In my research career of 30 plus years, I have assumed multiple research roles including clinical trials coordinator, research study manager, research program director, and PI. All my research has related to cancers impacting Alaska Native People including breast, cervical, endometrial, prostate, gastric, nasopharyngeal, and colo-rectal. Additionally, I have a strong background in research ethics and human subject protection from my many years of experience as a chair and voting member of the Alaska Area Indian Health Service IRB, the Tribal Research Review Committee at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and the Alaska Department of Public Health Privacy Board.
My second professional strength is program management. I managed the statewide cancer program for Alaska Natives, the Alaska statewide diabetes program, the Alaska statewide diabetes self-management program, a regional breast and cervical cancer program for Alaska Native women, and a regional heart disease prevention program for Alaska Native women.
My third professional passion is education. I have trained health aides, mid-level healthcare providers, college students, community members, health educators, and Tribal leaders. Additionally, I was an affiliate assistant professor with the School of Public Health at the University of Alaska for 12 years. In that role, I functioned as an academic advisor for senior year research projects and master’s degree theses.
Working at UArizona has incited a new passion, that is, increasing the number of AIAN who graduate with STEM degrees. But diversity alone is insufficient. I am convinced that inclusion needs to be an intrinsic part of the educational process that prepares AIANs for STEM careers. What is needed is a paradigm shift within the scientific educational system in which our Native ways of knowing are as equally valued as western scientific methods.