Meet Our Team

Staff

Myra Parker, JD, MPH, PhD

Myra Parker, JD, MPH, PhD

Director

myrap@uw.edu

Myra Parker, JD, MPH, PhD, is an enrolled member of the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes and serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She is currently the Director of Seven Directions which is housed in the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors within the Department of Psychiatry.

Full Bio

Dr. Parker serves as the Principal Investigator for several CDC sub-contracts through the National Network of Public Health Institutes, including the Tribal Opioid Overdose Prevention project, Indigenous Social Determinants of Health, the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Death & Injuries (referred to as “STEADI”) project, and Tribal Public Health Capacity building. She is also the PI of a tribal technical assistance HRSA sub-contract through Georgia State University, and Co-Investigator for a RWJF-funded study on tribal systems alignment.

Prior to her work in Seven Directions, Myra served as Co-Investigator on an ETHICS project to culturally adapt a human subjects curriculum for tribal communities; a national epidemiology research study grounded in Community-Based Participatory Research involving 22 Tribal Colleges and Universities to establish alcohol, tobacco, and drug use rates within their respective communities through a mixed methods approach; and, an NIAAA R01 research study investigating the effectiveness of a culturally-adapted version of the “BASICS” (Brief Alcohol Screening & Intervention in College Students) intervention and a policy intervention.

As an enrolled member of the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes, Myra is aware of the historical health practices and misconduct perpetuated on tribes in the United States. Her background in law and policy has informed a broader understanding of the principles of ethics as well as honed her ability to identify methods to address the disparities in research control and access through the use of formalized agreements.

Christina E. Oré, MPH, DrPH

Christina E. Oré, MPH, DrPH

Associate Director

core1@uw.edu

Christina is an Associate Director for Indigenous Systems Alignment and Data Stewardship with Seven Directions and Acting Assistant Professor with the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behavior (CSHRB), UW School of Medicine. She is committed to community health and well-being that comes from the deep connections of peoples, place -lands, and memory. Christina is Andean and Irish, born and raised in Arizona.

Full Bio

Christina is lead/co-lead on multiple public health projects funded by National Network for Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), through CDC cooperative agreements; lead for a data storytelling project with Creative Narrations, funded by NACCHO; and a researcher for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's youth services coordination systems study, funded by Systems for Action(S4A), through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Her primary research area is systems alignment and data stewardship for Indigenous health praxis/practice (i.e., data governance, community-relational accountability, traditional healing systems, research ethics and review, and implementation sciences). This area originates from working for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe's Health Services Division (PYTHSD) between 2000 - 2019. Her dissertation, "Indigenous health systems: An emergent Yaqui-centered framework for public health practice", from a guest-relative perspective, was completed during this tenure.

Christina is an associate with the Collaboratory for Indigenous Data Governance (CIDG), at the UArizona Native Nations Institute; member of the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), Indigenous working group; and former UW Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) LUNA fellow. Dr. Amohia Boulton and Christina continue to grow the partnership between Whakauae Maori Health Services- Seven Directions, with an exchange in 2025.

Christina has a BA in Latin American Studies from Oberlin College (1991), MPH (2002) in community health practice, and DrPH (2018) in public health policy and management from the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona (UA). Her minor was trans-disciplinary, including coursework from the UA Roger's College of Law, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) program and Department of Sociology.

Her paternal family are considered mixed Quechua (chi'xi), originally from Caja Espiritu (Acobamba) and Huancavelica (Huancavelica), Perú. Her connection and commitment to this work is through her family, communities, and long standing relationships within the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Arizona and Sonora.

Maya Magarati, PhD

Maya Magarati, PhD

Research Assistant Professor | Associate Director, Community Collaboration in Research, Seven Directions: A Center for Indigenous Public Health

magarati@uw.edu

Maya Magarati, Ph.D. is a Research Assistant Professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and serves as a core faculty in Seven Directions, A Center for Indigenous Public Health, a part of the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors in the Department. She serves as the Project Lead on the Tribal Opioid Overdose Prevention project. Maya investigates sexual health, community engagement, global Indigenous environmental and behavioral health specifically tied to ecological trauma, resilience and traditional ecological knowledge, and immigrant and refugee cancer and wellbeing.

