Colloquium Participants: Global Group Tackles Indigenous Health
Doris Cook has done extensive work in developing research ethics protocols for health research projects involving Canada’s First Nations peoples. Between 2003 and 2007, she was the Manager, Aboriginal Ethics Policy Development in the Ethics Office, CIHR where she coordinated the development of the new Aboriginal research guidelines. Prior to the assignment with the CIHR, she spent 10 years in the Policy Division at Health Canada where she was the lead analyst on files such as ethics, genetics and assisted human reproduction. She was part of the Canadian delegation that negotiated UNESCO’s Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights and represented Canada at the Council of Europe’s Standing Committee on Ethics. She has recently provided advice and assistance on the development of draft guidelines on access and benefit sharing for accessing Aboriginal traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources in Canada. She is also involved in ethics review at the community level in her First Nation community. Doris is a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, a territory that comprises parts of the state of New York and the two Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Theresa Ann Cullen, M.D., M.S., is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Director of the Office of Information Technology for the Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. As CIO, Dr. Cullen oversees a diverse range of agency functions in information systems planning, development, and management. Dr. Cullen is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and holds the rank of Captain.
Dr. Cullen began her IHS career in 1984 as a General Medical Officer at the IHS Hospital in San Carlos, Arizona, where she served as the Maternal Child Health Coordinator, EMS Coordinator, and the Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Coordinator. From 1986 to 1988, she served as the Tucson Program Area Maternal Child Health Coordinator and Area HIV Coordinator at the Sells IHS Hospital in Sells, Arizona. Dr. Cullen returned to the IHS following post graduate work, as a General Medical Officer and Clinical Director at the Sells IHS Hospital from 1991 to 1999. She directed the Department of Clinical Services, oversaw health care to the Tohono O’Odham population, provided administrative oversight to field and school clinics, and managed clinical performance improvement activities. From 1999 to July 2006, Dr. Cullen served the IHS as the OIT Senior Medical Informatics Consultant in Tucson, Arizona. In this position, she served as the RPMS Program Manager, Physician/Clinical Advisor, and the IHS lead on interagency agreements with National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Administration for Children and Families.
Among Dr. Cullen’s numerous honors are the Meritorious Service Medal; Outstanding Service Medal; Achievement Medal; Commendation Medal; Unit Citation Medal; Davies Award for Public Health from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society; HHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service for the Intradepartmental Team for the FY03 Accelerated Financial Audit and Reporting and the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality Health Information Technology Group-2004; and the IHS Director’s Award. Dr. Cullen has also authored numerous publications during her career.
After receiving a bachelor of philosophy and biology degree from Johnston College in Redlands, California, in 1978, Dr. Cullen earned a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, in Tucson, Arizona. In 2001, she earned a master of science degree in administrative medicine and population health from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Cullen is Board Certified in Family Practice and has a certification in Addiction Medicine from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Associate Professor Jacinta Elston, an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman from north Queensland in Australia is a descendent of the Kalkadoon people of north-west Queensland. She is a master’s graduate with Public Health and Tropical Medicine qualifications from the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences at James Cook University. Her Masters was received in 1998 and her Diploma in 1994.
Prof Elston Chairs the James Cook University Medical School’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Selection Committee, and is a current member of the Research Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia), having previously served on the NHMRC’s Research Agenda Working Group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Jacinta is also a independent ministerial appointee to the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, and has served on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council.
Prof Elston holds the position of Associate Dean Indigenous Health, in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences at James Cook University in Townsville., Australia.
Ms. Gonnella Frichner, Esq., Snipe Clan, Onondaga Nation, Haudenosaunee, Iroquois Confederacy, is President and founder of the American Indian Law Alliance in New York, a lawyer and activist, whose academic and professional life has been devoted to the pursuit of human rights for Indigenous peoples. Recently, she was brought forward by Indigenous nations, peoples, and communities and appointed as the North American Regional Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2008-2011) by the President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree, magna cum laude, from St. John’s University in NYC, and her Juris Doctor from the City of New York Law School at Queens College, where she is a member of the Board of Visitors. Ms. Gonnella Frichner also sits on the Board of Directors and serves as legal counsel to the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team, international competitors at the World Cup level representing the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor of American Indian history, law, and human rights.
