JANICE BLACK

Public Health Training Coordinator
jblack@spthb.org

Janice joined the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board in December 2014. Her job titles include administrative assistant, Caring Van coordinator, and currently, public health training coordinator for the grant-funded A Comprehensive Approach to Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country- a diabetes, heart disease, and stroke-prevention program.

Janice Black

Janice joined the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board in December 2014. Her job titles include administrative assistant, Caring Van coordinator, and currently, public health training coordinator for the grant-funded, A Comprehensive Approach to Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country- a diabetes, heart disease, and stroke-prevention program. Her outreach as a public health coordinator allows her to travel to American Indian communities throughout the state of Oklahoma. Her mission provides preventive health services and education for American Indian children and adults statewide. Traveling with the Caring Van has given her the ability to help families learn about the importance of health screenings and healthy lifestyles. This has led to a very rewarding career.

Before the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board, Janice worked for the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) in administration for the National Program to Eliminate Diabetes-Related Health Disparities in American Indian Communities program.  She has over 20 years of experience in administrative duties which include Oklahoma insurance licensure and licensing agent for the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Janice has lived in the Oklahoma City area all her life. She is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and is also of Navajo descent.
Full Bio

RD DICKENS

Youth Services Director
rdickens@spthb.org

R.D. Dickens is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.  He served in the United States Navy, where he was stationed at NAS Oceana Virginia Beach, Virginia with Attack Squadron 35. While at VA-35, he became a plane captain and was in charge of pre- and post-flight inspections of the A-6E Intruder Aircraft. His squadron was part of USS Saratoga CV-60 air wing.

RD Dickens

R.D. Dickens is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.  He served in the United States Navy, where he was stationed at NAS Oceana Virginia Beach, Virginia with Attack Squadron 35. While at VA-35, he became a plane captain and was in charge of pre- and post-flight inspections of the A-6E Intruder Aircraft. His squadron was part of USS Saratoga CV-60 air wing. After his military service, he worked for Sysco Food Services and Jacks Merchandising as warehouse receiving lead. R.D. also was a child protection worker for the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma from 2005-2010. He received his associate’s degree in business from the Oklahoma City Community College in 2005.

R.D. is currently the Youth Services Director for the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. His other duties include being a member on the Oklahoma Inter-Tribal Diabetes Coalition (OIDC) and the current president of the Native Youth for Preventing Diabetes (NYPD) coalition camp for non-profit organizations. R.D. has a passion for working with youth and enjoys ministering to them. He served as a youth pastor at Kentucky Ave. Baptist Church from July 2000 to 2013. He now serves as a worship leader for 412 Ministries youth praise and worship band and is a Sunday School teacher for the 7th and 8th grade boys at Regency Park Baptist Church.

R.D. has been married to his wife Kellie for 18 years and they have one son, Jacob Dickens, who is their pride and joy.
Full Bio

TYLER DOUGHERTY

Biostatistician
tdougherty@spthb.org

Tyler Dougherty was born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma where most of his family still lives. He was accepted to The University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2008 and moved to Norman, Oklahoma to pursue his bachelor’s degree in biology. He was a member of The University of Oklahoma’s Civic Orchestra for the first couple of his undergraduate years and still enjoys playing the violin to this day.

Tyler Dougherty

Tyler Dougherty was born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma where most of his family still lives. He was accepted to The University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2008 and moved to Norman, Oklahoma to pursue his bachelor’s degree in biology. He was a member of The University of Oklahoma’s Civic Orchestra for the first couple of his undergraduate years and still enjoys playing the violin to this day. Through the love and support of family and friends, Tyler completed his undergraduate degree in the spring of 2014, making it on the President’s Honor Roll in the process. Tyler decided to pursue a Master of Public Health, was accepted into The University of Oklahoma College of Public Health, and moved to Oklahoma City in the summer of 2014.

Tyler interned at the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB) in May of 2015 and continued the internship throughout the rest of his master’s program. Upon completion of the Master of Public Health in Biostatistics, Tyler was offered a full-time position with the SPTHB. Tyler truly felt like a member of the SPTHB family as soon as he started, and finds working for such a great organization a privilege. His passions lie in health and policy equity, as well as public health and health-associated research. He hopes to make positive and impactful changes in under-represented and underserved populations here in Oklahoma.
Full Bio

SHELLY DOUGLAS

Director of Business Development
sdouglas@spthb.org

Shelly Douglas is the director of Business Development for the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. She also serves as the director of Business Development for Community Health Charities, the largest health federation in the country dedicated to raising money through workplace giving and strategic-cause initiatives for charities with a chronic disease and disability focus.