Full Bio

Dr. Magarati is indigenous Magar from Nepal’s Himalayas. Her lived and professional experiences navigating both the Global North’s and the Global South’s historical, political, socio-economic-cultural landscapes center her research, teaching, and service around equity.

Maya’s scholarship straddles the intersection of sociology, public health, behavioral health and geography in addressing social inequities with an intention of fostering knowledge democracy and achieving holistic wellbeing. She incorporates Western as well as Indigenous, place-based, culture-centered epistemologies and collaborative approaches to understanding and addressing the social, behavioral, cultural, and environmental health determinants which result in disparities in access to and use of services, delivery, and outcomes related to substance use, mental health, STI/HIV, and environmental health.  

Maya attributes her community-based participatory research orientation in research, service, and teaching to her active involvement in the UW’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) since 2010. These include building partnerships with Tribal Colleges and Universities, and research collaboration with multidisciplinary, cross-institutional global teams investigating health disparities in American Indian and Alaska Native populations, immigrant, refugee and rural populations in the U.S., and among Indigenous communities in Nepal experiencing environmental health issues and climate change. Maya is a current Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders fellow, where she collaborates on a community-engaged climate change, water insecurity, ecological trauma, resilience, and environmental action research project with a tribe in rural Alaska.  

Maya is an affiliate faculty with the UW Department of Sociology, and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology as well as a preceptor (Nepal) for IWRI’s NIH-funded LUNA International Indigenous Health Research Training Program.

Maya received her B.S. in Nutrition & Dietetics in Australia, an M.A. in Sociology under the Fulbright program, and then a Ph.D. in Sociology from the UW. Prior to attending graduate school, she worked in Nepal with a local NGO and with UNICEF advancing community nutrition and health. Maya was born and raised in Nepal. She serves on the Board of Directors at Nepal Seattle Society and The Mountaineers. She loves natural landscapes and engaging in outdoor activities.

Danielle Eakins, PhD

Danielle Eakins, PhD

Research Scientist

deakins@uw.edu

Danielle Eakins is a licensed clinical psychologist and a research scientist at Seven Directions. Danielle is dedicated to supporting behavioral wellness through collaborative, strengths-based partnerships with Indigenous communities.

Full Bio

Danielle is a mixed-race woman who had lived in eight states before entering high school. As such, her personal and professional interests have centered on the impact of community, belonging and identity on mental health. Danielle received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Washington. As a graduate student she interned for the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute and received a fellowship from the Indigenous Substance Abuse, Medicines and Addictions Research Training Program to complete her dissertation in conjunction with the Tribal College/University BeWell Study. Danielle completed her clinical psychology internship and post-doctoral fellowship as the Rural Health/Underserved Populations resident at the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System. At VA PIHCS, Danielle focused on in-person outreach and remote telehealth services to Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander veterans located in American Samoa, Guam, Saipan and the neighboring Hawaiian Islands. At Seven Directions, Danielle focuses on incorporating a clinical lens to technical assistance, evaluative assessment and inclusive programming work for the Tribal Opioid Overdose Prevention Project.  

Danielle is grateful to live in Hawaii and loves freediving and learning the environmentally sustainable practice of spearfishing.

Leo Egashira, MBA

Leo Egashira, MBA

Associate Director, Operations for Seven Directions

seattleo@uw.edu

Leo N. Egashira, MBA, is a Japanese-American born and raised in Seattle. He is the Associate Director of Operations and a Research Coordinator at Seven Directions at the University of Washington and has been with the team since 2018. Prior to Seven Directions, he worked at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, also at the University of Washington; he has worked with tribes for over 14 years.

Full Bio

Leo is currently working on several projects, including several sub-projects in the CDC-funded Tribal Opioid Overdose Prevention program, and Healthy Tribal Nations alcohol policy and violence against women study. He was the main liaison to Tribal Colleges and Universities partners on three past projects and has visited tribal communities to facilitate many on-site focus groups and conduct data collection. Through these site visits, he has witnessed first-hand the strengths and resilience of tribal communities, which in turn has informed his passion to Indigenous Public Health.

Leo has a Bachelor’s degree in Japanese & Chinese languages, and a Master’s in Business Administration. He has studied linguistics and four foreign languages, and is a strong advocate for indigenous language retention and revitalization. He also remembers how to diagram sentences from his 1960s English classes, and uses that skill to serve as the primary editor for Seven Directions’ publications and manuscripts.

