie Nerocker, BA

Communications and Events Coordinator

Debbie is Tsimshian Alaska Native on her mother’s side, and Hawaiian on her Father’s. Before joining the SIHB family in 2008, Debbie worked at United Airlines for 13 years as an International Sales Agent. Prior to that, she worked as a Word Processing Supervisor for Northwest Kidney Center, an Administrative Supervisor for the Seattle/King County Eastside Public Health Clinic (supervising a staff of 15 medical, dental, environmental health and STD office clerks), and as an Office Manager with United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. During a one year sabbatical from SIHB in 2010, she moved to Sacramento, CA and was employed as the Interim Executive Assistant for the Intertribal Council of California. Debbie holds an Associate’s degree in Healthcare Administration and is currently completing her BA in Psychology. She is the mother of six married children and 11 grandchildren. Her volunteer activities include speaking at conferences or to women’s groups to encourage and mentor women in crisis (dealing with life issues such as separation/divorce, depression, menopause and abuse). For five years she served as the Women’s Ministries Director for Community Bible Fellowship Church in Seattle, developing programs and activities to encourage women. She also enjoys writing and hopes to publish her first book this year.

Meg Goforth-Ward, MFA

Communications Associate

Meg Goforth-Ward was born and raised in small-town Pennsylvania and found herself moving to Washington in 2011. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from York College of Pennsylvania in 2008 and, after some time off from school, received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Pacific University in 2015. Before joining the Urban Indian Health Institute team, she worked in the marketing department of a boat dealership in Seattle, wrote grants for a homeless shelter in South Carolina, and made coffee for the tired commuters in Bremerton (not all at the same time). She has a passion for helping those in need and feels her best when giving back. When not working, Meg enjoys reading, watching TV, forcing her dog to cuddle, and boxing with her husband.