Skip to main content Skip to navigation
NW HERON Northwest Health Education & Research Outcomes Network


Patrik Johansson, M.D., M.P.H., Director of NW HERON is an Associate Professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University. With NW HERON, he uses his expertise in conducting community-based participatory research and teaching partnerships among academic institutions, primary care clinics and local health departments in rural settings. His research focuses on chronic disease prevention and management in rural and Indigenous populations. Dr. Johansson’s work includes the development of rural interprofessional education models for health profession students rooted in community-oriented primary, geographic, racial, and ethnic disparities in health, and public health curriculums for students enrolled in rural pipeline programs. He is currently conducting a pilot study in partnership with a primary care clinic affiliated with a critical access hospital and a local health department to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors through the deployment of an RN/community health worker team using mobile health technology.

Dedra Buchwald, M.D., Scientific Co-Director of NW HERON is a Professor and Director of the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University. In her role with NW HERON, she applies her broad background in public health, community-based research, and culturally competent primary care. Her work considers health at the levels of the individual, the community, and the health system. For over 30 years, she has been dedicated to bettering the health and health care of underserved populations, including refugees, immigrants, and racial, ethnic, and cultural minorities. Dr. Buchwald leads Partnerships for Native Health, which is one of the nation’s largest research programs on American Indian and Alaska Native health. Dr. Buchwald also founded and directs the Native Investigator Training Program, which is a premier career training program for Native junior faculty. A recipient of more than 72 federally funded grants, Dr. Buchwald’s research is primarily focused on designing community-based interventions that target health disparities and the social determinants of health.

Justin Denney, Ph.D., Scientific Co-Director of NW HERON is the William Julius Wilson Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Washington State University. His role with NW HERON is influenced by his broad social science research agenda. Dr. Denney’s current projects are focused on better understanding how the social and physical characteristics of the places children and adults live, work, and play impact outcomes such as household food insecurity, child health, and adult mortality; how family formations and socioeconomic resources matter independently and in combination with place-based characteristics for overall health; and how intimate relationships, socioeconomic status, gender, and race/ethnicity contribute to sexual minority health disparities. His work often involves multi-disciplinary collaborations and has been supported by the Health Disparities Scholar Program at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, the Foundation for Child Development, and the Houston Endowment.

Anthippy Petras, M.S.W., Project Manager NW HERON is a clinical faculty in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University. She has designed, implemented, and supervised multi-disciplinary and multi-site research studies among universities, health clinics, and social service agencies over many years. Her research has focused on underserved populations in the field of early childhood development, early education, family support systems, and community-based interventions with a focus on American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Her roles with NW HERON include coordinating and implementing programs and surveying clinic partners. She leads the supervision of students in their scholarly projects and internships. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in History and Women’s Studies from Grinnell College.

Cole Allick, M.H.A., Outreach Coordinator and Tribal Liaison NW HERON (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians) is a data-focused and community-driven strategic planner with a passion for reducing health disparities via collaboration and capacity building. His roles with NW HERON include leading outreach efforts with primary care practices serving American Indian and Alaskan Native populations and rural primary care practices. He received a Master’s of Health Administration degree from the University of Washington and has worked as a health care consult at Health Facilities Planning and Development (HFPD). While at HFPD, he developed expertise in data, strategic planning, regulatory/policy support, community health needs assessments, and business planning. During his time at HFPD, he collaborated with rural and tribal communities across Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.

Organizational Chart