Oregon State University
Alexis is an Aleut tribal member and a current fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Human Development and Family Studies program at Oregon State University. Alexis grew up in Washington State and earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at Seattle Pacific University in 2013. Alexis then spent several years as an education advocate, social worker, and youth program manager supporting Native children and families in the Seattle area before returning to graduate school in Oregon. For fun, Alexis enjoys hiking, road trips, trying out new recipes, and competing with her trivia team, the Quizzly Bears.
Alexis' research centers on how early childhood executive function skills (EF) influence school readiness and other future health outcomes, specifically for children from underserved communities. Alexis is also interested in how adverse built and social environments (including aspects of neighborhood poverty, exposure to environmental toxins, and experiences of social isolation and discrimination) may influence EF in early childhood. Importantly, her work explores the protective influence of community and cultural resilience factors on EF in the presence of these adverse environments. Alexis hopes to uplift Native communities with her work by using her research to demonstrate how indigenous cultural practices and strong indigenous or tribal identity can predict healthy development in childhood and beyond. In addition, she hopes to use her research to help communities define and measure typical constructs of healthy development (e.g., self-regulation or executive function skills) in ways that are culturally meaningful and relevant to them.
McClelland, M.M., Gonzales, C.R., Cameron, C.E., Geldhof, G.J., Bowles, R.P, Nancarrow, A.F., Merculief, A., & Tracy, A. (2021). The head-toes-knees-shoulders revised: Links to academic outcomes and measures of EF in young children. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1-14.
Gonzales, C., Merculief, A., McClelland, M.M., & Ghetti, S. (in press). The development of uncertainty monitoring during kindergarten: Change, and longitudinal relations with executive function and vocabulary in children from low‐income backgrounds. Child Development.
Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
Dr. Cary Waubanascum is a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Wakeny^ta (Turtle Clan), with ancestral roots in the Menominee, Forest County Potawatomi, and Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Nations of Wisconsin. She is an Assistant Professor in the Social Work Professional Programs at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. In July 2021, she earned a doctorate from the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Mni Sota Makoce. Cary is an Aknulha (Mother/Aunty) to her son, daughter, and many nephews. Along with her husband, Lance, Cary and her family enjoy playing board games, going to the movies, and going on new adventures.
Cary’s research broadly focuses on decolonization in social work and reclaiming Indigenous lifeways. Her dissertation, titled “This is how we show up for our relatives: Understanding how Indigenous relative caregivers embody traditional kinship to resist the colonial child welfare system,” uncovered specific forms of ongoing colonialism perpetuated by the modern child welfare system. It also highlights the knowledge of Indigenous relative caregivers who are living and passing on their kinship knowledge and practices to resist child welfare systems and protect Indigenous children from ongoing colonialism and removal. Cary’s research is grounded in Indigenous research methodologies, knowledge, and practice, which aims to reclaim and strengthen Indigenous kinship for healing, prevention, and healthy Indigenous futures. Her work has implications for decolonization for Tribes, child welfare, and social work practice, policy, and education.
Waubanascum, C. (2021). This is how we show up for our relatives”: Understanding how Indigenous relative caregivers embody traditional kinship to resist the colonial child welfare system. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
Waubanascum, C., Haight, W., Glesener, D., Day, P., Bussey, B., & Nichols, K. (2021). The Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies: Students’ experiences of an Anishinaabe-centered social work education program [Manuscript submitted for publication]. School of Social Work, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
Johnston-Goodstar, K., Waubanascum, C., & Eubanks, D. (In press). Human Services for Indigenous Futures. In Bauerkemper, J. & Webster, R. (Eds.), Tribal Administration Handbook.
Haight, W., Waubanascum, C., Glesener, D., Day, P., Bussey, B., & Nichols, K. (2020). The Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies: Systems change through a relational Anishinaabe worldview. Children and Youth Services Review, 119, 105601.
Haight, W., Waubanascum, C., Glesener, D., Day, P., Bussey, B., & Nichols, K. (2019). The Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies: Reducing disparities through Indigenous social work education. Children and Youth Services Review, 100, 156-166.
