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2024 SPEAKERS

Aaron Surma

Executive Director
NAMI Juneau
Speaker Bio
Aaron Surma has spent the last 25 years managing his mental health and appreciates each opportunity to share that experience with others.

Alice Kim

YAHA Member

Anna McGovern

Program Specialist
Alaska Children’s Trust
Speaker Bio
Anna McGovern is an Afterschool Program Specialist at the Alaska Afterschool Network, a program of the Alaska Children’s Trust. She originates from Massachusetts and is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross. Per millennial typecasts, she found herself not using her political science whatsoever, and instead found herself falling into, and in love with, education and working with youth. Over the years she has served in a variety of capacities ranging from teacher, afterschool provider, camp counselor, youth coalition leader and a coach. In 2014, her and her family found themselves in Alaska, and quickly saw their “just three years!” plans rapidly disintegrating. Anna joined the Alaska Afterschool Network team in 2019. While not training on Positive Youth Development topics, she can be found chasing after her 5- and 3-year-old boys, sneaking in a good book or workout, and enjoying the outdoors.

Crystalyn Lemieux

Unguwat Program Manager
Alaska Native Heritage Center

Dr. Diane McEachern

Professor
University of Alaska Fairbanks-Kuskokwim Campus

Speaker Bio
Dr. Diane McEachern is PC CARES developer and Co-PI with Dr. Lisa Wexler. She has been a social worker and University of Alaska Assistant Professor in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Alaska for over 25 years. Diane started as an itinerant school social worker for LKSD and for the past 20 years as rural human service/social work professor for the University of Alaska Fairbanks-Kuskokwim Campus. She is also an ASIST master trainer.

Dixie St. John

Sources of Strength Youth Suicide Prevention Program Adult Advisor
Kenai Peninsula borough School District
Speaker Bio
Dixie St. John is the school nurse at Kenai Middle School and adult advisor for the youth suicide prevention program, Sources of Strength, for our school.

Dr. Adam Grove

President
Alaska Brain Injury Consortium
Speaker Bio
Dr. Adam Grove is a Naturopathic, family-practice doctor based in Anchorage, specializing in children and adults with neurological challenges. He emphasizes a whole-person focus with attention to accurate diagnosis and holistic treatment for brain-based issues. He works with people of all ages experiencing symptoms of ADD/ADHD, Autism, Brain injury and the like. He approaches each patient individually using treatments which are the least invasive, have the lowest chance of adverse effects and are the most effective. These include nutrition, herbs, supplements, neuro-feedback, cognitive training, craniosacral and other physical therapies. Dr. Grove received his doctorate from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington in 2002. He also holds a Masters of Arts degree in Soviet Area Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. He is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, member of the Alaska Brain Injury Council, founder of the Alaska Brain Injury Consortium and a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.

Dr. Jenny Poon

Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of Alaska Anchorage

Elaine de Mello

Director of Suicide Prevention Services
NAMI NH

Speaker Bio
Elaine de Mello, Director of Suicide Prevention Services at National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire (NAMI NH), is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in the mental health field since 1978 as a clinical program manager in inpatient and community settings. Elaine also served as an emergency services clinician and director of Quality Improvement. Additionally, Elaine worked for seven years as a school counselor and served on the faculty at Plymouth State University for 18 years and as a Child Impact Program teacher at Riverbend Community Mental Health Center since 1999.

Elaine has worked full time with NAMI NH since 1999 where she had a lead role in the development of the Connect Suicide Prevention and Postvention Program, a national best practice. Elaine has provided training and consultation in mental health and suicide prevention throughout the United States and Canada in a variety of settings including state and tribal entities, community coalitions, schools and campuses, health care facilities, and military and paramilitary organizations. She serves as a trainer for the NH Police Standards and Training Council, and is also a master trainer in Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk, Counseling on Access to Lethal Means and Connect. Elaine serves on the NH Suicide Fatality Review Committee and has been the co-chair of the NH Youth Suicide Prevention Assembly since 2003.
Elaine has conducted psychological autopsies through the American Association of Suicidology and assisted nationally with Zero Suicide initiatives. Elaine has been working across the state of Alaska since 2009 providing training and consultation in suicide prevention and postvention.

