Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Staff

Amanda Boyd

Amanda Boyd, PhD (Dane-zaa, Metis), is an Assistant Professor in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication 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, is a Professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University, where she directs the Initiative 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 L. Clifasefi

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 E. Collins

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.

Wade Copeland

Wade Copeland, MS, is a biostatistician for the Initiative for Research and Education to Advance Community Health at Washington State University. His principal research interest is high-dimensional data analysis. He is also well-versed in the theory and application of statistical methods, such as ordinary least squares regression, linear mixed-effects models, generalized estimating equations, nonlinear models (using the generalized linear or generalized additive effects models), multivariate models, nonparametric methods (exact tests, permutation, and estimating sampling distributions), computer-intensive methods, and supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods (clustering, regularization, and kernel machine regression). As a member of the Research Methods Core, Mr. Copeland provides statistical support for investigators and study staff.

Heather Cuny

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.

Dennis Donovan

Dennis Donovan, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington. His research focuses on alcohol and drug use and misuse; behavioral and pharmacological treatments; cultural adaptation, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based practices; and clinical trials methodology. He serves as the Co-Leader of NCARE’s Information Dissemination Core, is a member of the Pilot Project Core, and oversees NCARE’s Publications and Presentations Committee.

Abigail Echo-Hawk

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.

Marie Gross

Marie Gross is a registered nurse and the South Dakota Field Coordinator for Research Project 1, Native CHOICES.  She is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Oyate and is currently in the second year of her MPH degree from the University of South Dakota.  She has worked in research since 2001 and has an extensive background in study oversight.  Ms. Gross is focused on helping to improve Native American health.  She lives on the Cheyenne River Reservation with her husband and four children.

Jessica Hanson

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. 

Martin Javors

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, 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, 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 M. Manson

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

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, 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, 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 (descendant of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Professor 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 Initiative 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 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.

Marcia O’Leary

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.

Richard Ries

Richard Ries, MD, FAPA, FASM, is a Co-Investigator for NCARE who helps to develop and train research fellows. He is the Director of the Addictions Division in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington, senior editor of the key reference text ASAM’s Principles of Addiction Medicine (fourth and fifth editions), and Principal or Co-Investigator on recent NIH grants relevant to NCARE. Over the last eight years, Dr. Ries has been actively involved with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. He conducts monthly training, case conferences, and treatment development onsite at the Muckleshoot Reservation, helping the tribe adopt integrated, evidence-based behavioral and medication-assisted treatments for alcohol and drug use disorders. Dr. Ries helped to create and continues to lead the annual Washington State Tribal Opioid Symposium, which is based at the Muckleshoot Reservation and now in its eighth year. He is also an avid outdoorsman who fishes regularly around the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Ashley Railey

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.

Robby Rosenman

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).

Gladys Rowe

Gladys Rowe, MSW (Muskego Inniniw, Swampy Cree), is a Research Coordinator for the Initiative for Research and Education to Advance Community Health at Washington State University. She is pursuing her PhD at the University of Manitoba, where her primary research interests are Indigenous methodologies, arts-based inquiry, maternal and child health, and community-driven research. For NCARE, Ms. Rowe supports the coordination of Native-CHOICES. She also provides day-to-day operational and logistical support to the four Cores and the NCARE Principal Investigator and monitors the progress of all study activities. 

Michelle Sarche

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.

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, 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, 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 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, 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.

Riley Witte

Riley Witte, BA, BS, is a Patient Navigator at Fairbanks Native Association’s Gateway to Recovery facility in Fairbanks, Alaska. She was a Fulbright scholar in Siberia’s Tyvan Republic and has worked as a firefighter and clinical lab technician in Fairbanks, her hometown. Ms. Witte is currently in the second year of her MPH with University of Alaska Anchorage.