Māhina is built and supported by an incredible and internationally renowned group of indigenous and non-indigenous scholars. Principal Investigators (PI) are intimately involved in curricular development, selection of trainees and research field site selection. They are also guided and supported by the Advisory Committee (AC) and the Scientific Mentor Network (SMN), an outstanding group of highly productive scientists from across the U.S and New Zealand, and the International Community Advisory Panel (ICAP), an incredible group of elders and community leaders who also serve as cultural consultants.
Trainees will be mentored by the Māhina PIs and members of the AC, SMN and ICAP.

Principal Investigators

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 1.02.21 PMKarina L. Walters, MSW, PhD (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), Principal Investigator and Co-Director of UW- Māhina Site is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Associate Dean for Research at the University of Washington School of Social Work, the Director of the NIMHD COE, Indigenous Wellness Research Institute at the University of Washington (1P60MD006909), an endowed University Professor, adjunct professor in the Department of Global Health, and Full Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 1.02.55 PMTeresa (Tessa) Evans-Campbell, MSW, PhD (Snohomish Tribe of Indians) Co- Principal Investigator, and Co-Director of UW- Māhina Site is the Associate Director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, and is the Director of the Research Training and Education Core for IWRI and is the Director of the MSW Program and serves on her Tribal Council. Her research interests focus on historical trauma, resistance and healing; cultural buffers of trauma; substance use and mental health; and indigenous family wellness.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 1.22.57 PM Bonnie Duran, MPH, Dr. PH (Opelousas/Coushatta), Co-Investigator, is an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health and is also one of the Directors of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (www.iwri.org). Her research areas are epidemiological survey of drug, alcohol and mental health issues and an adaptation of an alcohol harm reduction intervention for Tribal Colleges and Universities students.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 1.25.02 PMPapaarangi Reid, DipComH Otago, BSc, MBChB, DipObst, FAFPHM (Māori). Principal Investigator, Co- Director of University of Auckland (UA) Māhina Site is from the Te Rarawa region in the Far North of Aotearoa/New Zealand and is a public health physician and currently the Deputy Dean – Maori (Office of Tumuaki) and Head of Department for Maori Health (Te Kupenga Hauora Māori; TKHM), Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, at the University of Auckland.

UntitledMelani Anae, PhD (Samoan). Co- Principal Investigator, Co-Director of (UA) Māhina Site, is an anthropologist and Senior Lecturer in Pacific Studies, Postgraduate Adviser in Pacific Studies, and is a the Faculty Lead for Mauri Tangata (Wellbeing and Identity) division


Untitled.png2Brad Coombes, PhD (Kati Mamoe, Ngati Kahungunu, Māori), Co-Investigator is a geographer and Senior Lecturer in the School of Environment and co-Director of Te Whare Kura. Additionally, he is Chair and Board Member of the Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledges and Rights Commission of the International Geographical Union.


Untitled3Tracey McIntosh, PhD (Tuhoe, Māori), Co-Investigator, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and teaches in the sociology and criminology tracks; additionally, she is former Head of Department of Sociology and past Director of the Ngā Pae O Te Māramatanga National Centre of Excellence for Māori Research and Development and is one of the Te Whare Kura faculty at the University of Auckland. She is the current joint editor of Alternative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples and the MAI Journal:” A New Zealand Journal of Indigenous Scholarship.

 Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 1.41.04 PMJ. Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula, PhD (Kanaka O’iwi) Principal Investigator of UHM site, and Director of (UHM) Māhina Site, is a Clinical Psychologist, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii and Deputy Director, Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research. Dr. Koholokula has several NIH funded grants in the area of obesity and diabetes prevention among Kanaka O’iwi (Native Hawaiians).

 Untitled4Jason Maddock PhD. Co- Principal Investigator, Co-Director of (UHM) Māhina Site is an experimental psychologist and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Director of the Office of Public Health Studies, and Professor of Public Health at the University of Hawai’I at Manoa.



Advisory Committee (AC)

The AC and ICAP guides the scientific and cultural curriculum, sets an intellectual standard, and creates a reciprocal learning culture for the Māhina program.