Shelly Douglas

Shelly Douglas is the director of Business Development for the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. She also serves as the director of Business Development for Community Health Charities, the largest health federation in the country dedicated to raising money through workplace giving and strategic-cause initiatives for charities with a chronic disease and disability focus. She was chosen as the 2014 “Over the Top from the Heart” Award recipient for Children’s Miracle Network/Children’s Hospital Foundation. She is on the Oklahoma board of the American Cancer Society, Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Lung Cancer Initiative, and Board chair for the Epilepsy Foundation of Oklahoma. She is also the co-founder of Deeper into Giving (DIG), an organization formed to help people build their businesses through the eyes of a giver. Shelly is also the recent past president of the Edmond Chapter of Ambucs, an organization that creates mobility for disabled children and veterans. She has worked as a prevention specialist at the University of Oklahoma and the Southwest Prevention Center to help promote the Strategic Prevention Framework State Initiative Grant which helps prevent the onset and reduces the progression of substance abuse in youth.

The partnership between the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board and Community Health Charities allows Shelly to work within her passion which is to help people and create fundraising opportunities that promote the greater good.

She is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma with a B.A. in psychology. Shelly is the mom of two amazing children, Matthew 28 and Madison 23.

Full Bio

SUSAN GAY

Public Health Training Coordinator
sgay@spthb.org

Before entering the public health arena, Susan worked for over 10 years as an educator at primary and secondary school levels in Barbados and the U.S. She decided to combine her two passions- teaching and health promotion- and become a health educator. She earned her master’s in health education from The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Susan Gay

Before entering the public health arena, Susan worked for over 10 years as an educator at primary and secondary school levels in Barbados and the U.S. She decided to combine her two passions- teaching and health promotion- and become a health educator. She earned her master’s in health education from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Go Blazers! Susan is a certified health education specialist (CHES). She also graduated from The University of the West Indies - Cave Hill Campus with a bachelor’s in Spanish language and literature.

Many have quipped, “What in the world brought her to Oklahoma? Who leaves Barbados to live in Oklahoma?” The short answer is she came via having lived in Florida and Alabama. The “long” answer is she came on an internship. After her internship at the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board ended, she was offered a job as a public health training coordinator with the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country grant. She creates health resources, conducts trainings, and works fervently to raise awareness about health literacy. One of Susan’s professional goals is to help eliminate health disparities. Her professional motto is “Educated to Serve” and she counts it a privilege to serve the Native people of this country.

Susan enjoys traveling, nature, especially the ocean, and healthful living. For her, health promotion is not just a professional duty, it’s her lifestyle. And for the record, apart from the tough weather and earthquakes, she’s delighted to call Oklahoma home… away from home!
Full Bio

YONAVEA HAWKINS

Public Health Training Coordinator
yhawkins@spthb.org

Yonavea works on the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Caring Van which provides preventive health screenings at Native events in Oklahoma. Helping the people who visit the Caring Van for screenings, she says, is the best part of her job. When she is in the office, she keeps the organization’s list serve updated and sends out emails with updates on public health issues and news about community events and meetings.

Yonavea Hawkins

Yonavea works on the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Caring Van which provides preventive health screenings at Native events in Oklahoma. Helping the people who visit the Caring Van for screenings, she says, is the best part of her job. When she is in the office, she keeps the organization’s list serve updated and sends out emails with updates on public health issues and news about community events and meetings. She is a part of the Communication Team which reviews, proofs, and edits the information that is distributed externally. As a member of the Production Team, she assists in ensuring meetings and conferences proceed smoothly.

She received her degree from Oklahoma City University, and professionally, she has worked for advertising agencies, book publishing companies, and printing companies. Throughout her career, she has held positions as art director, print buyer, purchasing manager, and publishing director.

Yonavea is a member of the Caddo (Haisinay) Nation and is also Delaware and Kickapoo. Growing up, she loved dancing at Caddo dances and powwows. As an adult, she learned to sew her own Caddo and Delaware dresses and make moccasins. When her sons wanted to dance, she learned how to make their Straight Dance clothes. A few years later, she started receiving requests to make dance regalia and moccasins for others. Now she attends juried art markets and is an award winning beadwork artist. Her beadwork designs combine contemporary colors with traditional style on the cultural items she creates.
Full Bio

NATALIE HARJO

Administrative Assistant
nharjo@spthb.org

Natalie Harjo was raised in a small community known as Vamoosa, Oklahoma, and was raised in a traditional Seminole home with her paternal grandparents. Fortunate to have been exposed to her culture and ceremonies from a young age, Natalie seeks out every opportunity to incorporate her culture and traditional teachings into her daily life.