Eliza Posner

Director of Strategy
Alaska Children’s Trust
Speaker Bio
Eliza Posner is the Director of Strategy at the Alaska Children’s Trust, where she works towards the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect. She facilitates many of ACT’s trauma-informed trainings on topics including adverse and positive childhood experiences, the prevention of child sexual abuse, and youth mental health. Eliza originally moved to Anchorage for a nine-month fellowship in 2021, but quickly fell in love with Alaska and has been here since. She has a BA in Political Science from Northwestern University.

Elizabeth Mangini

Program Director, Military Health and Readiness Consortium
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Emilie Hollister

Youth Speaker

Gage Van Vleet

Youth Speaker

James Morton

Assistant Research Professor
University of Alaska Fairbanks

James Savage

Director of Operations
True North Recovery
Speaker Bio
James Savage is a lifelong Alaskan who grew up in the Matsu Valley. James began working in behavioral health at a relatively early age opening an assisted living home in 2009 that he still runs today. His life took a drastic turn with his introduction to substance use at a personal level after a workplace accident. As a result of his need for recovery himself at one time. James now devotes his time a Director of Operations for True North Recovery helping those that suffer from substance use disorders find their path to recovery. Combining lived experiences and education James is a leading recovery advocate in the state of Alaska. James is a current Alaska Mental Health Board Chair as well as a founding member and Chair of the Mat- Su Opioid Task force.

Jenna Larson

Wellness Project Coordinator
APIA

Speaker Bio
Jenna Larson is a Wellness Project Coordinator at Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc. Jenna spearheads the SSG Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Project at APIA and serves our veterans in the Aleutians, Pribilofs, Municipality of Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. She served as a Medical Massage Therapist for over 20 years, has educated teens in Social Studies as a High School Teacher and worked as a group therapist at a residential behavioral health institution, and is a former Youth Services Coordinator at APIA. Jenna Studied English for Secondary Ed, and Biology Pre-Med at Walla Walla University, and got her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She then received her Master of Education from Grand Canyon University. Jenna comes from a long line of maternal healers from the Pueblo, Anasazi, and Navajo tribes of the Southwest United States and Mexican and Toltec Healers from further south. Her father was of Norwegian descent with strong military ties, which is why her family settled in Alaska after the Military stationed her family here in the 70’s. Jenna teaches Mental Health First Aid and Question Persuade Refer Suicide Gatekeeper Prevention, as well as Prime for Life, alcohol misuse prevention training. She also teaches Yoga and mindfulness and is a studying Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) practitioner and hypnotherapist. She is the mother of an adult daughter and 16-year-old son, enjoys yoga, cooking, hanging out with her Chiweenie dog (Reggie Bubble), as well as paddle boarding and traveling.

Jenny Baker

Adolescent Health Program Coordinator
Youth Alliance for a Healthier Alaska
Speaker Bio
Jenny Baker is an Adolescent Health Project Coordinator for the Adolescent Health Program within the Women’s, Children’s, and Family Health Section of Alaska’s Department of Health. She has a committed interest in primary prevention, community engagement, youth voice and health equity. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alaska Pacific University in 2009. Currently, she supports the advisory and community intervention efforts of the Youth Alliance for a Healthier Alaska and coordinates the programmatic and evaluation efforts of the Teen and Unintended Pregnancy Prevention program. She has previously worked in the juvenile justice and youth enrichment fields in Oregon and in Alaska. She has been in Alaska for 18 years and is a proud mom of Kenzie, partner of Tom, and a musician who loves recreating in the outdoors.

Jesse Mike

Director, Social and Cultural Development
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc
Speaker Bio
Jesse Unaapik Mike is from Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. She is the director of social and cultural development with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI). NTI is the Inuit rights holder for Nunavut Inuit, according to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. NTI advocates for Inuit where programs, policies and services that impact Inuit are being developed or changed by the public governments.

Josh Engle

Crisis Services Program Manager
True North Recovery
Speaker Bio
I have worked at True North for over 3 years. I have worked in our crisis for the past year and half. I currently oversee all of our walk in crisis services as well as our 2 mobile crisis teams.

Josie Heyano

Integrated Mental Health Clinician
Wisdom Traditions
Speaker Bio
Josie Heyano, LMSW is a Deg Xinag Athabascan woman from Alaska. She is a Integrated Mental Health Clinician at Wisdom Traditions Counseling Services and community advocate with a passion for creating and implementing holistic and decolonized practices within service organizations to better serve Alaska Native and Indigenous people. She is driven to bring awareness to the prevalence of human trafficking in rural communities and to the intersections of MMIP and trafficking. In her work, she hopes to collaborate with communities to understand risk factors for trafficking better, create regionally-specific prevention programs, train and empower service providers to talk about trafficking and use her own experiences to inform policy for services and programs aimed at supporting trafficking survivors.Josie is a presidentially appointed member of the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, a formal platform to advise and make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policies to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF). She also serves on the advisory board of the National Center on Child Trafficking and provides Training and Technical Assistance to the Office for Victims of Crimes Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center. In 2023 she was awarded the Federal Bureau of Investigations Director’s Community Leadership Award for her service to the community of Alaska and her collective stakeholder approach to Human Trafficking prevention and intervention.Her work is done in memory of her great aunt Linda Miller, murdered in Anchorage in 1973, her case remains unsolved… and for all the girls we loved who are still waiting for justice.

Karen Tenorio

QPR Certified Trainer
Sister Sky, Inc

Speaker Bio
Karen Tenorio is a tribal member of the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos in New Mexico. In 2019, she received her master’s degree in social work and has then made it her passion to address the Mental health within Native American communities. As a Behavioral Mental Health Clinician, she has worked with her own tribes as well as other local Native American communities in New Mexico that suffer with anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug use, using different types of modalities such as EMDR, CBT, DBT and Acu-Detox.

She is currently the LMS Manager/TA Specialist and a QPR Trainer for Sister Sky Inc. Being that she is passionate about working with Native American Communities, she feels it’s important to get others trained in QPR, so they know and understand the signs of suicide.

Katie Cornwell

Executive Director
Seward Prevention Coalition
Speaker Bio
Katie has been working in the field of Prevention for over a decade. She entered into the area of prevention when she moved to Alaska and began working for the Seward Prevention Coalition in 2013. Originally hired as the Coalition Coordinator, Katie advanced into the role of Executive Director in 2017. Under Katie’s leadership, SPC has achieved significant milestones, including the establishment of its own 501(c)(3) status, the creation of a community culture of collaboration, and the tangible success of measurable change and cultural transformation within their initiatives.

Katie’s passion lies in changing the narrative surrounding childhood trauma, advocating not for resilience above adversity but for the creation of a nurturing community where youth can thrive. As a dynamic leader, Katie inspires change by emphasizing the possibilities that arise through collaboration, time, and unwavering hope.

Kayla Jurchak

School-Based Clinician
VOA Alaska
Speaker Bio
Kayla Jurchak MSW, is a School-Based Clinician with VOA Alaska located at East High-School. She moved to Alaska after graduating with her master’s in social work at the University of Alaska to join VOA’s mission of supporting teen mental health in Anchorage. Kayla has a history of working with teens and young adults in crisis at various wilderness therapy programs, and university counseling centers. Kayla is passionate about combating the teen suicide epidemic and specializes in working with adolescents and families with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and complex social concerns. In her practice, Kayla utilizes an eclectic individualized approach to best serve each client. In addition to supporting adolescent mental health in schools, Kayla also greatly enjoys recreating in the great outdoors of Alaska and spends her free time backcountry skiing, hiking with her dog, backpacking, fishing, and lapping Alyeska.

Kris Green

Person with Lived Experience
Krysalis

Lilian Montoya-Noriega

Refugee Health Promotion Manager
Catholic Social Services
Speaker Bio
Lilian Montoya was born and raised in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. Lilian arrived in Alaska in May 2006, and for the last ten years, Lilian has worked in health and social services, first as a volunteer and then as a professional

Lilian started her profession as a Reading instructor at the Alaska Literacy Program. There, she taught students how to read and write. In 2014, Lilian was offered to be part of the Peer Leader Navigator program. The program focused on health literacy and created various health education materials for individuals with English as their second language. Lilian has collaborated with different agencies to develop these materials in multiple languages.
Lilian is a certified Community Health Worker and an experienced Diabetes Prevention and Chronic Self-Management Educator Coach for the Hispanic community. She is also a Mental Health and Suicide First Aider, empowering refugees and people of other ethnicities to prioritize their well-being.

