Native American Faculty Spotlights

Stephanie Russo Carroll, PhD, MPH

Dr. Stephanie Russo Carroll is of Sicilian descent and is a member of the Ahtna tribe and is a citizen of the Native Village of Kluti-Kaah in Alaska. She is an assistant professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, assistant research professor at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, associate director of the Native Nations Institute, assistant professor in the American Indian Studies Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, and co-director of the Center for Indigenous Environmental Health Research.

Dr. Carroll's research explores the links between Indigenous governance, data, the environment and community wellness. Her interdisciplinary lab group, the Collaboratory for Indigenous Data Governance , develops research, policy and practice innovations for Indigenous data sovereignty. Indigenous data sovereignty draws on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that reaffirms the rights of Indigenous nations to control data about their peoples, lands and resources. The laboratory's research, teaching and engagement seek to transform institutional governance and ethics for Indigenous control of Indigenous data, particularly within open science, open data and big data contexts.

Dr. Carroll co-edited the recently released book Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Policy and led the publication of the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance, which provide critical considerations for non-tribal entities that steward and use Indigenous peoples' data. She is a strong advocate for the creation of institutional research and data practices at tribes, funding entities and universities that infuse Indigenous rights and interests across law and policy spheres. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Carroll has been pivoting her projects to meet the needs of tribes to access and use their COVID-related data for planning, mitigation and evaluation. She has led an effort to provide Guidelines for Data Sharing Respecting Indigenous Data Sovereignty for funders, researchers and policymakers and responded to tribal data needs. With Dr. Jani Ingram (Diné) from Northern Arizona University, she leads the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-funded project "Investigating linkages between arsenic exposure, diabetes, and COVID-19 infections and risks on the Navajo Nation," a collaboration with tribal, community and university partners to provide data for decision-making. She firmly believes that operationalizing Indigenous peoples' rights in research and data environments promotes trust, transparency and integrity, which will lead to higher quality, more relevant and more useful research results and data.

Dr. Carroll was a founding member of the University's American Indian and Indigenous Health Alliance Club and the University of Arizona Native Faculty, working to support the recruitment and retention of Indigenous students and faculty at the University. She offers Indigenous women-led mentoring of undergraduate through junior faculty and research staff with the goal of producing policy-relevant research through skill and knowledge acquisition. For these efforts, she was awarded the 2020 Intersectional Advocacy for Equity in STEM Award from the University of Arizona Women in Science and Engineering Program and the Women in STEM Student Council.

Dr. Carroll co-founded the US Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network and the International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group at the Research Data Alliance, and is a founding member and current chair of the Global Indigenous Data Alliance (GIDA).  She chairs the Indigenous Data Working Group for the IEEE P2890 Recommended Practice for Provenance of Indigenous Peoples' Data. Dr. Carroll is an ENRICH : Equity for Indigenous Research and Innovation Coordinating Hub Global Chair. She is also a founding board member for the Copper River Tribal University in Chitina, Alaska.

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Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, PhD

Dr. Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is professor and head of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. He is an enrolled member of the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Munqapi. Centering his research and teaching on Native American history and the history of the American West, he examines American Indian education, the American Indian boarding school experience, and American Indians and sport. Dr. Gilbert produced a documentary film, "Beyond the Mesas," on the Hopi experience at off-reservation American Indian boarding schools.

Alongside his film work, he has published extensively on Hopi education history and Hopi long distance running. In his current book project, "Modern Encounters of the Hopi Past," he analyzes the ways Hopi people operated within and beyond their ancestral lands, including their participation in the U.S. military, American film industry, various music ensembles and higher education. It is a history that seeks to understand the Hopi past by examining the life experiences of Hopìit themselves. It places the people and their voices at the center of the story and aims to demonstrate how they navigated distant lands beyond their mesas. It examines Hopi encounters of the outside world and highlights moments when the outside world also encountered the Hopi. Similar to the works by other Native scholars, this book is tribal specific, unapologetically so, and deeply grounded in his identity as a Hopi individual. In this regard, it is a personal history, but one that is closely connected to larger events and themes in Hopi and American society. 

Dr. Gilbert’s work and expertise on Hopi running has been featured in an ESPN documentary film titled "Run Hopi," by Scott Harves, and various news outlets, including the University of Illinois News Bureau and The News-Gazette. In addition to his research and writing, he is co-editor of the Indigenous Education series with the University of Nebraska Press and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Sport and Social Issues. He is also a member of the advisory board for the exhibit "Resilience: Stories of the American Indian Boarding School Experience" (The Heard Museum, Phoenix) and serves on the board of directors for Amerind Museum and as a member of the Arizona Public Media Community Advisory Board.  

Prior to his current post at UArizona, Dr. Gilbert served as professor of history and professor and director of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Timian Godfrey, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CPH

Dr. Timian Godfrey is a member of the Navajo Nation and belongs to the Red Bottom clan with her maternal grandfather being from the Salt clan. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and teaches in the advanced practice FNP-DNP program. Dr. Godfrey has more than 17 years of health care experience working in the capacities of a certified nursing assistant, emergency medical technician, registered nurse, and now as a nurse practitioner. Dr. Godfrey also works as an advanced practice clinician with TribalEM, an emergency medicine leadership company that works exclusively with government and tribal health programs. A primary motivation to pursue a nursing career is her personal conviction in Hózhó , a Navajo holistic belief that health and well-being for all living things results in physical and spiritual beauty, harmony and goodness. It is often said that one must "walk in beauty." Dr. Godfrey believes this statement aligns with the mission of nursing.

For Dr. Godfrey, academia provides a unique opportunity to promote innovation in care delivery methods and advocate for culturally relevant evidence-based practice. She is a strong advocate for increasing the presence of underrepresented minorities in health profession fields. To achieve this goal, her primary focus is creating equitable academic opportunities for students from historically marginalized populations. At the University of Arizona, she is the current program director for the Arizona Nursing Inclusive Excellence project and is co-investigator on an Indian Health Services grant aiming to increase the presence of Native American nurses in tribal communities. Additionally, she is co-leading the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) task force at the College of Nursing to formally institutionalize ED&I efforts and serves on the interprofessional University of Health Sciences (UAHS) ED&I task force. Further, Dr. Godfrey was selected to serve on the inaugural Western Institute of Nursing Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to promote diversity, equity and belonging in nursing research and education in the Western United States. She was recently selected to receive the Arizona State Award for Excellence from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Lastly, she is engaged in legislative efforts to establish an additional Arizona Health Education Center aimed at developing education opportunities in health sciences with the 22 tribes in Arizona. 

These efforts are the way to address many of the nation's most pressing health issues, and Dr. Godfrey is grateful to belong to an institution that encourages this.

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Jameson David Lopez, PhD

Dr. Jameson D. Lopez is an enrolled member of the Quechan tribe located in Fort Yuma, California. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. He studies Native American education using Indigenous statistics and has expertise in the limitations of collecting and applying quantitative results to Indigenous populations. Dr. Lopez carries unique experiences to his research that include a 2010 deployment to Iraq as a platoon leader where he received a Bronze Star Medal for actions in a combat zone. 

Since his early adolescence, Dr. Lopez traveled to Native nations across the United States to encourage and recruit students to pursue higher education which informs his research. As an Indigenous quantitative researcher with expertise in the limitations of collecting and applying quantitative results to Native American populations, Dr. Lopez examines research through tribal critical race theory by critiquing assimilation goals inherent in many U.S. governmental policies regarding Native American populations. By increasing Native American participation in academic discourse, policy discourse, and quantitative research using Indigenous statistics we can transformatively shift the discussion through representation.

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