Untitled5Julie Baldwin, MPH, PhD (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), is a Professor at Florida State University and former Chair of the Department. Dr. Baldwin’s has been PI or Co-PI on federally-funded grants from NIAAA, NIMH, NCI, and CDC, and HRSA. Her primary focus is on utilizing community-based participatory approaches to study aspects of Indigenous health and substance abuse among AIAN populations, applying psychosocial models of behavioral change to working with active drug users, and evaluating the efficacy of health prevention program for youth and families.

Untitled6John Lowe, RN, PhD, (Eastern Band of Cherokee). Dr. John Lowe is Professor and John Wymer Distinguished Professor at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Lowe developed the Cherokee Self-Reliance Model which, is being used in several intervention research projects that utilizes the traditional Talking Circle format to reduce substance abuse and other risk behaviors among Native American Indian youth. He is currently the PI of several NIH funded research projects.

Untitled7Cherryl Smith, PhD, (Ngati Apa, Whanganui, Te Aitanga a Hauiti) is the co-Director of Te Atawhai o te Ao: The Independent Māori Research Institute for Environment and Health, a community-based research institute in Whanganui, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Dr. Smith’s research focuses on the intersection of environment and health. Recent studies include: the Māori Vietnam Veterans’ project, the Grandmothers and Mokopuna intergenerational health project, and most recently as co-PI on a center grant (He Kokanga Whare) consisting of 5 Māori health-based research projects throughout New Zealand.

Untitled8Malia Villegas, PhD (Alutiiq/Sugpiaq), is the Director of the National Congress of American Indian’s (NCAI)Policy Research Center, serving as lead on projects addressing tribal research regulation, tribal public health law, and data quality. She is the PI of an NIH-funded Native American Research Center for Health (NARCH) study examining the use and impact of CBPR in Indigenous and minority communities and is a co- Core Director of an NIH-funded project with Washington University in St. Louis on diabetes-related translation research.

Indigenous Committee Advisory Panel (ICAP)

The ICAP provides cultural leadership, mentorship, and guidance on the research training curriculum and cultural mentorship protocols; identify community-based pressing topics for research in partnership with tribes and Native communities; provide feedback on developing tribally-based research protocols for inclusion in Māhina trainings. ICAP members include: Rose James, PhD, Everdina Fuli, Dr. Kaholokula and Patsy Whitefoot (Yakama/Dine’) who is the Education Committee Chair for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI), which represents the 53 tribes in the Pacific Northwest; and Dr. Carolyn “June” Strickland (Cherokee) Associate Professor in the UW School of Nursing whose research focuses on health related behavior change and prevention research.

Scientific Mentor Network

The SMN is a group of experienced, biomedical, behavioral, and social scientists with expertise in health and/or health disparities and who have extensive mentorship or leadership experience in Indigenous communities. In addition to the mentors listed below, the PIs as well as members of the AC and ICAP can also serve as mentors to trainees.

Untitled9Megan Bang, PhD (Ojibwe) is Assistant Professor in the UW Department of Educational Psychology, in the College of Education. Her work has two critical components: 1) working at the immediate and practical levels of improving teaching and learning with Indigenous youth and communities with a primary focus on science education, and 2) to conduct transformative research that deepens understandings of the relationships between culture and cognition in and across learning settings.

Alison Boyd-Ball, PhD (Colville Tribe), is Executive Director at the Child and Family Center and ProgramMulticultural Coordinator for the University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, University of Oregon. Her NIH funded research foci includes understanding post-traumatic events and how this relates to substance abuse in adolescents and their families, as well as designing effective interventions and prevention programs specifically for AIAN.

RoseRose James, PhD. (Lummi Tribe/Duwamish) is Acting Assistant Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the UW Department of Bioethics and Humanities, Center for Genomics and Healthcare Equality. Dr. James’ interests include defining best practices for education and partnerships that build research capacity among American Indians and Alaska Natives to reduce health disparities.