Haight, W., Waubanascum, C., Glesener, D., & Marsalis, S. (2018). A scoping study of Indigenous child welfare: The long emergency and preparations for the next seven generations. Children and Youth Services Review, 93, 397-410.
PhD Student, University of Michigan
Lauren White is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and she grew up playing outside and gardening with her family on the post-removal lands of the Choctaw Nation in Southeastern Oklahoma. As a young adult, Lauren moved to Seattle where she met her husband, Travis, and spent almost 10 years working in research administration and earning an MPH in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. Currently, she lives with her husband and two dogs in Ypsilanti, Michigan, as she completes her PhD in Social Work and Social Psychology at the University of Michigan.
Lauren's research focuses on strengths-based interventions, especially those centering self-determination for Native people through the development and implementation of interventions for anxiety, depression, and suicide prevention. Her current work is focused on interventions that expand upon clinical approaches through culturally responsive and community-led upstream interventions for adolescent suicide prevention. Lauren uses Mixed Methods in her research and is excited about combining qualitative, quantitative, and Indigenous theories of rigor in her research partnerships with Native tribes and organizations. Her career goal is to serve in a position teaching and mentoring Native students and conducting research that partners with rural and Indigenous communities to spark institutional changes in the way we tackle mental health.
Kuhn, N., Sarkar, S., White, L. A., Hoy, J., McCray, C., & Lefthand-Begay, C. (2020). Decolonizing risk communication: Indigenous responses to COVID-19 using social media. Journal of Indigenous Social Development, 9(3), 193-213.
Kapos, F. P., White, L. A., Schmidt, K. A., Hawes, S. E., & Starr, J. R. (2020). Risk of non-syndromic orofacial clefts by maternal rural-urban residence and race/ethnicity: A population-based case-control study in Washington State 1989-2014. Paediatric and
Perinatal Epidemiology, 35(3), 292-301.
Rogers, L. O., Kiang, L., White, L. A., Calzada, E. J., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., Byrd, C., ... & Whitesell, N. (2020). Persistent concerns: Questions for research on ethnic-racial identity development. Research in Human Development, 17(2-3), 130-153.
Williams, C. D., Byrd, C. M., Quintana, S. M., Anicama, C., Kiang, L., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., Calzada, E.J., Gautier, M. P. Ejsi, K., Tuitt, N. R., Martinez-Fuentes, S., White, L. A., Marks, A., Rogers, L. O., & Whitesell, N., (2020). A lifespan model of ethnic-racial identity. Research in Human Development, 17(2-3), 99-129.Trout, L., McEachern, D., Mullany, A., White, L. A., & Wexler, L. (2018). Decoloniality as a framework for Indigenous youth suicide prevention pedagogy: Promoting community conversations about research to end suicide. American Journal of Community Psychology, 62(3-4), 396-405.
PhD Student, University of Alaska Anchorage
Rebecca Ipiaqruk Young is Kawerak Iñupiaq (tribal member of Unalakleet) and second-generation Cuban-American who was adopted into the Galyáx Kaagwaantaan (Eagle Beaver Wolf) clan of Yakutat, Alaska. She lives and learns on the ancestral land of the Dena'ina People, currently known as Anchorage, Alaska. She earned her master's degree in counseling psychology from Alaska Pacific University and is currently a third-year doctoral student in the clinical-community psychology (with an Indigenous and rural emphasis) program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. With the help of her ancestors, Rebecca is a protector of cultural sovereignty through decolonization and believes decolonization can awaken healing traditions and restore balance for the interest of all beings, seen and unseen. Rebecca enjoys connecting with Elders, gardening from seed, picking berries, and preparing salmon for smoking and canning.
