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NCARE

Biographies

Amanda Boyd

Amanda Boyd, PhD

Amanda Boyd, PhD (Dane-zaa, Metis), is an Associate Professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and Co-Director of the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health at Washington State University. Her research focuses on building the tools and theory necessary for successful communication of health risks among rural and Indigenous populations. For NCARE, she assesses the most effective and culturally appropriate methods to communicate information on alcohol use disorders to American Indians and Alaska Natives. She also works with team members to disseminate information on study results.
Dedra Buchwald

Dedra Buchwald, MD

Dedra Buchwald, MD, is a Professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University, where she is the Founding Director of the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health. She is also the Founding Director of Partnerships for Native Health, one of the largest research organizations in the nation devoted to the health and healthcare of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Dr. Buchwald has a clinical and research background in public health and primary care, with special emphasis on the health of Native peoples. Most of her work involves behavioral interventions that aim to reduce or eliminate population health disparities. Her scientific approach is rooted in the social determinants of health and guided by the principles of community-based participatory research. As the Principal Investigator of NCARE, she leads the Administrative Core, which supports all logistical, fiscal, and field operations. She also co-chairs the program’s Steering Committee, which monitors the progress and outcomes of NCARE’s research projects and governs all study activities. Dr. Buchwald is the Principal Investigator of Research Project 1, Native CHOICES.
Seema Clifasefi

Seema L. Clifasefi, PhD

Seema L. Clifasefi, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the University of Washington’s Harm Reduction Research and Treatment Center at Harborview Medical Center. She is also an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington’s Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors. Her research occupies the intersection of substance use, mental health, criminal justice, and housing policy, with an emphasis on populations with lived experience of homelessness, substance use, and/or involvement in the criminal justice system. Over the past decade, she has worked collaboratively with diverse communities to develop, evaluate, and disseminate programs and interventions that aim to reduce substance-related harm, improve quality of life, and create positive social change. Dr. Clifasefi serves as a Co-Investigator with Harm Reduction Talking Circles.
Susan Collins

Susan E. Collins, PhD

Susan E. Collins, PhD, Co-Leader of Harm Reduction Talking Circles, is a licensed clinical psychologist, Associate Professor, and Co-Director of the University of Washington’s Harm Reduction Research and Treatment (HaRRT) Center at Harborview Medical Center. At the HaRRT Center and NCARE, Dr. Collins works with community members and the community-based agencies that serve them to create and evaluate community-driven alcohol treatment and programming. The collective goal is to accept people with alcohol problems “where they’re at” in their communities and in their motivation to change, in order to help them leverage their own strengths to reduce alcohol-related harm and improve quality of life for themselves and their communities.
Heather Cuny

Heather Cuny, RN

Heather Cuny, RN, is a community representative for NCARE. Heather is a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member and served as a nurse for 22 years.  As an NCARE community representative she presents her own perspective as well as the perspective and experiences of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribal community, providing community input for the decision-making process of all Core teams.
Abigail Echo Hawk

Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA

Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA (Pawnee), is an enrolled citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. She is the Chief Research Officer of the Seattle Indian Health Board, a Federally Qualified Health Center. In this role, she oversees the Urban Indian Health Institute, a Tribal Epidemiology Center. She directs a staff of public health professionals who work on multiple ongoing projects in research, evaluation, and disease surveillance to benefit American Indians and Alaska Natives in urban and rural settings. As a dedicated community volunteer, Ms. Echo-Hawk concentrates on policy and institutional change to eliminate disparities for women of color, both locally and nationally. Her greatest joy 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. She strives to serve her family with love and to be a small part of ensuring a great future for the next generation.
Gary Ferguson

Gary Ferguson, ND

Dr. Gary Ferguson is an Associate Professor at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and the Director of Outreach and Engagement at the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health at Washington State University. Originally from the Shumagin Islands community of Sand Point, Alaska, he is Unangax̂ (Aleut) and an enrolled member of the Qagan Tayagunin Tribe. Formally trained as a Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Ferguson has a passion for healthy communities and a population health approach. He is the co-producer of the Store Outside Your Door – Alaska Native cultural food traditions around how to hunt, fish, gather, and grow. He also currently has several volunteer and professional organization positions, including with the Alaska Traditional Foods Community Advisory Board, Alaska Growth Capital CDFI Advisory Board, the Arctic Council Working Group/Sustainable Development Working Group/Arctic Human Health Expert Group, Alaska Association of Naturopathic Physicians (Member/Past President), American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (Member), American Indian Cancer Foundation (Board Director, Chair), State of Alaska Pain & Opioid Management ECHO (Team Member), The Aleut Corporation (Board Director, Treasurer/Past President), University of Alaska Master of Publich Health Advisory Committee, and Washington State University Center for Native American Health Sciences Indigenous Healer Cohort.
Jessica Hanson

