Faculty & Staff

Kirsten Jacklin

Kristen Jacklin, Ph.D

Executive Director

Dr. Jacklin is a medical anthropologist. Her research focuses on chronic disease care for Indigenous peoples, including investigations concerning aging; cognitive health and dementia; diabetes; and Indigenous health/medical education. She is the principal investigator for MK-MDT’s first NIH grant: Indigenous Cultural Understandings of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia – Research and Engagement (ICARE). Dr. Jacklin is the founder of the International Indigenous Dementia Research Network and the Indigenous Cognition Awareness and Aging Awareness Research Exchange (I-CAARE.com).

Rick door

Rick J. Smith

Elder in Residence

Rick J. Smith, M.Ed, is the Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team Elder in Residence. Elder Smith is a teacher and knowledge keeper who provides guidance, insight, and spiritual understandings to faculty, staff, and students of the MK-MDT. He is currently providing guidance on the formation of an Indigenous Advisory Committee for MK-MDT.

Rick has been the Director of the American Indian Learning Resource Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth for over 30 years. He is a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. He has a Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Education degrees from the University of Minnesota. In addition, he has served as an Independent Consultant for the Blandin Foundation for 17 years, as a Cultural Liaison for the Blandin Reservation Community Leadership Program. He has been involved with Indian Education for over 35 years, regionally and nationally.


Wayne Warry, Ph.D.

Director, Rural Health Initiatives

Dr. Warry is a medical anthropologist specializing in Indigenous and rural health and health systems research. He is the former Director of the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research CRaNHRat Laurentian University. Dr. Warry has been PI on a number of large interdisciplinary, community and patient-oriented research programs concerning Health Equity. He has conducted community based participatory research concerning Indigenous dementia, including a multi-sited foundational study documenting cultural perceptions and attitudes toward dementia and caregiving. View full bio

Jordan Lewis

Jordan P. Lewis, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Jordan P. Lewis, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team and Department of Family Medicine and BioBehavioral Health Professor. His expertise is in Indigenous successful aging, rural community health, generativity and healthy aging, cultural constructions of Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias.

Over the past decade, Dr. Lewis’s research agenda has significantly contributed to the field with community-based research and discussions on culture-specific approaches in Alaska Native (AN) successful aging and Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD) among AN Elders, including the development of a model of AN successful aging, the theory of AN healthy aging, the concept of Indigenous cultural generativity, and cultural understandings and construction of ADRD among AN caregivers. His research has identified indigenous cultural generativity as a critical ingredient to healthy aging, a resilience resource, and has important implications for the wellbeing of Alaska Native and American Indians, including those with ADRD, their caregivers, and family and community members.


Genelle R. S. Lamont, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Assistant Professor 

Dr. Lamont is an epidemiologist, public health and health literacy professional. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Biobehavioral Health at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Duluth Campus and faculty with the MK-MDT. Her research focuses on the intersection between chronic disease, social determinants of health, and Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias in indigenous populations. Other areas of research include health equity, health literacy, cultural humility, and establishing meaningful and accessible health data on American Indians/Alaska Natives using community-based participatory research and building public health surveillance capacity to address native health.


Melissa Blind, PhD - Senior Research Associate

Patrick Bright, MA - Research Specialist

Josyaah Budreau, MA -Qualitative Analyst

Sheamus Cavanaugh, MA - Research Associate

Brian Clow - Graduate Research Assistant 

Kirsten Cruikshank - Researcher 1

Melinda Dertinger, MA - Research Associate

Josh Fergen, PhD - Senior Research Associate 

Sasheen Goslin, BS - Indigenous Community Based Researcher 

Antonio Paniagua Guzmán, PhD - Post Doctoral Associate

Zayla Asquith-Heinz - Research Assistant

Natasha Jauss - Research Admin Support

Courtney Johnson, MPH - Research Associate 

January Johnson - Community Based Researcher

Tracy Kemp - Administrative Associate

Dana Ketcher, Phd – Researcher 6 

Kelsie Larson, Community Based Researcher 

Alexis Mason - Community Based Researcher

Brooke Metz, MA, MS, Communications Manager

Maggie Noun, MSW, LGSW - Research Assistant 

Amy Otto, PhD - Senior Research Associate

Collette Pederson - Community Based Researcher 

Karen Pitawanakwat - Senior Community Based Researcher 

Lynsie Radovich, PhD - Research Manager

Sung Han Rhew, PhD - Post Doctoral Associate

Patricia Soderlund, PhD - Senior Research Associate

Rhonda Trudeau - Community Based Researcher 

Lena Thompson, PhD - Post Doctoral Associate

Aaron Verhel - End-User Support

Natalya Walker, BA - Community Engagement Coordinator

Martha Williams - Community Researcher

Mikaela Williams, BA - Qualitative Analyst