In 1987, shortly after graduation from law school, she served as a delegate for and was of legal counsel to the Haudenosaunee at the UN Sub-Commission on the Human Rights/Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva, Switzerland. Since that time, Ms. Gonnella Frichner has actively participated in international forums for Indigenous peoples. She has worked closely with elders from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (especially the Onondaga nation) and the Lakota Nation (through the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council). Her most recent efforts were focused on the process of the establishment of the Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues, and the negotiation processes concerning adoption of the “UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” and the proposed OAS “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
For her work with Indigenous peoples, Ms. Gonnella Frichner has been honored with (to name just a few) the Harriet Tubman Humanitarian Achievement Award, the Female Role Model of the Year (one of 10) of the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Thunderbird Indian of the Year Award, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the NY County Lawyers Association Award for Outstanding Public Service. Most recently, she was a recipient of the Alston Bannerman Fellowship. She sits on several boards, including the Seventh Generation Fund and the Boarding School Healing Project.
Dr. Galloway was appointed to the position of RHA on March 6th, 2007 by the Assistant Secretary of Health (ASH) and is the lead federal physician, the principal federal public health official and the senior USPHS officer for Region V, which encompasses the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Dr. Galloway serves as the Department’s principal representative for public health in the field for this region. Dr. Galloway provides advice on matters of health care and public health and participates in policy development and implementation at the regional and national levels. As the Regional Health Administrator, Dr. Galloway’s leadership responsibilities include disease prevention, health promotion, women’s and minority health, the reduction of health disparities, the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Medical Reserve Corps, pandemic influenza and emergency planning. He is actively involved in the push for enhanced access to quality health care.
Dr. Galloway was also appointed by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response as the Senior Federal Official for Pandemic Influenza and Bioterrorism for Region C (covering 12 states of the Midwest and west). Dr. Galloway is now an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern College of Medicine. He was previously assigned to the University of Arizona where he remains an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the College of Medicine as well as an Associate Professor of Public Health in the College of Public Health. As Director of the Native American Cardiology Program prior to coming to Chicago, Dr. Galloway organized and provided direct cardiac care to Native Americans in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California and New Mexico. He was the senior cardiologist nationally for the Indian Health Service and the director of the National Native American CVD Prevention Program.
Dr. Galloway works with the American College of Cardiology in its efforts with the American Diabetes Association in the “Make The Link” Program, an educational and public health approach focusing on the link between diabetes and heart disease. For this work, Dr. Galloway received the national American Diabetes Association’s 2003 C. Everett Koop Award for Health Promotion and Awareness on behalf of the American College of Cardiology. He is also involved in a number of Tribally requested research initiatives, including the Strong Heart Study and the SANDS (Stop Atherosclerosis in Native Diabetics) Study and is a founder and active leader in the ‘Pathways Into Health’ tribal, academic and federal and tribal collaboration for the development and education of American Indian and Alaska Native health care professionals utilizing the strengths of distance learning, cultural integration and interprofessional education. He is also a co- founder and leader in the large collaborative entitled “Building A Healthier Chicago,” an urban wellness intervention being developed as a national model.
Bette Jacobs has served as dean of Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS) since 1999.
During her tenure, Jacobs has overseen a substantial growth in the school’s research portfolio, the recruitment of high profile scholars, and the establishment of four vibrant academic departments in Health Systems Administration, Human Science, International Health, and Nursing.
Jacobs has led the school through significant improvements in key facilities, including the full restoration of St. Mary’s Hall, the NHS home on Georgetown University’s campus; the addition of the O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center; and the opening of the Discovery Center. In 2006, NHS and Georgetown University Law Center announced their co-founding of the Linda and Timothy O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.
In addition, Jacobs continues to publish in her field, which involves children with disabilities, maternal health, healthy equity, and health among American Indian communities. She is currently among a group of researchers on a five-year R01 grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study, “Preventing Child Neglect in High Risk Mothers.”
From 1997-2000, Jacobs was president of the National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association. She remains active in many professional organizations, including the American Association of Mental Retardation, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Nurses, National Alaska Native American Indian Nurse Association, American Public Health Association, National Council of University Research Administrators, Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations (treasurer). In 2007, she also became of a member of an advisory council of the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Multicultural Literacy Campaign. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN).
Dr. Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez was born in Mexico City in 1965. He obtained his Medical Doctor degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He did his residency in Pediatrics at the National Institute of Pediatrics and earned his PhD degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, USA. He received his diploma in business administration from the IPADE Business School.
Dr. Jimenez-Sanchez is Director General of the National Institute of Genomic Medicine of Mexico, Professor of Genomic Medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Investigator of the Mexican Health Foundation. He is affiliate member to the Institute of McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University. In August 2003, he was elected Founder President for the Mexican Society of Genomic Medicine and served as President of the I and II National Congresses of Genomic Medicine in 2004 and 2006.
