Public Health Training Coordinator
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.
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.
Health Disparities Program Intern
Isabel Coronado is a citizen of the Mvskoke (Creek) Nation. She is of the Wind Clan, and Thlopthlocco Tribal Town. Isabel is the Health Disparities Program intern. She is working as the program development manager for the American Indian Criminal Justice Navigation Council and the Tribal Public Health Academy. These are two new programs for the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB) which Isabel is helping to create from the ground up.
Youth Services Director
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.
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.
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 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.
Director of Business Development
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.
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.
Public Health Training Coordinator
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.
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!
Public Health Training Coordinator
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Health Disparities Program Coordinator
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.
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.
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.
Creative Services Coordinator
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.
OSCTR Clinical Trials Coordinator
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.
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.
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.
TEC Deputy Director
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.
Executive Assistant to the Executive Director
Debbie has been with SPTHB since April 2017, and is the executive assistant to the executive director. She provides logistical support and office coordination to the SPTHB team. Debbie was born and raised on a wheat and cattle farm near Medford, Oklahoma where her parents still reside today.
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.
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.
Sucharat “Gift” Tayarachakul
Jirata Tienphati was born in the capital city of Thailand called Bangkok. She is currently an intern with the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center. Her main areas of focus are data analysis, interpretation of data and data presentation. Though there are plenty of elephants in Thailand, she could not afford to ride an elephant to school, regrettably, so she took the school bus.
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.
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.
Human Resources Manager
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.
Tobacco Program Coordinator
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.
Public Health Coordinator
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.