Jessica Hanson, PhD

Jessica Hanson, PhD, is an Assistant Scientist at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota. Dr. Hanson’s research addresses the prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies with preconceptional American Indian women. As a Co-Investigator on Native-CHOICES, she provides training on motivational interviewing and the CHOICES intervention, and she works with other team members to develop project measurements and plans for recruitment and implementation. 
Kory Hardcastle

Kory Hardcastle

Kory Hardcastle, BS, is a Research Coordinator for various projects at Washington State University’s Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health. After graduating from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology, Kory served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the Child Abuse Prevention Center in North Highlands, CA. Kory moved back to Washington after completing his service term to be closer to family and to continue his education. He was recently accepted to Antioch University – Seattle to obtain a PsyD in Clinical Psychology and will be working here while attending classes. His research interests include the Theory of Mind and how caregiver attachment styles influence psychosocial development.
Martin Javors

Martin Javors, PhD

Martin Javors, PhD, has a BS in Pharmacy from the University of Texas-Austin (1967) and a PhD in Pharmacy (Pharmacology) from the University of Colorado-Boulder (1979). He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC)-San Antonio (Dept. of Pharmacology; 1979-1982). Since that time, Dr. Javors has served on UTHSC’s faculty of the Department of Psychiatry, where he is currently the Director of the Biological Psychiatry Analytical Labs. His principal research interest is biomarkers for alcohol consumption. He also collaborates on many research projects related to drug abuse and addiction, aging, and other areas of research by performing analytical biochemical measurements. For NCARE, Dr. Javors evaluates whole blood phosphatidylethanol, an ethanol metabolite, as a biomarker to estimate the amount and time frame of recent alcohol consumption.
Victor King

Victor King

Victor King, BS, is a Research Coordinator with the University of Washington’s Harm Reduction Research and Treatment Center at Harborview Medical Center. His primary research interest is harm reduction-based approaches to treatment and social services for people with substance use disorders. For Harm Reduction Talking Circles, Mr. King works on the ground to recruit, interview, and follow up with study participants. He also assists with administrative and data processing activities.
Richard MacLehose

Richard MacLehose, PhD

Richard MacLehose, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. MacLehose is a quantitative methodologist whose research focuses on developing and applying novel Bayesian statistical methods and quantitative bias analysis techniques. He has served as the principal methodologist and statistician on numerous observational and randomized control trials. He leads NCARE’s Research Methods Core and is the methodologist for Native-CHOICES.
Spero Manson

Spero M. Manson, PhD

Spero M. Manson, PhD (Pembina Chippewa), is a Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry and the Director of the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the Colorado School of Public Health on the University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus. At the same institution, he also holds the Colorado Trust Chair in American Indian Health and serves as the Associate Dean of Research. Dr. Manson’s programs include 10 national centers whose portfolio of sponsored research totals $63 million. His research activities involve program development and training in collaboration with 250 Native communities that span rural, urban, reservation, and village settings across the US. Dr. Manson is widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s leading authorities on American Indian and Alaska Native health, having published more than 230 peer-reviewed articles on physical, mental, and behavioral health in Native people of all ages. He has received numerous awards, including election to the National Academy of Medicine (2002), the Herbert W. Nickens Award of the Association of American Medical Colleges (2006), and the Excellence Award of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (2008). Dr. Manson co-leads Research Project 3, Transition to Recovery.
Michael McDonell

Michael McDonell, PhD

Dr. Michael McDonell is an Associate Professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University and the Director of Behavioral Health Innovations. He is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience developing, testing, and implementing strength-based interventions for people with addiction and mental illness in community settings. Dr. McDonell is active in public health research and behavioral interventions in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. He has partnered with Dr. Buchwald and other NCARE investigators on programs mentoring junior Native faculty. He is passionate about mentoring aspiring scientists especially those individuals from backgrounds that are under-represented in science.
Sterling McPherson

