Strength in the face of challenge: Youth suicide prevention research among the White Mountain Apache and the Navajo Nation in the time of COVID-19
June 29, 2021
3:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. ET
About the Webinar
The two-part webinar will showcase the NIMH commitment to community-based youth suicide prevention research with the White Mountain Apache Tribe including dissemination to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Fort Peck reservation, Hualapai Tribe, Navajo Nation, and San Carlos Apache Tribe. The webinar will show the complexity and duration of NIMH funding in this area, the ways in which the different studies are integrated, and how this line of research has progressed over a long-term tribal-academic partnership. The first section, led by Allison Barlow and Novalene Goklish, will be about 20 minutes long and will describe the health disparities facing Native communities as well as their strengths. The focus will be on behavioral and mental health issues and their intersection with COVID-19.
The second part of the webinar will be anchored by Mary Cwik and Allison Barlow, who will describe the U19 Hub (U19 MH11313), which blends both a Western evidence-based risk reduction approach that was culturally adapted with a culturally grounded protective factor-based intervention to reduce the burden of youth suicide, in a rigorous randomized controlled trial (RCT) that allows understanding of which combinations of interventions work best for whom. The webinar will also describe the work of the U19 supplements to support further research and intervention needs identified by tribal partners and that support junior Indigenous investigators, led by Emily Haroz and Jerreed Ivanich.
About the Speakers
Allison Barlow, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.A.
Johns Hopkins University (U19 Hub Co-PI)
Dr. Allison Barlow is Director of Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, which she joined the year it was founded in 1991. She is also a Senior Scientist in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal of her work for the past three decades has been to partner with tribal communities to create effective public health innovations to address behavioral, mental health, and educational disparities for and with Native American children and families. In this realm, prevention of youth and young adult suicide prevention has been a core component of her research and service portfolio since 1993. An important focus has been to work and learn with tribes to design strengths-based interventions that promote tribal sovereignty and the sustainability and scalability of suicide prevention interventions. She is increasingly focused on intergenerational approaches to primary prevention, including early childhood home-visiting, youth entrepreneurship mentorship models, and engagement of elders with at-risk adolescents to promote culture-based pathways to mental health and wellbeing. Dr. Barlow earned the Martin Luther King Social Justice Award in 2007 from Johns Hopkins University and in 2008 from Dartmouth College for her work to address social and health inequities in the U.S. She also received the Indian Health Service Director’s Special Recognition Award in 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics Native American Advocacy Award in 2019, and was a national finalist representing the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health for the Hearst Population Prize in 2020.
Mary Cwik, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University (U19 Hub Co-PI)
Dr. Mary F. Cwik is a Licensed Psychologist and an Associate Scientist at the Center for American Indian Health in the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She has a joint appointment in Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Cwik has conducted research in suicide, substance use, and trauma, focusing on preventing Native American mental health disparities for over a decade. Dr. Cwik’s research, in collaboration with the White Mountain Apache Tribe, has helped to identify unique risk factors impacting these disparities, the importance of protective factors including cultural identity, and promising interventions associated with a reduction in the Apache suicide rate. She has expertise in community academic partnerships, developing mental health interventions for different cultural contexts, training community mental health specialists, screening, surveillance (Apache model recognized by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), IHS and the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), mixed methods designs, RCTs, and Emergency Department settings. In addition to the portfolio of research described in the webinar, Dr. Cwik also is a co-PI on a competitive RADxUP supplement – “Protecting Native Families from COVID-19” funded by NIMH. Dr. Cwik has received several teaching excellence citations and has served on the American Psychological Association (APA) Committee on Human Research, Suicide Prevention Resource Center steering committee, and the Zero Suicide National Implementation Team for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Center for American Indian Health
Mr. Mitchell Garcia joined the Whiteriver behavioral health team in January of 2020. He is a tribal member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
Novalene Goklish, M.S.
Senior Research Associate
Johns Hopkins University, White Mountain Apache Tribal Member
Novalene Goklish has worked as a behavioral interventionist for Johns Hopkins and the Apache Tribe for over 17 years. She has worked on all behavioral intervention projects including teaching parenting to young Apache women who are pregnant and coping skills to Apache youth who made a recent suicide attempt. She oversees day-to-day activities of Natural Helpers and facilitates local community advisory board meetings and Elders Council activities. She has been certified as an ASIST trainer and conducts regular ASIST trainings in her community. She also is the Center’s primary liaison to the Tribal Council and Tribal Health Board.
Emily Haroz, Ph.D., M.A.
Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Emily E. Haroz is a psychiatric epidemiologist by training, with expertise in research design and methodology and implementation science. During her doctoral training she has worked extensively with the Applied Mental Health Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on studying the effectiveness of task-shifted mental health interventions in violence-affected communities. More recently, Dr. Haroz serves as the Director of Mental and Behavioral Health Research Methods at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, where she works on projects related to suicide prevention research. Dr. Haroz has a K01 award from NIMH focused on the implementation and sustainability of suicide prevention programing in partnership with American Indian communities.
Jerreed Ivanich, Ph.D.
Colorado School of Public Health
Dr. Jerreed Ivanich is a member of the Metlakatla Indian Community (Tsimshian) of Alaska. He is dedicated to health research for North American Indigenous (Alaska Native, American Indian, First Nations, Native Hawaiian) populations. Dr. Ivanich is an Assistant Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health. His work meets at the intersections of prevention science, social network analysis, and adolescent health.
Center for American Indian Health
Ms. Cindy Kaytoggy is a Research Program Assistant with the Center for American Indian Health. She joined the Whiteriver behavioral health team in April of 2016. She is a tribal member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
Victoria O’Keefe, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Dr. O’Keefe is a member of the Cherokee and Seminole Nations of Oklahoma and is the Mathuram Santosham Endowed Chair in Native American Health at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. O’Keefe is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of International Health, an Associate Director at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, and a Licensed Psychologist. Dr. O’Keefe’s community-engaged research with Indigenous youth and communities focuses on strengths-based and culturally informed suicide prevention, mental health promotion, and wellness. Dr. O’Keefe has a K01 award from NIMH focused on an upstream, culturally grounded, universal school-based youth suicide prevention intervention with tribal community partners.
About the Moderator
Dawn Morales, Ph.D.
Chief, Rural and AI/AN Mental Health Programs
Office of Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity (ODWD)
National Institutes of Mental Health, NIH
Dr. Dawn Morales is currently the Program Chief for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Rural Mental Health Research. She works within the Office for Disparities Research Workforce Diversity (ODWD) in the Office of the Director at NIMH. The ODWD helps with priority-setting for research funding and identifies trends and gaps in the areas of mental health disparities. Prior to joining the NIH, she served as a research statistician at a Veterans Administration Hospital Research Unit in South Carolina, where she served on a wide range of projects including pharmacy, nursing, heart surgery, oral health, cancer genetics, and mental health. Her professional expertise and publications on center on health disparities, community-level social determinants of health, special populations, data science, valid use of statistical techniques, and how policy can influence sound choices in methodological and analytic strategies and improve replicability.