Myra Parker, JD, MPH, PhD, is an enrolled member of the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes and serves as an Assistant Professor in the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behavior in the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer for Seven Directions, as well as an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington.
She also serves as Co-Director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute’s Tribal Protocols and Ethics Division. She has worked for fourteen years on tribal public health program implementation, coordination, and research with tribal communities in Arizona, Idaho, and Washington. Prior to her work in research, she worked for five years in the policy arena within Arizona state government, in tribal governments, and with tribal working groups at the state and national level. Her research experience in public health involves Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and disparities research.
Dr. Parker serves as Co-Investigator on an ETHICS project to culturally adapt a human subjects curriculum for tribal communities; a national epidemiology research study grounded in CBPR involving twenty-five 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 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 is dedicated to community, inter-generational health and well-being that comes from a deep connection to place, people, and memory. Born and raised in Arizona, Christina has twenty years of experience as a public health practitioner, working within the U.S. and globally for tribal nations, Indigenous communities, and regional/national tribal organizations.
Christina E. Oré joins our team from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s Health Services Division where she worked on various tribal health systems strengthening initiatives: creative/strength-based wellness programs, data capacity and infrastructure, tribal research ethics and review, and performance management/ quality improvement. In 2018, she received her DrPH in public health policy and management from the University of Arizona, Zuckerman College of Public Health. She initiated an interdisciplinary minor with the Indigenous Peoples' Law and Policy program, UA Rogers College of Law, a first between the two colleges. Christina is founding member of the MEZCOPH American Indian Indigenous Health Alliance, founding board member of Red Star International, Inc., and member of the US Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network and Research Data Alliance. Christina is an Indigenous descendant from Ayacucho-Huancavelica (Peru) and Irish (Arizona). Her connection to this work is through commitments made to family, community, and Yoemem in Sonora and Arizona.
She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her family: Joseph, Munai and Tenzin. She loves to walk in the desert, dip into ephemeral water holes, hike above timberline, dive into ocean waves, make pachamancas, and spend time with her family who are in Mexico, Peru, and the U.S.
In addition to her role as a senior advisor with Seven Directions, Maya is an affiliate faculty with the University of Washington department of Sociology and a research scientist with the UW Indigenous Wellness Research Institute.
Maya's scholarship intersects sociology, public health and geography in addressing social inequities with an intention of fostering knowledge democracy and holistic approaches to wellbeing. For almost a decade, she has collaborated on several NIH-, CDC- and tribally-funded research, evaluation and technical assistance projects with multi-disciplinary cross-institutional teams investigating resiliency, cultural strength and social determinants of behavioral health and non-communicable disease disparities in the American Indian and Alaska Native, immigrant and refugee communities in the US.
Recently, Maya's research work has expanded into global arena looking at water insecurity and environmental health in Nepal. In between receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from Australia, and Master (with Fulbright scholarship) and Ph.D in Sociology from the UW, she worked with a local NGO and with UNICEF in Nepal advancing community nutrition and health.
Mays loves being outside hiking and backpacking on land. She is working on my swimming skills to be able to explore the myriads of bodies of water in the Puget Sound and beyond.
Raquel Elaine Aviles is a (Yaqui/Hiaki) Pascua Yaqui citizen of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona. Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, she dedicated herself to serving her tribe for over 20 years in various capacities over the years in a tribal public health setting.
Most recently, she served her tribe as the Associate/Deputy Director of the Health Services Division (2013) before leaving her position in January 2020 to work with Seven Directions. In her earlier position as the Pascua Yaqui Circles of Care Program Director (2001), she helped develop a System of Care model for Yaqui Children and their Families in the behavioral health system with the Yoeme communities. She has been a part of the tribe’s Systems of Care initiatives awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) throughout the years. Raquel’s career experiences have been predominantly in the area of public health, health and wellness promotion. She enjoys providing technical assistance as tribe evaluate their own systems and develop their organization.
Raquel holds a Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentration in organizational studies (BIS) and a Masters in Healthcare Innovation (MHI) from the Arizona State University. Her areas of research focused on leadership, community/team engagement and system thinking.
Leo N. Egashira, MBA, is a Japanese-American born and raised in Seattle. He is a Research Coordinator at Seven Directions at the University of Washington and has been with the team since 2018. He also has been a Research Coordinator and Newsletter Editor at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute since 2009, working primarily on research studies on Tribal Colleges and Universities.
He has been the project liaison with TCU partners and has visited communities to facilitate many on-site focus groups. Through these community visits, he has seen health disparities first-hand, 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.
On a personal note, he is an outdoor nut, hiking and going on week-long backpacks to remote corners of North America, and snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in winter locally. A non-car owner for 16 years, he bicycles Seattle’s hilly terrain daily in rain or shine.
Danielle Lucero is a citizen of the Pueblo of Isleta and is also Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She received her masters in social work and public health at the University of Washington.
Since joining Seven Directions, she has supported tribal public health capacity building work, conducted qualitative data analysis, curated and developed content for Gathering Grounds Indigenous Community of Practice and has also been the lead organizer of the Seven Directions StorySlams.
During her time as a student at UW, she interned for the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. In 2018, Danielle was selected as a National Congress of American Indian Graduate Health Fellow which focuses on strengthening the next generation of tribal public health leaders.
Outside of Seven Directions, Danielle can be found at Seattle Boxing Gym or in her apartment painting. Her most recent art series was painted while listening to the sounds of Solange, Rosanne Cash, and Eddie Rabbitt.
Sofia Poggioni Singer is an Italian-American from Bronx, NY and a Research Coordinator at Seven Directions. She is committed to addressing public health challenges affecting vulnerable communities and is interested in how history, power, and norms influence behavior and the experience and effectiveness of health interventions.
As an undergraduate, Sofia worked on strengthening the emergency medical care system for indigenous families in Paraguay, decreasing the incidence rates of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, and on neonatal health and violence against women initiatives in India. Most recently, she has been involved in the implementation of a program addressing intergenerational trauma and child mental health among Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Sofia received a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Anthropology, with a minor in Human Biology. She speaks Hindi and Italian, loves design thinking and improv, and enjoys coaching gymnastics to young girls.
Casandra grew up on the Muckleshoot Reservation in Auburn, where the social experiences and observations from their youth would later inform their academic pursuits in American Cultural Studies. In 2012, they graduated from Fairhaven College with a self-designed concentration titled “Intersections of Social and Environmental Justice.
They have since served two terms of AmeriCorps, first in Coos Bay, OR, then in Tacoma, WA, have owned and operated Pizza Pi Vegan Pizzeria on "The Ave" near the UW in Seattle, and completed a post-baccalaureate degree in economics here at the UW where they are currently a Masters student of Urban Planning.
In their free time, Casandra enjoys sampling local brews, bicycling and coordinating a summer music education program for youth: Tacoma Girls Rock. They are interested in learning more about how zoning and land use codes on sovereign lands contribute to health, and is excited to be a part of the 7 Directions Research Team.