Natalie Harjo

Natalie Harjo was raised in a small community known as Vamoosa, Oklahoma, and was raised in a traditional Seminole home with her paternal grandparents. Fortunate to have been exposed to her culture and ceremonies from a young age, Natalie seeks out every opportunity to incorporate her culture and traditional teachings into her daily life. She credits her work ethic to her grandparents’ modeling their dedication to providing for a large family by working full-time and still having the time to show her how to hunt, process and prepare food, cut and gather wood, and haul hay. She also credits her fearlessness to her uncle—he taught her how to hand-fish, commonly referred to in Seminole County as “noodling,” when she was a child.

Natalie is Oklahoma Seminole and Mvskoke (Creek), of the Raccoon clan, and is a proud member of the Rewalke Band of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. She is not only a dedicated advocate for Indigenous rights, sacred sites, cultural preservation, and language revitalization, but also advocates for raising awareness and providing treatment options that are essential to the behavioral health of Native people in Indian Country.

Natalie has an associate’s degree in behavioral sciences from Seminole State College, and is currently working toward her bachelor’s degree in social psychology. She previously worked as a registered medical assistant/office assistant for Heartland Hospice. She came to Southern Plains Tribal Health Board from the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, after eight years, where she worked as the tribal historic preservation/NAGPRA program director.
Full Bio

ERIN HODSON

Epidemiologist
ehodson@spthb.org

Erin Hodson is an epidemiologist for the Oklahoma Tribal Epidemiology Center at the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. Most of the projects she works on include analysis and interpretation of data, but some projects involve presenting and collecting data and such like.

Erin Hodson

Erin Hodson is an epidemiologist for the Oklahoma Tribal Epidemiology Center at the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. Most of the projects she works on include analysis and interpretation of data, but some projects involve presenting and collecting data and such like. She deals with numbers, let’s put it that way! She was born and raised, through high school, in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana where she developed a love for music, science, art, and sports. She graduated from Brigham Young University – Idaho in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in health science. She then went on to get a Master of Public Health from Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis in 2015. While science is her livelihood, she still makes time for music, art, and athletic adventures. “Always be learning and growing” is one of the mottos she embraces and strives to live by every day.
Full Bio

AMANDA JANITZ

Epidemiologist/Evaluator
ajanitz@spthb.org

Dr. Janitz is currently an assistant professor of research in epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at The University of Oklahoma College of Public Health. She works with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board as an epidemiologist and evaluator.

Amanda Janitz

Dr. Janitz is currently an assistant professor of research in epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at The University of Oklahoma College of Public Health. She works with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board as an epidemiologist and evaluator. She also works closely with the Association of American Indian Physicians and Region VI South Central Public Health Training Center. During her doctoral program, she worked with these organizations as a graduate research assistant and consultant. Her dissertation research, which she completed in 2015, focused on the association between congenital anomalies and any childhood cancer and the association between air pollution and childhood acute leukemia. Her areas of expertise include the epidemiology of childhood cancer, public health program evaluation, and epidemiologic methods. After graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, she worked as a pediatric oncology nurse. In 2009, she completed a Master of Public Health in The University of Oklahoma College of Public Health with a focus on childhood cancer. Upon graduation, she worked as a research nurse in pediatric oncology before returning to The University of Oklahoma in 2010 to complete her doctorate with a goal of contributing to cancer research in Oklahoma.
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MELANIE JOHNSON

Project Manager
mjohnson@spthb.org

Melanie is a member of the Sac and Fox Nation and holds a master’s degree in education from The University of Oklahoma (OU). It was at OU where she became more involved in helping American Indians. Melanie developed a passion for public health, having worked with American Indian communities in Oklahoma for over a decade focusing on health disparities.

Melanie Johnson

Melanie is a member of the Sac and Fox Nation and holds a master’s degree in education from The University of Oklahoma (OU). It was at OU where she became more involved in helping American Indians. Melanie developed a passion for public health, having worked with American Indian communities in Oklahoma for over a decade focusing on health disparities. Growing up in rural towns from Kansas to Oklahoma, she experienced the harsh realities of poverty, living with a learning disability, and the struggle of her identity related to her mixed race. Overcoming these obstacles through a humorous approach is one of the many reasons why so many people seek her mentorship. As the project manager for the Strategic Prevention Framework Partnership for Success (PFS) and Prescription Drugs (Rx) grants, she has committed her career to addressing behavioral health disparities among Native youth and young adults. She supports efforts for collecting tribal- specific data needed for addressing substance abuse and to further develop culturally based prevention programs. Her unique perception of the world has led her to new experiences of being an advocate and activist.  The loss of her brother, Robert, inspired her to advocate for more interventions geared toward suicide prevention. Her motivation for being an activist comes from protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. When she’s not involved in supporting these causes, you can find her with her two daughters, Shoshanna, 21, and Stevi, 12- guiding, coaching, and preparing them for the rigors of life.
Full Bio

SHOSHANNA JOHNSON

Administrative Assistant
sjohnson@spthb.org

Shoshanna Johnson is the administrative assistant for the Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs (SPF RX) grant within the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center, Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB).