MichelleMichelle Johnson-Jennings, PhD (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), is Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Science and co-Founder of the RICH AIAN research center at the University of Minnesota, Duluth campus. Her research interests include American Indian healthcare disparities, prescription drug abuse, and protective factors.


NancyNancy Krieger, PhD is a Professor of Social Epidemiology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard University. She is a social epidemiologist, with a background in biochemistry, philosophy of science, history of public health, and involvement as an activist in issues involving social justice, science, and health. Her work involves: (a) etiologic studies of health inequities, (b) methods for improving monitoring of social inequalities in health, and (c) development of theoretical frameworks, including ecosocial theory, to guide work on understanding and addressing societal determinants of health. In the past year, Dr. Krieger has engaged with key Māori health researchers on research related to health inequities, at Massey University, University of Otago, and University of Auckland, and, as a result now currently serves as advisor to two funded projects, as well as a consultant to the Statistics New Zealand on measures of discrimination for their General Social Survey.

Maya Maya Magarati, PhD (Indigenous Nepali), is a IWRI health research scientist and sociologist. Her research expertise includes the sociology of education, health and immigration. She has policy experiences in both resource-poor and resource-rich settings.



SelinaSelina Mohammed, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Washington Bothell, School of Nursing. Her academic interests are anchored in the areas of social justice, community health, culture and diversity, social determinants of health, and race, class and gender. Her scholarship endeavors fall under the rubric of health disparities. She has experience working with reservation and urban-based Native communities from the Navajo Nation, the Detroit Metropolitan area, and Seattle/King County.

MyraMyra Parker, JD, PhD, (Mandan and Hidatsa) Co-Director Indigenous Protocols and Ethics Division of IWRI is a health services researcher and attorney at IWRI and the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Parker has over 10 years of public health program implementation, coordination, and research with tribal communities in Arizona, Idaho, and Washington. Her work seeks to meaningfully address the health disparities and inequity currently reflected in AIAN population health.


CynthiaCynthia Pearson, PhD, is the Associate Director the IWRI Research Core and co-directs the Methods division and is a health services researcher with expertise in trauma and HIV research and has led data collection efforts in national and international settings for the past 15 years. She has expertise in CBPR with AIAN communities, survey development, and dissemination and translation of findings.


LisaLisa Rey Thomas, PhD
, (Tlingit) Co-Director Indigenous Protocols and Ethics Division of IWRI. Dr. Thomas is an Alaska Native clinical psychologist who has been working with AIAN communities for over 20 years. She has extensive experience in research partnerships between academic institutions and AIAN Tribes to develop community based and culturally grounded interventions for reducing health disparities and promoting good health in rural and urban AIAN communities.


JaneJane Simoni, PhD, will provide the focal point for technical consultation to research project scholars and affiliates, particularly with respect to research design and development related to socio-behavioral and prevention research, treatment adherence, HIV/AIDS, and regional as well as international mental health research. Dr. Simoni will also serve as the core liaison to the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) at the UW where she serves as the Socio-behavioral and Prevention Research Core Faculty member.

DavidDavid T. Takeuchi, PhD Dr. Takeuchi has an extensive research background in the substantive and methodological aspects of health and health disparities research. He has conducted some of the largest community research studies on racial and ethnic minority groups and was Co-PI with Margarita Alegria on National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS).


MelissaMelissa Walls, PhD (Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe & Couchiching First Nation), is an Assistant Professor in the College of Liberal Arts at the Duluth Medical Institute, University of Minnesota. Dr. Walls’s work focuses on Native mental health and substance use issues, with recent efforts aimed at understanding how mental disorders affects treatment compliance and self-care among Ojibwe adults with Type 2 Diabetes. She is co-Founder of RICH AIAN Research center at University of Minnesota.

 MelanieMelanie Cheung, PhD (Ngāti Rangitihi), is currently an Eru Pomare Health Research Council fellow working jointly with Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith at Te Kotahi Research Institute, University of Waikato; and Professor Richard Faull at Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland. Her research integrates experimental neuroscience, bioethics, tikanga (ceremony/protocol) and Mātauranga (traditional Māori knowledge) to study neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Cheung has also worked extensively on developing and teaching culturally responsive biology for Māori and Pasifika undergraduate students. Dr. Cheung is the chair of ANIHKD, the Aotearoa arm of the International Network of Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development.

