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Indigenous Food Sovereignty and Health Symposium - Day 2
This conference will orient researchers and public health practitioners to Indigenous food sovereignty, its value in facilitating health in Indigenous communities, and ways to connect food sovereignty initiatives with health data in your communities!

Audience: academic researchers, students, public health practitioners, tribal health date workers, tribal leadership, food and agriculture practitioners, community members, and anyone interested in the Indigenous food sovereignty movement.

Day two: Learn about Indigenous food sovereignty initiatives in diverse environments, including urban settings, and how communities have combined research with food sovereignty initiatives to measure health improvements. You’ll also learn how to assess the costs and benefits of these initiatives within your communities and ways to either sustain your current initiatives or get new food sovereignty initiatives underway.

Feb 17, 2022 09:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, DrPH
Dr. Jernigan is an Indigenous (Choctaw) community-based participatory researcher focused on intervention science combining research with action for social change. Dr. Jernigan received her doctorate in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular prevention at Stanford University, where she also completed a degree in documentary filmmaking. Dr. Jernigan has been the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on 10 NIH-funded trials focused on food systems and health, including the THRIVE study, the first randomized trial on healthy makeovers in tribally-owned convenience stores, and the FRESH study, a farm-to-school intervention to support healthy food access among Indigenous families. Dr. Jernigan directs the Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.
Vickie Oldman, MSW
Vickie is a founding and managing partner with Seven Sisters Community Development Group, LLC (www.7sistersconsulting.com), a national community development consulting firm. Vickie specializes in culturally relevant approaches to organizational development. She has over 23 years of expertise in strategic planning, board development, leadership training, team building, asset building and executive coaching to Native and rural communities. She is recognized nationally as a skilled facilitator, trainer, and speaker. Vickie is a certified coach, trainer and facilitator for Emergent Learning, Leadership that Works, Institute of Cultural Affairs’ ToP Strategic Planning and Workshop Methods, True Colors, Nonprofit Management, Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families, and the Grove Team Performance Model.
Cassandra Nikolaus, PhD
Cassandra Nikolaus has formal training in human nutrition and promoting healthy behaviors, having completed a PhD and MS in nutrition at the University of Illinois after earning a BS in dietetics from Central Washington University. Dr. Nikolaus was a first-generation college student and the first in her family to earn a graduate degree. The long-term goal of her research is to bridge the gap between “what we know” and “what we do” about food insecurity. Her work broadly aligns with one of three areas of interest: 1) revitalization of local food systems to increase diet quality and wellbeing among Native communities and families, 2) integration of food insecurity screening into healthcare services to better address chronic diseases, and 3) advancements in the charitable food system to increase equity and empowerment of clients.
Gary Ferguson, ND
Dr. Gary Ferguson serves as Faculty and Director of Outreach & Engagement at Washington State University’s Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) located in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. Originally from the Shumagin Islands community of Sand Point, Alaska, Dr. Ferguson is Unangax̂ (Aleut) and an enrolled member of the Qagan Tayagunin Tribe. Formally trained as a Naturopathic Physician, he has a passion for healthy communities and a population health approach. Dr. Ferguson is the co-producer of the Store Outside Your Door – Alaska Native cultural food traditions around how to hunt, fish, gather and grow. Dr. Ferguson’s past positions include providing clinical services to his home region at Eastern Aleutian Tribes, serving at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium as Senior Director of Community Health Services and as Chief Executive Officer at RurAL CAP.
Tara Maudrie, MPH
Tara Maudrie is Snapping Turtle Clan of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and a member of the Baltimore and Detroit urban Native communities. Maudrie received her Master of Science in Public Health in Human Nutrition from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHBSPH), and is continuing her studies at JHBSPH as a PhD student in the Social and Behavioral Interventions Program. During her master’s degree Maudrie coordinated a research study with Baltimore Native LifeLines to explore food security and food sovereignty within the context of the urban Native experience. Tara is passionate about food justice, food sovereignty, Indigenous research methodologies, and urban Native health.
Shiloh Maples, MSW
Shiloh is an Anishinaabe educator, community organizer, and seed keeper. In her practice, Shiloh works in partnership with community members and leaders from around the Great Lakes to work towards a more sustainable and equitable food system. Shiloh has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan, where she specialized in community organizing. During this time as a student, Shiloh recognized the powerful potential of food systems to heal and transform both individuals and communities. Since then, Shiloh has been committed to serving the Indigenous food sovereignty movement and revitalizing ancestral foodways. For nearly a decade, Shiloh worked within Detroit's Indigenous community to create a food sovereignty initiative which increased access to ancestral foods and created opportunities for the community to fully practice their foodways in the urban landscape. Her current work is with the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.
Austin Henderson, PhD
Austin Henderson, PhD received his PhD from the University of California San Diego and is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Behavioral and Health Economics at the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH), a large research group that focuses primarily on issues related to Native American and Alaska Native health and is part of Washington State University (WSU). Dr. Henderson conducts research typically at the intersection of policy and Native Health, including projects related to COVID-19, hypertension, and food sovereignty.
Pam Iron
Pamela Iron, Cherokee/ Laguna Pueblo, has forty (45) years of experience working in Indian country developing programs and assisting communities in discovering their needs and facilitating problem solving through guided community planning. She has served as Executive Director for three non-profits, and also served as the Health Director and Chief of Staff for the former late Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller. In 2015, she spearheaded development of experiential outdoor educational programs for Outdoor education and the environment had always been part of her family traditions which includies gathering, gardening and water conservation. She was able to program all of these elements of her value system by acquiring a Corps of Engineer lease of a camp on the banks of Lake Tenkiller where youth and adults could experience ecology and the environment. Pam enjoys mentoring her grandchildren and the outdoors including hiking, foraging, and traditional encampments.
Melissa Lewis, PhD
Dr. Melissa Lewis is an Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Dr. Lewis partners with Indigenous communities to revitalize traditional lifeways to ameliorate the negative effects of colonization, thereby improving health and well-being. Dr. Lewis works with Cherokee community members to provide language immersion classes for children and traditional food classes in the Cherokee language. Her NHLBI K01 aims to create and launch a program that teaches tribal citizens Cherokee culture, language, and history to reduce CVD health risks. She has also created and is piloting an Indigenous health toolkit to train healthcare providers to deliver more effective care to Indigenous patients.