Shoshanna Johnson

Shoshanna Johnson is the administrative assistant for the Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs (SPF RX) grant within the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center, Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB). She is an enrolled member of the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and is in her senior year at the University of Central Oklahoma. She is double majoring in organizational communication and strategic communication while minoring in journalism. Her educational goal after graduation is to go to graduate school for health communication. Her professional goal is to one day help underserved communities as a health communication specialist. In her free time, she enjoys painting, writing, and going to concerts with her friends.
Full Bio

JENIFER LITTLESUN

Executive Director
jlittlesun@spthb.org

Jenifer LittleSun serves as the executive director for the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB). Jenifer comes from the Skidi Band of the Pawnee Nation and graduated from high school in Pawnee, Oklahoma. Jenifer earned her Bachelor of Science in International Marketing and has received accredited certifications in small business development, board of director training for nonprofits, and is a nationally certified grant writer with the American Grant Writers’ Association.

Jenifer LittleSun

Jenifer LittleSun serves as the executive director for the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB). Jenifer comes from the Skidi Band of the Pawnee Nation and graduated from high school in Pawnee, Oklahoma. Jenifer earned her Bachelor of Science in International Marketing and has received accredited certifications in small business development, board of director training for nonprofits, and is a nationally certified grant writer with the American Grant Writers’ Association. She has always been inspired by Tribal Civics and advocacy; thus, her career has a theme: advocating and providing a voice for Native issues. Her professional career is multifaceted with a focus on both national and international marketing projects. She’s had the privilege to work in Washington, D.C. for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs – U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Justice services – Bureau of Indian Affairs, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and National Geographic. She has also worked for the Pawnee Nation, as well as the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. As an American Indian professional, she has become a leader in the fields of branding, marketing, project development, and administration. Jen’s passion for working for and with American Indians comes from her strong connection and love for family, her loving husband, David, and their kids, Nicole, Lexi, Shelby, Autumn, London, and Caleb. When she’s not advocating for American Indians and Alaska Natives, she enjoys spending time with her family and laughing and joking around with others.
Full Bio

AMBER MARTINEZ

Health Disparities Program Coordinator
martinez@spthb.org

Amber Martinez moved from Toledo, Ohio to Moore, Oklahoma when she was five. Eventually she moved to Oklahoma City, which is now her home. Her first love was science. During her 10th grade biology class she noticed her teacher had given incorrect information and pointed it out. Her teacher challenged her to find evidence to support this, and then she would correct it.

Amber Martinez

Amber Martinez moved from Toledo, Ohio to Moore, Oklahoma when she was five. Eventually she moved to Oklahoma City, which is now her home. Her first love was science. During her 10th grade biology class she noticed her teacher had given incorrect information and pointed it out. Her teacher challenged her to find evidence to support this, and then she would correct it. Amber did just that. Her teacher allowed her to research the facts, and from that moment her heart belonged to science.  After high school, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology and began working in an immunology lab studying rheumatoid arthritis. From there, she ventured into microbiology at a local biotech company. Somewhere along the way, and not really understanding why, she began working on a master‘s in public health. She knew nothing about public health, let alone the impact it would have on her. It was during the course of her degree that she discovered her passion, her calling, her purpose. Her life, past, and future began to fall into place, and she knew deep within she was exactly where she was supposed to be, doing exactly what she was supposed to be doing. There’s a song by Ani Difranco that she heard a long, long time ago, but the words still resonate: “God’s work isn’t done by God, it’s done by people.” She currently serves the 43 federally recognized tribes of the Southern Plains as program coordinator of the Health Disparities Grant.
Full Bio

TRACY PRATHER

TEC Director
tprather@spthb.org

Tracy Prather is the director for the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center, with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. Tracy provides oversight, direction, and leadership with the seven core functions defined within the Tribal Epidemiology Centers’ Code of Federal Regulations for tribes, communities, and staff in the Oklahoma Area.

Tracy Prather

Tracy Prather is the director for the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center, with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. Tracy provides oversight, direction, and leadership with the seven core functions defined within the Tribal Epidemiology Centers’ Code of Federal Regulations for tribes, communities, and staff in the Oklahoma Area. Tracy’s professional background includes over twenty-five years in hospital and clinical settings in cardiovascular services and as an ambulatory service and physician relations specialist with the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology and a master’s in healthcare administration. Tracy is a nationally registered radiologic technologist (RT) and a cardiovascular technologist (CVT). He works closely with many tribes in Oklahoma and with multiple grant projects across Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. Tracy is honored to serve Native Americans.
Full Bio

PHYLLIS PRATT

Finance Director
ppratt@spthb.org

Phyllis Pratt is the finance director for Southern Plains Tribal Health Board.  This position is the finance gatekeeper for the Health Board’s financial activities.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern State University in 1989 and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2005.

Phyllis Pratt

Phyllis Pratt is the finance director for Southern Plains Tribal Health Board.  This position is the finance gatekeeper for the Health Board’s financial activities.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern State University in 1989 and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2005.  She has worked in the financial area since she graduated from Northeastern, starting in the hotel industry. From there, she worked for a non-profit ministry, then continued on her professional journey as a business office manager at an urban Indian clinic, and after that, on to the position she currently holds at the Health Board. Phyllis is a member of the Choctaw Nation, but is also Pawnee. She has been married to her husband Mike for 22 years and they have three wonderful boys: Peyton, Jace, and Seth.  Since her sons are involved in athletics, she spends her spare time at basketball or baseball games, supporting and cheering them on. When there are no sporting activities, she spends her spare time reading.
Full Bio

CHRIS REED

Creative Services Coordinator
creed@spthb.org

Chris Reed grew up in the rural area of Shawnee, Oklahoma. A member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, he grew up alongside his grandfather learning life’s lessons and the Kickapoo traditional way of life. Inspired by the wisdom, courage, and candor he learned from his grandfather, Chris aspires to excel in life, no matter the situation.

Chris Reed

Chris Reed grew up in the rural area of Shawnee, Oklahoma. A member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, he grew up alongside his grandfather learning life’s lessons and the Kickapoo traditional way of life. Inspired by the wisdom, courage, and candor he learned from his grandfather, Chris aspires to excel in life, no matter the situation. His intuitiveness and love of finding solutions to problems landed him at the Oklahoma City Community College where he received an associate’s degree in computer science/multimedia with an emphasis in computer aided drafting (CAD). Now working with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board family as the Creative Services coordinator, Chris brings a dash of high-spirited jolly (Bazooka Joe jokes) along with his creative and technical skill set to visually enlighten all Indigenous people in the tribal public health arena. Traveling, exercising, listening to music, and watching movies are some of his favorite pastimes.
Full Bio

JULIE SEWARD

OSCTR Clinical Trials Coordinator
jseward@spthb.org

Julie is a registered dental hygienist from Checotah, Oklahoma and a member of the Cherokee Nation. She attended Oklahoma State University where she earned her undergraduate degree in career and technical education and Tulsa Community College where she studied dental hygiene. In 2009, she moved to Katy, Texas when a job opportunity became available for her husband.

Julie Seward

Julie is a registered dental hygienist from Checotah, Oklahoma and a member of the Cherokee Nation. She attended Oklahoma State University where she earned her undergraduate degree in career and technical education and Tulsa Community College where she studied dental hygiene. In 2009, she moved to Katy, Texas when a job opportunity became available for her husband. While in Texas, she obtained her master’s degree in allied health education and administration from the University of Houston. She has practiced clinical dental hygiene in general and periodontal practice settings for over six years.  She served as an instructor at Houston Community College teaching clinical dental hygiene, community dentistry, and dental hygiene care for three years.  Cumulatively, she has over 15 years’ experience in the dental field. At Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB), Julie serves as the clinical trials coordinator for the Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translation Resources Grant as well as the planning committee co-chair for the SPTHB/ Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center Tribal Public Health Conference. She also serves as a grassroots representative for Oklahoma through DentaQuest Foundation’s Oral Health 2020 For All Initiative. Julie lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband Ray and son Miles. She enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, music, collecting vinyl records, and being outdoors.
Full Bio

TRACY SEXTON

Grants Finance Director
tsexton@spthb.org

Tracy Sexton was raised in Moore, Oklahoma. She is married with two children, two step-children, and three granddaughters. She received her Bachelor of Science in Management and Ethics. Afterwards, she attended Oklahoma City University School of Law. She received her Master of Business Administration in 2010.

Tracy Sexton

Tracy Sexton was raised in Moore, Oklahoma. She is married with two children, two step-children, and three granddaughters. She received her Bachelor of Science in Management and Ethics. Afterwards, she attended Oklahoma City University School of Law. She received her Master of Business Administration in 2010. She started her career in grant management at The University of Oklahoma Outreach Sponsored Programs. Later, she was senior office administrator for the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center (HHDC) for The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. There, she maintained all grants and foundational accounts for the HHDC. Currently, she is the grant finance director at Southern Plains Tribal Health Board.
Full Bio

ALEX SMITH

Creative Director
asmith@spthb.org

Alex E. Smith, Pawnee, Otoe, and enrolled in the Sac and Fox tribe of Oklahoma, has been a creative and marketing professional for more than 13 years. His work has appeared in web, print, and outdoor media for a number of different organizations, professionals, and tribes and was most recently featured in ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap.

Alex Smith

Alex E. Smith, Pawnee, Otoe, and enrolled in the Sac and Fox tribe of Oklahoma, has been a creative and marketing professional for more than 13 years. His work has appeared in web, print, and outdoor media for a number of different organizations, professionals, and tribes and was most recently featured in ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap. As the current creative director, Smith is fully dedicated to proactively building and managing Southern Plains Tribal Health Board’s Creative Services Department and communications efforts.

In addition to marketing, graphic arts, and web design, Alex has enjoyed a passion for singing and songwriting for over 19 years. His singing and songwriting were highlighted in 2002 and 2005 when he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Native American Album of the Year. One of his most recognizable songs, “Meant to Be,” was featured in the 2005 Disney movie, Buffalo Dreams.

His experiences and viewpoint through the eyes of a special needs dad have inspired him to be an advocate and activist for all families with an exceptional child or loved one. His son Nathan has been his greatest teacher of love and empathy which motivates Alex to share “silver linings,” resources, stories, and encouragement to families like his.

He attributes his strength, joy, and perseverance to his wonderful wife, Stacey and three kiddos, Ryanne, Romy, and Nathan while crediting his enjoyment for the little things to his goofy cats, Jax and Jensy.
Full Bio

CUYLER SNIDER

TEC Deputy Director
csnider@spthb.org

Cuyler Snider serves as deputy director for the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center (OKTEC), which is a division of the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. He has been with OKTEC since he began his work here as a graduate research assistant in 2008.

Cuyler Snider

Cuyler Snider serves as deputy director for the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center (OKTEC), which is a division of the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. He has been with OKTEC since he began his work here as a graduate research assistant in 2008. He is responsible for overseeing the operation of several state and federally funded cooperative agreements aimed at health promotion and disease prevention within Native American communities. In this role, he has been a part of grant writing and management, data collection and analysis, program and training coordination, and data linkage projects. He also sits on a number of local, regional, and national working groups and committees. Cuyler graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. In 2008, he earned a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, College of Public Health. Since his graduation, Cuyler has been working towards improving the quality of health for Native American communities and minimizing the disparities in health access and outcomes.
Full Bio

DEBBIE STETTNISCH

Executive Assistant to the Executive Director
dstettnisch@spthb.org

Debbie Stettnisch is the executive assistant to the executive director. She provides logistical support and office coordination to the SPTHB staff and ensures the installation of appropriate systems and tools for the team and organization’s success. Debbie was born and raised in Grant County, Oklahoma, on the same farm where her parents still reside to this day.

Debbie Stettnisch

Debbie Stettnisch is the executive assistant to the executive director. She provides logistical support and office coordination to the SPTHB staff and ensures the installation of appropriate systems and tools for the team and organization’s success. Debbie was born and raised in Grant County, Oklahoma, on the same farm where her parents still reside to this day. Growing up on a farm with five brothers and sisters, Debbie never lacked for chores to do, kittens to chase, and pastures to explore. As a teen, she helped during wheat harvest. Her job was to truck the grain to their farm bins and local grain cooperatives. In school, Debbie loved cheerleading and basketball, participating in both from elementary through high school. In her 35-year career in the oil and gas industry, Debbie held positions in Texas and Oklahoma with ConocoPhillips, BP, and most recently Devon Energy. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management. Prior to joining SPTHB, Debbie enjoyed substitute teaching in a local elementary school. She very much loves being around children and hopes she has made a positive impact in a student’s life. Debbie and her husband Jerry (an oil and gas consultant) are avid Thunder fans, but as for college sports, she resides in a “House Divided,” with her allegiance to OSU and her husband’s to OU. She enjoys hosting family outings, cook-outs, travel, flower gardening, all while spoiling her youngest grandson. Debbie and Jerry attend LifeChurch in NW OKC, believing no matter what you’re dealt in life, God is always with you and in control. Title: Executive Assistant to the Executive Director Email: dstettnisch@spthb.org
Full Bio

CHRIS TALLBEAR

Program Coordinator
ctallbear@spthb.org

Chris TallBear has been with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB) since October of 2011.  His current position is the program director for the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country, a CDC-funded grant. He has held other positions throughout his time with the organization, including serving on the Board.

Chris TallBear

Chris TallBear has been with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB) since October of 2011.  His current position is the program director for the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country, a CDC-funded grant. He has held other positions throughout his time with the organization, including serving on the Board. Prior to employment with SPTHB, Chris was the project director for the Diabetes Wellness Program and deputy director of Health for the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.  He has also volunteered and served as board chair for the Russell-Murray Hospice of El Reno for 10 years and served on the Board for the El Reno Community Clinic in Canadian County. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies from The University of Oklahoma and a Master of Legal Studies from The University of Oklahoma - College of Law. Chris is from rural western Oklahoma and was raised in a traditional Cheyenne upbringing.  He has participated in various Cheyenne ceremonies and strongly believes in ceremonial and traditional ways. He credits the continued existence of many tribes and their survival in today’s modern world to traditional customs and practices. He encourages others to learn where they come from and to be proud of who they are.  He has been married for 10 wonderful years to Donna Marie TallBear and they have their home in Norman, Oklahoma.
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SUCHARAT “GIFT” TAYARACHAKUL

Epidemiologist
stayarachakul@spthb.org

Sucharat Tayarachakul (“Gift”) graduated with dual degrees from Indiana University in 2011: Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience.  In 2015, she graduated with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis.

Sucharat “Gift” Tayarachakul

Sucharat Tayarachakul (“Gift”) graduated with dual degrees from Indiana University in 2011: Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience.  In 2015, she graduated with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis. While working toward her degrees, she was assisting four laboratories: ecology, neuroendocrine, diabetes, and a clinical study regarding liver disease. Gift was involved with numerous research studies, three of which were published.  She is also a co-founder of the Indiana University-Student Outreach Clinic (IU-SOC), Public Health Section.  She was involved in the first project on assessing the community‘s perception regarding using IU-SOC as a primary source of healthcare, instead of a referral system.  She also had volunteer experiences at Indiana State Department of Health during the HIV Outbreak in 2015 and at the Union of Thai Traditional Medicine Society during a volunteer trip to poverty-stricken areas in Thailand. In the summer of 2014, Gift was an intern at Southern Plains Tribal Health Board, through the Graduate Student Epidemiology Program and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). During her internship, her main project was to create the Maternal and Child Health Data Book (1st Edition), American Indian/Alaskan Native Edition.  Currently, she is a lead epidemiologist for the Strategic Prevention Framework Tribal Incentive Grant (SPF-TIG), Partnership for Success (SPF-PFS), and SPF-Rx, which all have the main goal of reducing substance use among American Indians/Alaskan Natives in four tribal partners’ jurisdiction areas.
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LOREN TONEMAH

Project Manager
ltonemah@spthb.org

Loren Tonemah (Kiowa, Comanche, and Tuscarora) is the project manager for information technology and procurement at the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. He has worked for the Health Board for just over nine years. Loren plays music as a hobby and has been a part of nine CDs.

Loren Tonemah

Loren Tonemah (Kiowa, Comanche, and Tuscarora) is the project manager for information technology and procurement at the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. He has worked for the Health Board for just over nine years. Loren plays music as a hobby and has been a part of nine CDs.  He’s had the privilege of playing nationwide at various music festivals. He has also used music to connect with youth, on occasion, during summer programs in Arizona. He and his brother have been putting on Native American Christmas benefit concerts throughout the country, starting in Arizona 20 years ago; this will be the 11th year in Oklahoma. Loren has a heart for not only Native youth, but Natives in general, and likes to interact with the Native community; these are the reasons why he enjoys working for the Health Board and the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center.  Loren currently resides in Moore, Oklahoma with his wife of 10 years, Jennifer, and his two children: Noelle, seven years old, and Titus, five years old.
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ARON WAHKINNEY

Communications Specialist
awahkinney@spthb.org

After graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications media in 2011, Aron began his work in the graphic design field. He started out at MARCO Promotional Products, as a graphic artist, where he worked for two and a half years.

Aron Wahkinney

After graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications media in 2011, Aron began his work in the graphic design field. He started out at MARCO Promotional Products, as a graphic artist, where he worked for two and a half years. At the end of 2014, an opportunity came to reconnect with his roots in Oklahoma, where he was born and raised until the 8th grade. He took a position working with his tribe, the Comanche Nation, within the Prevention and Recovery Center. That’s where he began his work in the substance abuse prevention field. He worked under the SPF-TIG (Strategic Prevention Framework Tribal Incentive Grant) creating graphic design and multi-media messaging geared towards preventing underage drinking and non-medical use of prescription drugs. That experience led him to a great opportunity to come on board and work with the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center within the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. In his role as communications specialist, Aron works with many tribes creating resources to help promote substance abuse prevention.  In his off time, he loves to hike and enjoy the outdoors with his wife Kortney and their two dogs, Lily and Brady.
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NICHOLAS WAHPEPAH

Human Resources Manager
nwahpepah@spthb.org

Nicholas has been with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board since December 2015. In July of 2016, Nicholas was selected as the organization’s human resources manager. As human resources manager, he’s had the opportunity to develop procedures, revise and update the organization’s Employee Handbook, and standardize administrative functions and activities.

Nicholas Wahpepah

Nicholas has been with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board since December 2015. In July of 2016, Nicholas was selected as the organization’s human resources manager. As human resources manager, he’s had the opportunity to develop procedures, revise and update the organization’s Employee Handbook, and standardize administrative functions and activities. Nicholas was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma and is a proud member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. After graduating from Shawnee High School, Nick went on to attend The University of Oklahoma where he will graduate in May of 2017. Nick grew up attending tribal ceremonies and powwows both locally in Oklahoma and nationally. In the 90s, Nicholas had the opportunity to travel to Europe and Russia several times to share his Native culture. Nick has a passion for human resources because it allows him to use his communication skills and interact with all employees at the organization. He enjoys advocating for the employees and solving problems in ways that help employees and management alike. When asked what he likes about working at the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board, Nick said, “It feels good that I get to work for a company that helps Native People.” Nick lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with his beautiful wife and two wonderful sons, Benny and Brandon.
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AARON WILLIAMS

Tobacco Program Coordinator
awilliams@spthb.org

Aaron is the tobacco program coordinator for the CDC-funded grant, Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country. He collaborates with SPTHB partner tribes and organizations to increase awareness of the health risks involved with commercial tobacco use. In addition, he provides support in the implementation of tobacco control policies and strategies.

Patricia Yarholar

Patricia Yarholar, MPH, CHES, received her Master of Public Health degree from The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She is currently the Tribal Epidemiology Grant lead/public health coordinator with the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center (OKTEC) of the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB), and is honored to serve in this capacity.  She oversees and provides direction for the grant to accomplish deliverables that improve health care delivery to tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian health organizations. Patricia was previously employed with the Absentee Shawnee Tribal Health Authority at the Little Axe Health Center and served as the community health and prevention services director. She was also the health education director for the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, serving a nine-county service area. During employment with the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP), she served as the American Indian/Alaska Native National Diabetes Education Program coordinator. She credits the tribal health programs, AAIP and SPTHB-TEC for the knowledge and experience gained on local, regional, and national levels to serve American Indians and Alaska Natives. Patricia is an enrolled member of the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma and also possesses Pawnee and Otoe Missourian ancestry. She’s been married to Pastor Clarence Yarholar for 39 years and they have one son, Cortney Yarholar, and daughter-in-law, Courtney Tsotigh Yarholar, and two awesome grandchildren, Jude Scout, seven years old, and Nora Joy, two years old.
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PATRICIA YARHOLAR

Public Health Coordinator
pyarholar@spthb.org

Patricia Yarholar, MPH, CHES, received her Master of Public Health degree from The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She is currently the Tribal Epidemiology Grant lead/public health coordinator with the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center (OKTEC) of the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB), and is honored to serve in this capacity.

Patricia Yarholar

Patricia Yarholar, MPH, CHES, received her Master of Public Health degree from The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She is currently the Tribal Epidemiology Grant lead/public health coordinator with the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center (OKTEC) of the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB), and is honored to serve in this capacity.  She oversees and provides direction for the grant to accomplish deliverables that improve health care delivery to tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian health organizations. Patricia was previously employed with the Absentee Shawnee Tribal Health Authority at the Little Axe Health Center and served as the community health and prevention services director. She was also the health education director for the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, serving a nine-county service area. During employment with the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP), she served as the American Indian/Alaska Native National Diabetes Education Program coordinator. She credits the tribal health programs, AAIP and SPTHB-TEC for the knowledge and experience gained on local, regional, and national levels to serve American Indians and Alaska Natives. Patricia is an enrolled member of the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma and also possesses Pawnee and Otoe Missourian ancestry. She’s been married to Pastor Clarence Yarholar for 39 years and they have one son, Cortney Yarholar, and daughter-in-law, Courtney Tsotigh Yarholar, and two awesome grandchildren, Jude Scout, seven years old, and Nora Joy, two years old.
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