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.