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 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

Faculty Investigator

Jordan P. Lewis, Ph.D., is a 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, Mr. 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.


Tracy Kemp - Administrative Associate

Brooke Lees, MA, MS - Marketing & Communications Specialist

Timothy Anderson, MA - Rural Community Engagement Specialist

Melissa Blind, PhD - Senior Research Associate

Patrick Bright, MA - Research Specialist

Sung Han Rhew, PhD - Post Doctoral Associate

Patricia Soderlund, PhD - Senior Research Associate

Dana Ketcher, PhD – Researcher 5 

Colleen Switt, BA - Research Assistant

Aaron Verhel - End-User Support

Melinda Dertinger, MA - Research Associate

Annamarie Hill, MA - Community Engagement Specialist

Colleen Switt, MA - Research Assistant

Josh Fergen, PhD - Senior Research Associate 

Kirsten Cruikshank - Researcher 1

Kristi Nelson - Researcher 1

Steffi Kim, PhD - Researcher 4

Brandy Arredondo, MA - Research Associate

Martha Williams - Community Researcher

January Johnson - Community Based Researcher

Collette Pederson - Community Based Researcher