Rebecca has been in serviceship for the Alaska Native (AN) Community Advancement into Psychology program for the past two years and was an Alaska Area Health Education Centers scholar. Rebecca is currently a research assistant on a Sustainable Development Working Group project for the Arctic Council, collaborating with Tribal communities in Southwest Alaska to understand perspectives on the local responses to regional, state, and federal COVID-19 related policies. She recently completed a study that explored the potential moderating effect of AN spirituality and cultural connectedness on the relationship between historical loss and well-being. The hierarchical linear regression analyses suggested that high cultural connectedness significantly moderated the relationship between thoughts about historical loss and psychological, occupational, and economic wellbeing. Rebecca hopes to join Elders and communities to further explore cultural connectedness in terms of behavioral interventions that have the potential to mitigate social consequences of historical loss and improve the quality of life for AN children, families, and tribes. As a clinician, Rebecca has been a licensed professional counselor for ten years and is also a certified brain injury specialist. She is currently pursuing further education and training in neurocognitive assessment and rehabilitative care related to acquired traumatic brain injury.
Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Emma Elliott-Groves is an enrolled member of the Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She grew up in Deerholme and Quamichan and is grateful for her ancestral territories, cultural and ceremonial practices, and community for showing her what it means to be a xwulmuxw mustímuxw (First Nations) person. She values spending time with her husband and two young children. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She holds both a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and a Master of Social Work in Children, Youth, and Families.
A large part of her research centers on understanding the meanings and explanations of suicidal behavior from the perspective of Indigenous peoples. By employing a strengths-based approach to recovery, Emma rigorously engages youth, families, and communities in the development of integrated behavioral health interventions to address complex social issues including those that are relevant to youth substance use prevention. Her research centers ethical frameworks generated by Indigenous and land-based knowledges and practices to create process-centered approaches that illuminate Indigenous pathways toward collective livelihood. Emma is currently partnering with members of the Cowichan Tribes in a research study aimed at identifying the physical, mental, intellectual, and cultural health of the community by engaging Indigenous ways of knowing. The interdisciplinary intersections of her research include contemporary Indigenous issues; culture, learning, and human development; and trauma, prevention, and recovery.
Elliott-Groves, E., Hardison-Stevens, D., & Ullrich, J. (accepted). Indigenous Relationality is the Heartbeat of Indigenous Existence during COVID-19. [Special issue]. Journal of Indigenous Social Development. (Eds. Mataira, P, Araullo Tanemura
Morelli, P., & Spencer, M.).
Henne–Ochoa, R., Elliott–Groves, E., Meek, B. A., & Rogoff, B. (2020). Pathways forward for Indigenous language reclamation: Engaging Indigenous epistemology and learning by observing and pitching in to family and community endeavors. The Modern Language Journal, 104(2), 481-493.
Elliott-Groves, E. (2019). A culturally-grounded biopsychosocial assessment utilizing Indigenous ways of knowing with the Cowichan Tribes. [Special issue]. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, Advances in Social Work Practice with Multicultural Communities, 17(4), 115-133.
Elliott-Groves, E. (2018). Insights from Cowichan: A hybrid approach to understanding suicide in one First Nations’ Collective. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 48(3), 328-339.
Elliott-Groves, E., & Fryberg, S. (2017). “A future denied” for 21st century Indigenous youth: Reclaiming the future. [Handbook Chapter]. Handbook of Indigenous Education. (Eds. McKinley, E. & Smith, L.T.). Springer, Singapore.
Postdoctoral Scholar, Northern Arizona University
Amanda Hunter is a citizen of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. Amanda recently moved to Flagstaff, Arizona and enjoys spending time exploring outdoors with her family. She loves to hike, camp, read fiction novels, and has recently picked up a love for disc golf. In 2020, she graduated with a PhD from the Health Promotion Sciences Department at the University of Arizona’s Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Amanda also earned her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Arizona. Amanda is currently a postdoctoral scholar with Northern Arizona University’s Center for Health Equity Research. She is working under the supervision of Dr. Julie Baldwin and also working towards a graduate certificate in Translational Research in Adolescent Behavioral Health.