ErenaErana Cooper, PhD (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Hine), is a Lecturer in Kaupapa Māori Psychology in the School of Psychology, and also a Registered Clinical Psychologist. Erana teaches Māori perspectives and methods in mental health, particularly in relation to clinical psychology, in a range of undergraduate and graduate courses. She was recently a Health Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellow while undertaking her doctoral research on whānau (family)violence.

MasonSir Mason Drurie, KNZM, FRSNZ, FRANZCP (Rangitāne, Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Raukawa), Sir Mason Durie is Deputy Vice Chancellor Māori for Massey University and is Director of Psychiatry at Palmerston North Hospital. In 2010 was knighted for services to public health and Māori health. Sir Mason is actively involved in a wide range of community, family, iwi, education and health initiatives and leads the Whānau Ora Governance Group. He is the Principal Investigator on the NPM project – Fostering te pā harakeke: Advancing Healthy and Prosperous Families of Mana.

ShilohShiloh Groot, PhD is a Lecturer at the School of Psychology, University of Auckland. Her research adopts an Indigenous, community, critical and societal approach to psychology and employs qualitative methodologies. These methods may involve extensive field work, innovative visual methods for collecting data, direct observations, case conferences with staff and clients, and photo-elicitation interviews. Dr. Groot’s research interests are in Indigenous worldviews, resilience, poverty, homelessness and wellbeing.

ViliVili Nosa, PhD (Niue, Pacific Island), has a MA in Sociology and a PhD in Behavioral Science. He is a Senior Lecturer at the Center for Pacific Health, in the School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, at the University of Auckland. His research focuses on pacific health issues including ATOD use and specializes in qualitative and pacific research methods.


TeuilaTeuila Percival, MD (Pacific Islander), a community pediatrician by training, Dr. Percival is helped to establish the first School Health Centre at Otahu College and co-founded South Seas Healthcare, which she also led as the Director of Child Health. She was also involved in the establishment of TaPasefika, the first Pasifika Primary Health Care Organisation in New Zealand. She is Head of Pacific Health and Senior Lecturer at the School of Population Health at the UA where she is currently the Principal Investigator on the Pacific Child Health Indicators project in the Pacific is also involved in research into rheumatic heart disease in Samoa and respiratory tract infection in children under two in South Auckland.

LeonieLeonie Pihama, PhD (Te ātiawa, Ngāti Māhanga, Ngā Māhanga ā Tairi), is a Senior Research Fellow at the Te Kātahi Institute, University of Waikato, and Director of Māori And Indigenous Analysis Ltd, a Kaupapa Māori research company. She has a long history of involvement in Māori education, including te kāhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori (total immersion pre–schools and schools), and has published widely. Her academic awards include the inaugural Fulbright-Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Scholar Award and a Hohua Tutengaehe Post-Doctoral Scholarship from the Health Research Council of New Zealand. She is PI on the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga research project Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke: Māori childrearing within a context of whānau ora.

PaulPaul Reynolds, PhD (Tāwharetoa, Ngā Puhi, Whanganui), is Co-Director for Te Atawhai o te Ao: Independent Māori Institute for Environment & Health based in Whanganui in New Zealand. His research focus is on gathering Māori-specific knowledge about the inter-generational impacts of service in the Vietnam war, health impacts on family and grandparents who are raising their mokopuna, sexual violence, sexual and reproductive health, marginalisation and exclusion, exposure to toxins, unemployment in rural communities, men’s health and family relationships.

JemaimaJemaima Tiatia-Seath, MA (Hons), DPH, PhD (Samoan) (Samoan), is a Research Fellow at the University of Auckland’s Centre for Pacific Studies. Her current project, ‘Suicide and Samoans: The Journey towards Prevention’ explores views of Samoans 18+ years, how they are engaged in a Pacific mental health/community service, and have attempted suicide and/or thought about it.