Lilian currently serves as a Refugee Health Promotion Manager for Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services (RAIS) and works with Refugee, Asylee, Victims of Trafficking and Humanitarian Parole communities. Lilian is responsible for educating refugees and immigrants on navigating the US health system and caring for their health. She conducts health education classes and provides information on various health topics, including a wellness group focusing on mental well-being to help individuals maintain good health.

Lily Taliesin

Youth Speaker

Linda Dimeff

Founder | CEO

Madison Boy

YAHA Member

Mary David


Mia Settlemyer

Youth Speaker

Natalie Hannula (Hodge)

YAHA Member

Rachael Eliason

School-Based Clinician
VOA Alaska
Speaker Bio
Rachael Eliason MSW, is a School-Based Clinician with VOA Alaska located at Russian Jack Elementary. She moved to Alaska in Fall of 2022 with her active-duty military spouse and was thrilled to join VOA’s mission in supporting youth mental health in Anchorage. Rachael received her master’s in social work at Colorado State University and has spent her career working with youth and families within the school system, focusing on wraparound services and whole persons approach. Rachael is passionate about combating the youth mental health crisis and specializes in working with youth and families impacted by traumatic life events, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, and complex social concerns. In her practice, Rachael utilizes play-based and trauma-informed approaches to best serve each individual and family. In addition to supporting youth mental health in schools, Rachael also enjoys exploring the various beauties of Alaska outdoors and spends her time seeking restorative movement through rock climbing, yoga, hiking, and kayaking.

Roberta Moto

Wellness Program Manager
Maniilaq Association
Speaker Bio
Roberta Moto is the Wellness Program Manager for Maniilaq Association. She is a tribal member of the Native Village of Deering, Alaska. Her Inupiaq name is Anausuk. She is a wife, mother of 6, and grandmother of 8. She lives and works in Deering, Alaska. Her work experience includes: ICWA Coordinator, Tribal Administrator, and Village Based Counselor. She has a Bachelors in Social Work with an emphasis in Child Welfare from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She sits on the ANCHRR Research Steering Committee and the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council. Roberta is a co-creator of PC CARES and has guided its development since the beginning. She helps train new program facilitators, leads learning circles, and mentors communities starting and sustaining PC CARES.

Sara Shinkfield

State Refugee Mental Health Manager
Alaska Office for Refugees/Catholic Social Services
Speaker Bio
Sara Shinkfield is an International and Community Development professional with over 20 years’ experience managing wellbeing programs in domestic and humanitarian contexts around the world. Specializing in protection and recovery, primarily in relation to human trafficking, displacement and sexual and gender-based violence, Sara’s career has focused on finding solutions for some of the most complex social issues within the humanitarian sector. Prior to supporting refugee mental health in US Refugee Resettlement sector, Sara directed anti-human trafficking programs in Iraq, and before this held a senior management role within Australia’s National Human Trafficking Response program. For nearly 10 years, Sara was based in Afghanistan, where she developed, implemented and managed crisis response and recovery programs for survivors of violence and exploitation. Sara speaks Pashto and holds a Certificate in Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery from Harvard University, a Masters in International Development from Deakin University and a B.A. in Communications from Columbia University.

Vickie LaFromboise

QPR Master Trainer
Sister Sky, Inc
Speaker Bio
Victoria, “Vickie”, LaFromboise has a MS in Health Education and Promotion from Montana State University -Bozeman. Ms. LaFromboise is the Director of Tribal Initiatives at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Vickie is Blackfeet from Browning, MT. Ms. LaFromboise has been a leader in the suicide prevention movement at the local, state and national level since 2005. She is a QPR Master trainer. Ms. LaFromboise has trained over 3000 QPR gate keepers across the United States. She is also trained in ASIST, SOS, Yellow Ribbon, safeTALK and Mental Health First Aid.

Ms. LaFromboise has worked with Indigenous populations all of her professional career in some sort of health capacity. Vickie is number 11 of 12 children. Although Ms. LaFromboise longed for a large family of her own she was not blessed with children. At a young age she was told by an elder she always had grandiose ideas. One of Ms. LaFromboise grandiose ideas, was that there were seven or eight generations living. In order to have this Ms. LaFromboise says, that there would be no more diabetes, heart disease, and suicides. Ms. LaFromboise says this can be done but probably not in her lifetime.