On a personal note, he is an outdoor nut, hiking and going on 5-10 day backpacks to remote corners of North America, and snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. A non-car owner for 20+ years, he bicycles Seattle’s hilly terrain daily in rain or shine.

Angela Gaffney, MPA

Angela Gaffney, MPA

Senior Research Coordinator

iamgaff@uw.edu

At Seven Directions, Angela is working on piloting the use of an Indigenous Evaluation Framework for public health practitioners, particularly among tribal organizations working to prevent opioid overdoses.

Full Bio

Angela Gaffney joined the Seven Directions team as a Senior Research Coordinator in 2022. Angela specializes in evaluation design and implementation as well as providing technical assistance to program staff and leadership.

Jacob Fong-Gurzinsky, MS

Jacob Fong-Gurzinsky, MS

Research Coordinator

jefg@uw.edu

Jacob received an MS degree in the UW School of Public Health's Epidemiology Department. He is interested in research on the social determinants of health, as well as the human gut microbiome.

Full Bio

Jacob has done research in evolutionary biology and public health. He is excited to be working with Seven Directions and increasing his skillset. Jacob is primarily involved with the research study Indigenous Healing + Health Systems: Revitalizing Inherent Alignment.

Jamie Lan

Jamie Lan

Research Coordinator

jamvlan@uw.edu

Jamie Lan (she/her) joined Seven Directions as a Research Coordinator after working with the team as a student intern. She is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Public Health. At Seven Directions, Jamie works on the Tribal Opioid Overdose Prevention Project, as well as on substance use data and general communications projects.

Full Bio

Jamie is Chinese and Taiwanese American and was born and raised in the Seattle area. In a few years, she intends to pursue an MPH with interests in epidemiology, community health, and implementation science. Outside of work, she enjoys being outside in the sun, learning to crochet, and spending time with family and friends.

Tia 'Tee' Benally, MPH

Tia 'Tee' Benally, MPH

Research Coordinator

tbenally@uw.edu

Tia “Tee” Benally (she/her), MPH, is Diné (Navajo) and White Mountain Apache originally from New Mexico (NM). Tee graduated from the University of Washington (UW) in June 2022 with her Master’s in Public Health from the Community – Oriented Public Health Practice program. She is currently a Research Coordinator with Seven Directions and works collaboratively with others on various projects but focuses on the Indigenous Public Health Leaders training program and another project related to Indigenous Social Determinants of Health.

Full Bio

Prior to moving to Seattle, Tee worked in areas specific to diabetes prevention and commercial tobacco control and prevention. She has worked with the 19 Pueblos, Apache tribes and Navajo Nation in NM by providing trainings, presentations, content specific tool kits, health education curriculum, and policy development and advocacy.

As a graduate student, Tee completed her Capstone / thesis project with the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health at Washington State University. Her project included working alongside her previous mentor and advisor Ka’imi Sinclair, PhD, MPH, to conduct a secondary data analysis for the Strong Men, Strong Communities research study. This analysis focused on various body composition factors attributed to the increase risk for type 2 diabetes, including the consideration for other variables such as, historical trauma, tribal crit theory, socioeconomic status, behavioral health, and the inclusion of protective factors. The product for this project included, a final report comprised of an executive summary, evidence – based findings, and recommendations for change and future research.

Growing up in a strong matriarchal home Tee was taught to honor her ancestors, respect her culture, and value her community. She continues to implement these values by ensuring healthy equity for tribal communities is achieved through a data sovereignty lens. This includes data being representative, collected, and cared for by fellow Native researchers. As well as the woven connection between data analysis and lived experiences to support future program and policy development and advocacy.

Tee continues to work with her community by serving as a Co-Chair for the New Mexico Allied Council on Tobacco, a statewide coalition. As well as other research project partnerships between UW and Navajo Nation. During her free time, Tee enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, traveling, beading, exploring Seattle’s coffee shops, and sports. #GoDawgs

Jessica Kipp

Jessica Kipp

Research Coordinator

jesskipp@uw.edu

Jessica Kipp (she/they) is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe and was born and raised in Browning, Montana. Jessica is a graduate of the University of Montana, receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is currently a Research Coordinator at Seven Directions and works on the Tribal Opioid Overdose Prevention Project.

