About this Event
Grow Stronger Together: Building Tribal Community Connections & Capacity to Strengthen Indigenous Families
Presenter: Michelle Levy with KSNAF Panel (Maria Fairman, Melissa Holder, Amy Mendenhall, Sierra Two Bulls)
Kansas Serves Native American Families (KSNAF) seeks to improve the wellbeing of Native American children impacted by parent and community substance use through culturally integrated implementation and evaluation of an evidence-based family skills training program. The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is offered by trained group leaders recruited from local tribal communities and a tribal university. Panel presenters will introduce the KSNAF initiative, share preliminary findings, and discuss practical challenges and strategies for collaborating with tribal partners to develop a culturally integrated program that aligns with Indigenous interests and culture.
Learning Objectives (3-4):
At the end of this session, participants will be able to
Describe an initiative to implement and evaluate an evidence-based family skills training through partnership with tribal communities. Summarize preliminary findings related to the impact of the initiative for children, families, and communities. Identify three challenges in building connections with tribal communities to develop and provide a program aligned with Indigenous interests, values and culture. Discuss at least three strategies for facilitating cultural integration and tribal ownership of a university-based initiative.
Michelle Levy is a research project director at the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare. She humbly assumed the role of Principal Investigator and Director of the Kansas Serves Native American Families project in 2018. Michelle also directs the School’s Integrated Health Scholars Program. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from KU and Master of Arts in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
Maria Fairman is a descendant of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. She joined University of Kansas as the KSNAF project coordinator in the fall of 2019. Maria attended Washburn University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and looks forward to continued education at KU. Maria has worked within Tribal communities for over 15 years and considers it her passion.
Melissa Holder is a citizen of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, is an assistant professor at the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare. Prior to joining KU in 2021, she was a faculty member at Haskell Indian Nations University for 15 years, where she oversaw the social work program and helped to lead several grant projects working to empower Native American families including serving as the Haskell liaison to KSNAF.
Amy Mendenhall is a professor and associate dean for research and faculty development at the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare. She assumed the role of co-investigator and lead for evaluation of the Kansas Serves Native American Families project in 2018. Dr. Mendenhall is also the director for the School’s Center for Community Engagement & Collaboration. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Virginia and her master’s and doctoral degrees in social work from The Ohio State University.
Sierra Two Bulls is a citizen of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Haskell Indian Nations University and serves as the site coordinator for KSNAF. She is a proud alumna of both Haskell Indian Nations University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous & American Indian Studies, and the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, where she earned her master’s degree in social work.
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