Sterling McPherson, PhD

Sterling McPherson, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Director of Biostatistics and Clinical Trial Design in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University. He is also a member of the Executive Faculty for the Program of Excellence in Addictions Research. Dr. McPherson is involved in multiple clinical research projects that range from basic human toxicology to health economics in addiction science. His primary focus is Phase II treatment development for smoking as a co-addiction with alcohol, cannabis, and illicit drug use. Dr. McPherson has been part of 20 randomized controlled trials in the last nine years and was competitively chosen to become an NIH Fellow of the Summer Institute on Behavioral Randomized Clinical Trials. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed research articles and is a grant reviewer for the NIH and five other sponsors. He serves on the editorial boards of Psychology of Addictive BehaviorsExperimental and Clinical PsychopharmacologyAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and Addiction. He is also dedicated to international research, with active collaborations in seven different countries. As part of the Research Methods Core for NCARE, Dr. McPherson provides ongoing support in design and analysis for all three Research Projects (Native-CHOICES, Harm Reduction Talking Circles, and Transition to Recovery).
Clemma Muller

Clemma Muller, PhD

Clemma Muller, PhD, MS, is an Assistant Research Professor in the College of Nursing at Washington State University. She has more than 15 years of experience as an epidemiologist and biostatistician engaged in study design, quantitative methods, and causal inference in health disparities research involving American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Her expertise includes the design and execution of analytic methods for community- and clinic-based behavioral interventions. Dr. Muller co-directs NCARE’s Methods Core and serves as the Methods Lead for Research Project 3, Transition to Recovery.
Lonnie Nelson

Lonnie Nelson, PhD

Lonnie Nelson, PhD (descendant of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Nursing and Systems Science in the College of Nursing at Washington State University. Dr. Nelson conducts research on health disparities in American Indian and Alaska Native communities and is Co-Director of Partnerships for Native Health, a component of the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health. His current research interests include the elimination of health disparities in urban and other Native populations through the application of culturally adapted evidence-based interventions and other patient-centered approaches to changing health behaviors, such as motivational interviewing and harm reduction treatment.
Callie Noomah

Callie Noomah

Callie Noomah is the Field Study Coordinator for Research Project 3, Transition to Recovery.  Ms. Noomah has more than 10 years’ experience working and volunteering in homeless and addiction services. She has served as a Residential Counselor in a 50-unit permanent supportive housing facility for people with dual diagnosis moving out of homelessness, and she also managed a 131-unit apartment community with a similar population. She is currently earning her Master’s in Counseling and is interested in the intersections of and cyclical relationships between structural oppression, mental health, addiction, and housing.
Carolyn Noonan

Carolyn Noonan, MS

Carolyn Noonan is a Biostatistician and serves on the Methods Core at IREACH. Carloyn holds an MS in Biostatistics from the University of Washington. She has over 20 years of experience with study design, data collection, and data analysis. Much of that experience has been used to investigate health disparities in American Indian and Alaska Native populations. She is well-versed in the methodological considerations involved in successful research on health disparities with underrepresented minority populations. As a member of the Research Methods Core, Ms. Noonan provides statistical support for investigators and study staff.
Marcia O'Leary

Marcia O’Leary, RN

Marcia O’Leary, RN, has been the manager of Missouri Breaks Industries Research, Inc. (MBIRI) since its establishment in 1995. MBIRI is an American Indian (AI)-owned small business on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota that conducts community-based research focusing on AI health. Ms. O’Leary’s extensive research experience includes acting as the Dakota Field Site Coordinator for the Strong Heart Study, the largest epidemiological study of AIs, from Phase II through Phase VI (the current phase). For NCARE, Ms. O’Leary serves as the Field Site Project Manager for Research Project 1, Native CHOICES. She hires and helps train intervention staff, oversees the development of recruitment strategies, refines and implements protocols and procedures, manages the site’s budget, and oversees the dissemination of information.
Kyra Oziel

Kyra Oziel

Kyra Oziel is a Research Coordinator with Native CHOICES. The primary P4NH projects she works on are Native Center for Alcohol Research and Education (NCARE) Research Project 1 (Native CHOICES) and the Strong Heart Stroke Study. Kyra graduated from Western Washington University with a BS in Behavioral Neuroscience and a minor in Art. In her free time, she enjoys doing aerial yoga, exploring new places, trying new food, and visiting with family and friends.
Ashley Railey

Ashley Railey, PhD

Ashley Railey, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in health economics for the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) at Washington State University. Her research areas include health economics, development economics, and behavioral economics, with a focus in rural and indigenous populations. As part of the Methods Core for Native-CHART and NCARE, she engages in study design, quantitative analyses based in economic theory, and econometric modeling of costs and health outcomes.
Robert Rosenman