Full Bio

Jessica Kipp (she/they) is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe and was born and raised in Browning, Montana. Jessica is a graduate of the University of Montana, receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is currently a Research Coordinator at Seven Directions and works on the Tribal Opioid Overdose Prevention Project.

Kase Cragg, MSW, MPH

Kase Cragg, MSW, MPH

Research Coordinator

kcragg@uw.edu

Kase Cragg (they/he) is a trans-nonbinary Research Coordinator at Seven Directions, where they work on the Tribal Opioid Overdose Prevention Project. Kase graduated from UW in 2022 with their MPH in the Social and Behavioral Sciences concentration and an MSW in Community-Centered Integrative Practice. Kase is a mental health and SUD counselor by training, and their lived experience as a peer strongly informs their work.

Full Bio

Kase is Scottish and Irish, and grew up in several places throughout the Midwest, primarily Wisconsin. Their entry into the world of public health was through environmental justice work alongside the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and by working as a harm reduction advocate in Chicago. As a graduate student, Kase’s research focused on social determinants of health, the impact of trauma on access to health care, and health equity among 2SLGBTQ+ populations. They provide support to Birth Includes Us, a research study exploring the birthing and family-building experiences of the queer and transgender community in the U.S. and Canada. Kase lives in Seattle with their partner Quetzie and cat Dale Cooper—in their free time they can be found playing an instrument or Dungeons & Dragons.

Meg MacDonald, PhD

Meg MacDonald, PhD

Research Coordinator

mmacdo@uw.edu

Meg (she/her) joined Seven Directions in November 2023 as a Research Coordinator. She also works as a Research Coordinator with the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute at the University of Washington School of Social Work. Dr. MacDonald has worked at the UW for just over 20 years, starting at the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. She has a PhD in American History and American Studies from Indiana University.

Full Bio

Meg (she/her) joined Seven Directions in November 2023 as a Research Coordinator. She also works as a Research Coordinator with the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute at the University of Washington School of Social Work. Dr. MacDonald has worked at the UW for just over 20 years, starting at the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. She has a PhD in American History and American Studies from Indiana University.

Students

Adam Adelstein

Adam Adelstein

Student Intern

afa9jj@uw.edu

Adam (He/Him) is a first-year graduate student at the University of Virginia, pursuing an MPH. Adam is from the Washington D.C area. Adam predominantly works to maintain and update the Seven Directions website, organizing its layout and improving the end-user experience.

Full Bio

Adam is currently pursuing an MPH degree and then attend medical school to help expand medical access in rural communities. Adam enjoys fly fishing, skiing, playing the bass guitar, and spending time with his dog, Axel.



Marina Van Pelt

Marina Van Pelt

Practicum Student

mvanpelt@uw.edu

Marina (Cochiti Pueblo/Umatilla) is a second-year Master of Public Health graduate student at the University of Washington. At Seven Directions, Marina is assisting in the Canoe Journeys: Climate Change, Culture, & Healing for Native Youth pilot research study.

Full Bio

Marina (Cochiti Pueblo/Umatilla) is a second-year Master of Public Health graduate student at the University of Washington. At Seven Directions, Marina is assisting in the Canoe Journeys: Climate Change, Culture, & Healing for Native Youth pilot research study.

Steven Nez

Steven Nez

Capstone Student

sdnez@uw.edu

Steven (Diné and Oneida) is currently a second year Master of Public Health graduate student at the University of Washington. His program is the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) and is a capstone student who works in partnership with Seven Directions. His capstone project will be analyzing data collected from the 2023 Canoe Journey. Steven will be utilizing a strengths-based approach to help develop a health communications campaign to help Indigenous youth conceptualize their health and wellbeing through the connection to cultural activities.

Full Bio

Steven (Diné and Oneida) is currently a second year Master of Public Health graduate student at the University of Washington. His program is the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) and is a capstone student who works in partnership with Seven Directions. His capstone project will be analyzing data collected from the 2023 Canoe Journey. Steven will be utilizing a strengths-based approach to help develop a health communications campaign to help Indigenous youth conceptualize their health and wellbeing through the connection to cultural activities.