Dr. Jimenez-Sanchez is a founder member of the National Commission for the Human Genome in Mexico and member of the Mexican Academy of Pediatrics, the Mexican Society of Pediatrics, the Mexican Association of Human Genetics, and the Mexican Society of Biochemistry. In 2007, became member of the Board of Directors, P3G (Public Population Projects in Genetics) International Consortium, Canada. In 2007, he was elected Chairman of the Working Party on Biotechnology at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
He is the leading investigator in the Mexican Genomic Diversity Project and the Mexican Medical Resequencing Initiative. His current research focuses on the study of human disease causing genes, production of animal models for the study of human diseases and the development of genomic medicine in Mexico. He is Course Director in following graduate courses: “Introduction to Genomic Medicine”, “Genomic Applications to Clinical Pediatrics” and “Genomics in Internal Medicine”, first of its kind in Latin America. Dr. Jimenez-Sanchez’ work has resulted in the publication of articles and chapters in specialized journals and books. He received the Research in Pediatrics Award of the Society for Pediatric Research in 1999. Along with his colleagues David Valle and Barton Childs, he produced the first medical analysis of the human genome, published with the first draft of the human genome in Nature in 2001. He received the National Award in Clinical Investigation “Dr. Miguel Otero” from the Government of Mexico. In April of 2003, he was appointed Silanes Professor in Genomic Medicine. In 2004, he received the Golden Masters Award from the International Forum of Business Administration.
Dr. Mala received his Doctor of Medicine and Surgery (MD) from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara in 1976 and a Master’s Degree of Public Health (MPH) from Harvard University in 1980. He has actively pursued his career in Public Health and Health Administration both in Alaska as well as internationally in the circumpolar countries.
As the first Secretary General of the International Union of Circumpolar Health, he worked extensively in northern countries which resulted in his founding the Circumpolar Health Institute at the University of Alaska at Anchorage. During that time, he was awarded a NIH Fogarty US-USSR Fellowship to work in the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Medical Sciences at Novosibirsk. In the year 2000, he was elected a member of the Russian Siberian Academy of Polar Medicine.
In 1990, he joined the Cabinet of Alaska Governor Walter J. Hickel to become the first Alaska Native Commissioner of Health and Social Services. The Department had two thousand employees and a billion dollar budget. It included seven divisions: social services, juvenile corrections, public health and mental health as well as public assistance, medical assistance and substance abuse prevention.
In 2001, Dr. Mala was elected President of the national Association of American Indian Physicians and in 2008 was elected by his peers as “Indian Physician of the Year”. He also served on the Council of Public Representatives of the National Institutes of Health in 2002 and continues to serve as an advisor on Native American issues to various NIH Institutes and Centers as well as a grant reviewer.
Currently Dr. Mala has been at Southcentral Foundation for the past decade serving as Director of Traditional Healing at the Alaska Native Medical Center and Director of Tribal Relations at SCF. SCF is the Alaska Native health corporation that serves the Anchorage area as well as 55 villages. He assists the President of SCF in tribal negotiations as well as representing Native American concerns at NIH.
As an Alaska Native Inupiat Eskimo enrolled in the Village of Buckland as well as the Northwest Arctic Native Association (NANA) in Kotzebue, he integrates those values with his Russian heritage to assist other Native people to “walk in two worlds with one spirit”. He lectures on circumpolar medicine as well as the role of Native Americans in health research. His father was Ray Mala, the first Native American film star whose credits included the Oscar winning film “Eskimo” (1932). He has two children who are in California working in the film and television industry.
He is a frequent visitor to Hawaii collaborating with the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at Honolulu.
Clifton A. Poodry is the Director of the Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) Division at the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), NIH. He is responsible for developing and implementing NIGMS policies and plans for minority research and research training programs. He also serves as a liaison between NIGMS and NIH, other federal agencies and the scientific community.
Prior to assuming this position in April of 1994, Dr. Poodry had been a Professor of Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he also served in several administrative capacities. As a professor, Dr. Poodry was involved with minority student development through the NIH sponsored Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) and Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Programs. Over the years, he also served on the NIH review committees for both programs.
As a Program Director for Developmental Biology at the National Science Foundation, Poodry developed the minority supplement initiative that was copied widely at NSF and later at NIH.
Dr. Poodry is a native of Tonawanda Seneca Indian Reservation in Western New York. He earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in Biology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and received a PhD in Biology from Case Western Reserve University. He was the 1995 recipient of the Ely S. Parker Award from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society for contributions in science and service to the American Indian community. In 1999 he received an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the State University of New York.
Dr. Rotimi is the Director of the Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health (CRGGH), whose mission is to advance research into the role of culture, lifestyle, genetics and genomics in health disparities. Dr. Rotimi develops genetic epidemiology models and conducts population genetics research that explores the patterns and determinants of common complex diseases in the African diaspora and other human populations.
A key focus of Dr. Rotimi’s research is understanding the triangular relationship between obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, which together account for more than 80% of the health disparity between African Americans and European Americans. Genetic epidemiology models developed by his group are helping to address whether high disease rates are the result of exposure to environmental risk factors, genetic susceptibility, or an interaction between the two.