Amanda’s research focuses on the impact of cultural engagement and cultural identity on mental and behavioral health outcomes in Indigenous youth. Her dissertation research involved developing, implementing, and evaluating a culturally-grounded after school program on an urban-based reservation. Amanda is interested in continuing to develop culturally-grounded after school programs for Indigenous youth and is currently seeking funding to work with more communities in Arizona. Her goal is to learn about how increasing cultural engagement can positively impact Indigenous communities while helping youth avoid risky behaviors, including substance use. Amanda is also excited about creating positive and mutually beneficial partnerships between tribal communities and academic settings.
Hunter, A. M., & Tippeconic-Fox, M. J. (2020). Strengthening the link between education policy, culturally responsive schooling, and American Indian and Alaska Native Health. Journal of Indigenous Early Childhood Education, 1(1), 15-28.
PhD Candidate, Oklahoma State University
Susanna (“Susie”) Lopez grew up in Amarillo, TX and is currently a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at Oklahoma State University. This year, Susie is applying for predoctoral internship positions where she hopes
to gain clinical experiences in addictions treatment and behavioral medicine, and aims to serve American Indian and other diverse and underserved populations. Her long-term career goal is to become an independent clinical health psychologist at an
academic health and research institution. In her spare time, Susie enjoys yoga, crocheting, and playing her violin.
Susie’s research centers on psychosocial factors related to alcohol use among college students, risk factors for alcohol use and subsequent risky sexual behavior, and responses to alcohol-related health messaging and brief interventions such as personalized feedback interventions (PFIs). She aims to understand college student drinking patterns through a social normative lens, as high-risk drinking during this age is so often a social activity. Her dissertation examines social norms as a factor of drinking among American Indian college students, and analyzes strength of ethnic identity as a protective factor against drinking. This study is her first in a program of research aiming to develop a web-based PFI for American Indian college students in a way that is feasible, acceptable, and culturally sensitive.
Lopez, S.V., & Leffingwell, T. R. (2020). The role of unrealistic optimism in college student risky sexual behavior. American Journal of Sexuality Education, 15(2), 201-217.
Lopez, S. V., Leffingwell, T. R., Brett, E. I., & Leavens, E. L. (2019). Temporal estimations and subjective evaluations of alcohol consequences. American Journal of Health Behavior, 43(5), 1006-1015.
Cole, A. B., Leavens, E. L. S., Brett, E. I., Lopez, S. V., Pipestem, K. P., Tucker, R. P., O’Keefe, V. M., Leffingwell, T. R., & Wingate, L. R. (2019). Alcohol use and the interpersonal theory of suicide in American Indian young adults. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 19(4), 537-552.
Brett, E. I., Espeleta, H. C., Lopez, S. V., Leavens, E. L. S., & Leffingwell, T. R. (2018). Mindfulness as a mediator of association between alcohol consequences and adverse childhood experiences. Addictive Behaviors, 84, 92-98.
Assistant Professor, Hawai’i Pacific University
Tammy Martin is a Native Hawaiian community researcher who was born and raised on the island of Oʻahu. As an Indigenous health scientist, she has embraced her kuleana (responsibility) bestowed upon her by her kupuna (elder) and ʻohana (family) to serve
and uplift Native Hawaiian children and families. She earned a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is currently a full-time Assistant Professor at Hawaiʻi Pacific University. Her doctoral research focused on developing
a conceptual framework for the pathways to post-traumatic growth (positive psychological change through overcoming adversity) and healing of formerly incarcerated Native Hawaiian women. She enjoys spending time with family and learning about Hawaiian
sacred sites and cultural practices. As a vocalist, hula dancer, and actress, she has travelled to China, Japan, Germany, Tahiti, Aotearoa (New Zealand), and throughout the Hawaiian islands.
Tammy’s research interests are focused on understanding substance use disorders, trauma, and treatment-seeking behavior among Native Hawaiian children and families. She is committed to interrupting the intergenerational cycle of trauma and abuse associated with substance use disorders within Native Hawaiian communities. Her research aims to closely examine the cultural and community barriers and facilitators to treatment seeking among those engaged in crystal-methamphetamine and opioid use. Through her research endeavors, she intends to develop community-informed and culturally-based substance use interventions that infuse indigenous cultural practices into substance use treatment. Tammy’s long term career goal is to improve the lives of Native Hawaiian children and their families by promoting healing, increasing social-emotional well-being, and strengthening overall family functioning.
Martin, T. (2019). Ho'ala hou o nā wahine Maoli: Reawakening of Native Hawaiian women exploring the pathways to posttraumatic growth and healing of formerly incarcerated Native Hawaiian female trauma survivors (Doctoral Dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global Database. (UMI No. 13884126).
Martin, T. & Godinet, M. (2018). Using the lōkahi wheel: A culturally sensitive approach to engage Native Hawaiians in child welfare services. Journal of Indigenous Social Development, 7(2), 22-40.
Martin, T., Paglinawan, L., & Paglinawan, R. (2014). Pathways to Healing the Native Hawaiian Spirit through Culturally Competent Practice in M.T. Godinet & H.F.O. Vakalahi (Eds.), Pacific People and Transnational Pacific Islander Americans and Social Work: Dancing to the beat of a different drum, (pp. 55-90). Washington, DC: NASW Press.
Duponte, K., Martin, T., Mokuau, N., & Paglinawan, L. (2010). ‘Ike Hawai‘i – A training program for working with Native Hawaiians. Journal of Indigenous Voices in Social Work, 1(1), 1-24.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Hawai‘i Pacific University
Momilani is of Native Hawaiian descent and lives on Hawai‘i Island. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, reading, gardening, and bee keeping. Her family lives in the rural community of Papaikou, homesteading on property which has been in her family for seven generations. Her favorite place in the world is at the family's waterfall, Awaloa. She received her Masters in Social Work from San José State University with a specialization in school social work. She received her PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa where her research focused on human trafficking and social policy. Her clinical experience has encompassed numerous community-level and population-level public health issues, including substance abuse, domestic violence, sex trafficking, and school-based behavioral disorders.
As a researcher, Momilani is currently interested in the potential of community based charter schools to improve the academic achievement and social-emotional well-being of Native students through place-based, culturally-grounded education. She is focused on understanding the social and behavioral determinants of health, especially family factors contributing to substance use among rural Native Hawaiian youth. Her current research project builds upon a culturally-grounded, school-based prevention intervention, Ho‘ouna Pono, and seeks to adapt it for family- and community based agencies. Her academic training and research experience have solidified her commitment to pursue research that empowers Hawai‘i’s underserved indigenous population and to address pervasive health inequities that continue to affect Hawai‘i’s Native communities.
Guo, J., Marshall, S., Glasser, J.L., & Spillers, J. (2015). Learning global social conditions: A broader view for social work students. Social Work Education, 35(1), 3- 17.
Doctoral Student, University of Montana
Helen Russette is a member to the Chippewa-Cree Tribe and was born and raised on Rocky Boy’s Reservation. Currently, she completed her third year as a doctoral student in Public Health and is an adjunct instructor in the Native American Studies department at the University of Montana. She is grateful to serve Indian Country and plans to continue to serve Indian Country for all of her academic and professional career. Her career goal is to become a research investigator and continue to teach on population-level health outcomes.
Her general research interest centers on applying a health equity lens when conducting research to better identify sub-groups that experience worse or compounded health outcomes. This approach enables tailored interventions that directly benefit a community, especially for Native Americans, whom have been historically absent in research studies. Current research efforts involve identifying and measuring culturally-sensitive and community-relevant tailored interventions for opioid and other drug misuse among pregnant women that reside on a federal Indian reservation. With support and guidance from Professor Erin Semmens, the Principal Investigator for their current research project, she is actively working with Early Childhood Services and Community Advisory Team members from one Montana federal Indian reservation to identify and measure culturally-sensitive and community-relevant interventions among Native Americans with children, ages 0 to 3 that were prenatally exposed to opioids, methamphetamine, or other drugs. Her dissertation proposal focuses on family-infant engagement and greenspace exposure as main effects on behavioral dysfunction that is often associated with in utero drug exposure among children. This year, she is also measuring greenspace exposure and poverty as main effects to COVID-19 mortalities across the United States.
Russette, H.C., Harris, K.J., Schuldberg, D., & Green, L. (2014). Policy Compliance of Smokers on a Tobacco-Free University Campus. Journal of American College Health, 62(2), 110-116.
Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Alaska Anchorage
Jessica Saniguq Ullrich is an Inupiaq tribal member of Nome Eskimo Community, a descendent of Wales, Alaska and a proud mother to two children. Her social work background has primarily been within the field of child welfare. Jessica graduated from the University of Washington with a doctorate degree in Social Welfare and accepted an Assistant Professor faculty position at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Jessica loves to walk through the forests, be near the ocean and pick berries in the fall time.
Through community partnership, Jessica’s dissertation focused on building a conceptual framework of Alaska Native child wellbeing using Indigenous storytelling methods. Alaska Native foster care alumni, relatives and foster parent knowledge bearers were interviewed. Jessica hopes to continue to learn about Alaska Native child wellbeing from more key community members such as parents and Elders. The hope is for this shared Indigenous knowledge to improve social outcomes for children and to provide a theoretical foundation for substance use and mental health prevention programs. Children need to know who they are and where they come from, and this is something that is taught through cultural and spiritual ways of Indigenous connectedness.
Ullrich, J. S. (2019). For the love of our children: an Indigenous connectedness framework. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 15(2), 121-130.
Ullrich, J. S. (2020). Indigenous Connectedness as a Framework for Relational Healing within Alaska Native Child Welfare (Doctoral dissertation).
Associate Investigator, Laureate Institute for Brain Research
Evan is a member of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and belongs to the White Oak ceremonial ground and Turtle Clan. He grew up in Tulsa, OK and completed his graduate training in Oklahoma State University’s Clinical Psychology program under the mentorship of DeMond Grant, PhD. He is married to his lovely wife Natalie (6+ years) and welcomed his first child Benjamin into the world in June 2020. He is currently an associate investigator at Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He loves spending time outdoors and hanging out with friends and family.
Evan's research program broadly aims to understand risk and protective factors for psychopathology with a particular focus on using psychophysiological techniques (i.e., event-related potentials) to test cognitive theories. His previous work has demonstrated how various executive functions (e.g., cognitive control, error monitoring) are related to symptoms of anxiety. Recently, he has extended his line of work to understand protective factors against mental health problems among American Indian populations. This line of work is aimed at understanding how cultural characteristics (1) play a protective role against poor mental health (e.g., substance abuse, suicide) and (2) influence the developmental trajectory of resilience among adolescents. He plans to leverage advances in neuroscience to accomplish these aims and a long-term goal of developing cultural-neuroscience informed prevention and intervention efforts. One current project he is working on is examining neural correlates of resilience among American Indian populations and on the developmental trajectory of resilience against poor mental health (e.g., substance abuse, suicide) among adolescents.
White, E.J., & Grant, D.M. (2017). Electrocortical consequences of image processing: The influence of working memory and worry. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 261, 1-8.
White, E.J., Kraines, M., Tucker, R.P., Wingate, L.R., Wells. T.T., Grant, D.M. (2017). The effect of rumination, grit, and gratitude on suicidal ideation: A path analysis study. Psychiatry Research, 251, 97-102.
White, E.J., Grant, DM., Taylor, D.L., Frosio, K.E., Judah, M.R., & Mills, A.C. (2018) Examination of evaluative threat in worry: Insights from the Error-Related Negativity (ERN). Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 282, 40-46.
White, E.J., Grant, D.M., Taylor, D.L., Kraft, J.D., & Frosio, K.E (in press). The influence of state worry on covert selective attention and suppression of threating distractors: An ERP study. Psychology & Neuroscience.