Robby Rosenman, PhD

Robby Rosenman, PhD, is a Professor of Economics at Washington State University. Although his primary research area is health economics, during his 35 years at the university he has also worked in such diverse subspecialties as financial, environmental, and educational economics; econometric modeling; and industrial organization. Dr. Rosenman’s research approach is to formulate a comprehensive empirical analysis based on formal economic models grounded in rigorous theory. For NCARE he leads the economic analysis for all three Research Projects (Native-CHOICES, Harm Reduction Talking Circles, and Transition to Recovery).
Michelle Sarche

Michelle Sarche, PhD

Michelle Sarche, PhD (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe), is an Associate Professor in the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado School of Public Health. Dr. Sarche has been working with tribal communities for more than 20 years to conduct research on parenting and children’s early development. She also works closely with tribal Head Start; Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting; and Child Care Development Fund grantees to increase research and evaluation efforts with the tribal children, families, and communities served by those programs. Building on her research to prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies in tribal communities, Dr. Sarche works with Native-CHOICES to conduct the first randomized controlled trial of the CHOICES intervention with American Indian women.
Charlie Sawyer

Charles Sawyer

Charlie Sawyer is a Research Assistant at Partnerships for Native Health and is currently assisting with the NW HERON, Strong Heart Stroke Study II (SHSSII), and NCARE. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 with a degree in biology and hopes to attend medical school. Prior to working at IREACH, he worked as a medical assistant at an allergy, asthma, and immunology clinic in San Francisco. In his free time he enjoys hiking, playing soccer, and photography.
Trevor Slaney

Trevor Slaney

Trevor Slaney is a Research Coordinator with Partnerships for Native Health. He was born and raised in Seabeck, Washington, a small community along the Hood Canal on the Kitsap Peninsula. Trevor is an enrolled member of the Nimiipuu people, also known as the Nez Perce tribe. He moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. Trevor’s research interests include traumatic brain injury, sensation and perception, and the neuropsychological effects of substance abuse. He currently work on numerous studies, but is most involved with Rhythm and Timing Exercises for Cerebrovascular Disease in American Indians. This is a randomized clinical trial that examines whether computer-based metronome therapy can improve the cognition of American Indian elders.
Emily Taylor

Emily Taylor

Emily Taylor, BS, is a Research Coordinator for the Harm Reduction and Treatment Center at the University of Washington. She provides administrative support for project activities related to Harm Reduction Talking Circles at the University of Washington. Her primary research interests involve community-based participatory methods for harm reduction in marginalized communities.
Jodi Trojan

Jodi Trojan, MCJ

Jodi Trojan, MCJ, is a founding member and lead consultant for SideTracks, LLC, a consulting and evaluation firm that has held contracts with several large tribal behavioral health organizations in Alaska since 1999. Ms. Trojan’s specialty is setting up data systems and processes that enable real-time monitoring of adherence to protocols, progress, and impact, and incorporate feedback from the patients served. For NCARE, she serves as a consultant for Transition to Recovery in collaboration with the Fairbanks Native Association and the University of Colorado. A key part of her consulting role is to establish a process for compiling and extracting project data.
Sonia Vent

Sonia Vent

Sonia Vent is Koyukon Athabascan from interior Alaska.  She is a physician assistant.  She is also a Healing Touch therapist-in-training.  She currently works with nonprofit organizations Sobermiut and Awakening Spiritual Unity promoting the well-being of Alaska Native people.  She has been involved in Gathering of Alaska Natives (GOAN) training since 2012 and continues to promote the GOAN curriculum within Alaska, particularly among the Alaska Native villages.  She has a strong interest in sustaining the Alaska Native subsistence way of life and the many ways of staying well by food hunting, gathering, and growing.  It is also important to her to sustain the Koyukon Athabascan language and the Koyukon Athabascan ancient ways of healing. Sonia was born and raised in the village of Huslia and currently resides in Anchorage.  She has one living son and two grandchildren, ages 10 and 2.
Patricia Valverde

Patricia Valverde, PhD, MPH

Patricia Valverde, PhD, MPH, is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. She is also the Director of the Patient Navigator Training Collaborative, which trains patient navigators, care coordinators, and community health workers across the country. Her research concentrates on the use of patient navigators and community health workers in cancer prevention and control. Dr. Valverde is also a tobacco cessation specialist who conducts tobacco research at the Veterans Health Administration.