Dr. Rotimi has been extensively involved in a number of genetic epidemiology projects that are being conducted in several African countries and in the United States. These projects have included the Africa America Diabetes Mellitus (AADM) study, the Howard University Family Study, the Genetics of Obesity in Blacks Study, and the Engagement of African Communities for the International HapMap Project.
Dr. Rotimi’s group is engaged in the first genome-wide scan of an African American cohort, with the goal of identifying genes associated with obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. More than 2,000 participants from multigenerational African American families are enrolled in this large-scale genetic epidemiology study. In collaboration with investigators at the Coriell Institute for Biomedical Research, this research will explore how the genome-wide association study (GWAS) approach can inform complex disease mapping in a genetically admixed population such as African Americans.
Dr. Rotimi’s group is also participating in the Black Women’s Health Study, a national longitudinal study begun in 1995 to determine the underlying cause of selected illnesses in black women. It includes 59,000 women aged 21 to 69 at the time of enroLL.M.ent. Over 25,000 DNA samples have been processed to date, and the data derived from these samples are being used in a number of scientific investigations, including those examining the genetic bases of cancer, diabetes and lupus.
Since much of his research activities are focused on vulnerable populations, Dr. Rotimi is collaborating with investigators at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Ibadan in Nigeria to study issues related to informed consent in genetics studies. These efforts are investigating whether subjects in genetics studies perceive their participation as voluntary, and whether consented individuals understand the purpose of the genetic studies in which they are participating.
Rodrigue Takoudjou, SJ is a priest of the Jesuit Order in the Catholic Church. Fr. Takoudjou was born on October 23, 1973 in Ndoungué - Cameroon. Rodrigue completed his elementary and secondary studies in Cameroon and obtained a BS in chemistry from the “University of Yaounde I”. Rodrigue also has a BA in philosophy from the “Faculté de Philosophy St Pierre Canisius” in Kinshasa - Congo, and a BA in theology from the “Universidad Pontificia Comillas” in Madrid - Spain. Rodrigue recieved a MS in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University and is currently a PhD candidate in pharmacology at the same institution. Fr. Takoudjou taught physics and chemistry to 8th grade students in Chad for two years, and did intensive work with traditional healers of the same country. Fr. Takoudjou was initiated to the therapeutic virtues of more than 50 tropical plants, which he subsequently used to treat many patients. Fr. Takoudjou gave lectures on Introduction to pharmacology at the Jesuit medical school “Le Bon Samaritain” in Chad during the summer of 2007, and is assigned to conduct research and teachings at the same institution after the completion of his Studies in the United States.
Professor Wronski’s career focus has been on the development of health workforce and health infrastructure in northern Australia and the broader western Pacific and south-east Asian regions, within university, health system and Aboriginal Medical Service settings.
He has been President and Chair of key national advocacy organizations including the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Australian Council of Pro Vice-Chancellors and Deans of Health Sciences. In addition, he was the first Medical Director of the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Ltd, and in conjunction with Gracelyn Smallwood, was the principal author of the Interim Set of Goals and Target in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. He was a practicing procedural clinician in the Kimberley region until 1992.
He has been responsible for the introduction of a suite of health professional programs at James Cook University at undergraduate and postgraduate levels that target workforce shortages in Indigenous, rural and remote communities including medicine (the first new medical school established in Australia in 25 years), nursing, pharmacy, occupational therapy, medical laboratory science, sport and exercise science, clinical exercise physiology, physiotherapy, speech pathology, veterinary science and dentistry.
There has been concomitant development of research activities focusing on tropical health and medicine, tropical veterinary science, Indigenous health and the health of underserved populations: Development of research expertise and capacity in immunogenetics, cellular immunology and neurobiology. Established research programs include tropical microbiology, parasitology, tropical veterinary science, zoonoses, comparative genomics, tropical public health and Indigenous health; Development of an Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine to address tropical health and biosecurity issues; Development of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at James Cook University as part of the Federal government’s Public Health Education and Research Program. This public health program provides Australia’s only medical training program in Tropical Medicine and has developed postgraduate training in disaster and refugee medicine.
In parallel, he has played an active role in the development of health workforce strategies for underserved populations through: involvement in key national committees on the medical , nursing, allied health and Indigenous health workforce; participation in the development of national goals and targets for Indigenous health; professional organisations such as, Chair of the Australian Council of Pro-Vice Chancellors and Deans of Health Sciences (2005 - present ), President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (2000 - 2003), education committees of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, and Council of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine; convening the “Tropical Triangle” alliance of health and medical educational organisations in North Queensland, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste.