The Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management, organized by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, is an annual gathering that brings together Tribes, Non-profits, and State and Federal organizations, for a week of environmental conversations. The discussions focus on finding and implementing solutions to address the unique environmental concerns facing Alaskan communities.

2018 Guest Speakers

Roald Helgesen is Chief Executive Officer and Hospital Administrator at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Prior to joining ANTHC, Mr. Helgesen was the President and CEO of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. Mr. Helgesen serves as a member of the Alaska Tribal Health Directors and the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association. Mr. Helgesen grew up in Sitka and is an enrolled Tribal member with Sitka Tribe of Alaska and Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Earning his Master of Science degree in Health Care Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Helgesen is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is a non-profit Tribal health organization. The Consortium is the largest, most comprehensive Tribal health organization in the United States, and Alaska’s second-largest health employer with more than 3,000 employees offering an array of health services to people around the nation’s largest state. The Consortium has four operating divisions: Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC), Community Health Services, Environmental Health & Engineering, and Business Support. Its largest division, ANMC, is a 173- bed hospital and provides specialty and tertiary care hospital to indigenous people of Alaska, spanning distances equivalent to two-thirds of the United States.

Rhonda McBride has been an Alaska broadcaster since 1988, when she worked as news director of  KYUK, the public radio and TV station in Bethel for almost a decade. She currently hosts Frontiers, a statewide public affairs program that airs on KTVA-Channel 11 and ARCS-TV. The show’s motto: Faces. Places. And spirit of Alaska! Rhonda loves doing those only-in-Alaska stories – especially those that showcase innovation in Rural Alaska.

Maija Katak Lukin, Inupiaq, was born in Kotzebue and raised on the shores of Cape Krusenstern National Monument at Sisualik.  She is the daughter of Willie and Jennie Johnson of Kotzebue and Sisualik, and the granddaughter of the late Doc and Katak Harris (Inupiaq) of Sisualik and the late Floyd and Hazel Johnson (Finnish) of Anchorage and Chickaloon. She is the former Regional Communications Manager for NANA, and Tribal Environmental Manager for Maniilaq Association, representing 12 tribes in northwest Alaska.  She is also the former Mayor of the City of Kotzebue, and welcomed President Obama to Kotzebue in 2015. Currently, Lukin is the superintendent at the National Park Service’s Western Arctic National Parklands.  The parks include over 9.2 million acres of federal public land in three parks in Northwest Alaska:  Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Kobuk Valley National Park and Noatak National Preserve.  Lukin is responsible for protecting and preserving the natural and cultural resources within the parks, as well as community relationship building, subsistence management and preparing for changes in the arctic climate. Katak and her husband have four children, one perfect granddaughter, and raise their two nieces in Kotzebue and Sisualik.

Dr. Tina Marie Woods is Unungan (Aleut) originally from St. Paul Island, Alaska and Chamorro from the Island of Guam. She is the daughter of the late Maria Shaishnikoff and late Juan Duenas Leon-Guerrero. Dr. Woods is a licensed clinical psychologist and received a Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology with a Rural Indigenous Emphasis from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2013.  She maintains longevity working within the Alaska Tribal Health System (15+ years) and is currently the Senior Director of Community Health Services at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). She has general oversight over eight departments including, Wellness & Prevention, Community Environment & Health, Tribal Epidemiology Center, Clinical Research & Services, Distance Learning Network, Behavioral Health Aide, Dental Health Aide Therapist and Community Health Aide programs. She particularly enjoys utilizing Talking Circles as a tool to help others begin their healing journey. Her passion for Talking Circles led to a dissertation and first known empirical investigation of the effectiveness of Talking Circles among Alaska Native individuals demonstrating that psychological research with Alaska Native Peoples can be conducted in a scientifically rigorous, yet still culturally sensitive and respectful manner. She respectfully blends both Western science and indigenous practices based on teachings from Elders. Dr. Woods dedicated her academic training and career towards working with Alaska Native Peoples to provide quality, holistic and comprehensive health services.  She presents with “lived experience” and leverages such experience in combination with science for teaching others about trauma informed care.  She strongly believes in going upstream with prevention efforts in order to make a significant difference for future generations. Dr. Woods sits on the Data Safety Monitoring Board Member for the HEALTHH Study (Healing and Empowering Alaskan Lives Toward Healthy Hearts Project), the UAA Psychology Department’s Community Advisory Board and is a member of the Alaska Psychological Association and American Psychological Association. She is a Board of Trustee at Alaska Pacific University, Co-chair of the Alaska Area Specimen Bank Oversight Committee, Alaska Resilience Steering Committee Member, and Co-chair of the Community Engagement Workgroup -Transforming Child Welfare Outcomes for Alaska Native Children.
Brian Holter Jr. is a true Environmentalist growing up in a village on Prince of Wales Island, Brian Holter Jr. has lived learning about his people’s way of life the Haida and Tlingit, as a young man he enjoyed helping put up food for the winter and sharing with the Elders. This is what gave him the inspiration to protect the natural resources for future generations to come. He loved the stories shared while working on the bounties of the land and sea, it has always been our way to give thanks to those before us and those yet to come. Growing up in this way your body becomes in tune with the seasons, there is always something to gather all year around, his mother used to tell him. You need to learn this rhythm of the seasons and when to gather. Always have respect for Mother Earth never taking more than you need or can share with those who can’t gather, for you will be blessed. He is a proud father and has done his best to teach his kids and students the traditional ways. The lessons that were shared with him will be passed on, this is also reassured by his work with the EPA and NTAA and Tribal Organizations. Brian is currently the Brownfield coordinator for the Klawock Cooperative Association and a tribal representative for the Region 10 Tribal Operation Committee (RTOC).

Teisha Simmons is Koyukon Athabascan, Swedish and Portuguese. She is originally from the Yukon River communities of Galena and Koyukuk. She is the granddaughter of the late Sidney and Angela Huntington and the late Jenny Huntington. Her parents are Marie Simmons of Galena and the late James Walldow of Los Gatos, California. Teisha graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, and in 2003 with a Master of Arts degree in Clinical-Community Psychology. Over the last 17 years, she has spent her career at her teaching at the University of Alaska Fairbanks or providing senior management and strategic oversight to behavioral health and wellness programs in Fairbanks. She currently teaches for Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium as a Behavioral Health Aide and Practitioner Instructor and runs a private consulting business through which she works on health and wellness projects for various organizations. She currently serves as a commissioner on the Interior Regional Housing Authority board and has extensive experience serving on various regional committees and boards such as the Doyon, Limited Board of Directors, the UAF Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Native Education, the Alaska Statewide Independent Living Council and the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Cultural Diversity Committee. Teisha has received numerous awards including the AFN Hannah Paul Solomon Woman of Courage Award, the First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Award, the Doyon Limited Chief Andrew Isaac Future Youth Leader Award, the AFN Roger Lang Youth Leadership Award and the Governor’s Council on Employment & Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities Alaskan of the Year Award. She enjoys spending her time volunteering in her community, helping with language revitalization efforts, but most of all just being at home enjoying with her partner Zac and their 13-year-old daughter Tassy.