The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA), the Diverse Elders Coalition and the National Alliance for Caregiving are hosting a webinar focused on the needs of American Indian and Alaska Native caregivers in the time of COVID-19. Together, we invite you to join us for “Caregiving in a Pandemic: Accessing Services and Supports” December 3, 2020 12:30 p.m. EST.
Do you provide care or support for a friend or relative? If so, this session is for you! First 75 participants will receive a $25 gift card.
The webinar features interactive poll questions, and speakers such NICOA Executive Director Larry Curley; Captain Susan Karol, MD, Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Division of Tribal Affairs; and Melissa Chlupach, Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, College of Health, School of Allied Health, Dietetics & Nutrition Program, and more.
The webinar is funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation.
Click the names below to read about our upcoming speakers.
Captain Susan Karol, MD
Dr. Karol is the Chief Medical Officer of the Division of Tribal Affairs in the Center of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Tribal Affairs serves as the point of contact on Indian health issues for the agency.
Dr. Karol is an enrolled member of the Tuscarora Indian Nation and the former National Chief Medical Officer for the Indian Health Service. Captain Karol serves in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, graduated from Dartmouth College and the Medical College of Wisconsin prior to her general surgical training at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Melissa Chlupach was born and raised in Willow, Alaska and attended the University of Idaho where she received Bachelor of Science degrees in animal sciences - production and nutrition/dietetics and a Master of Science degree in sport science and nutrition. Melissa worked for NANA Management Services (NMS) for 12 years as the Regional Healthcare Dietitian, supporting several food service contracts (Maniilaq Health Center – MHC, Utuqqanaat Inaat Long-Term Care, Alaska Native Medical Center – ANMC, Alaska Psychiatric Institute, Marlow Manor Assisted Living, SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and San Carlos Apache Healthcare Center – SCAHC). She is now an assistant professor in dietetics and nutrition at the University of Alaska Anchorage, teaching courses, such as, “Survey of Alaska Native Nutrition” and “Food and Nutrition in Modern Alaska”.
Melissa received the Alaska Dietetic Association’s 2016 Emerging Dietetic Leader of the Year and 2017 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year awards. She serves on the Alaska Food Policy Council governing board. In January 2020, Melissa was awarded funding from the National Resource Center for Alaska Native Elders to implement a traditional foods program at Bean’s Café in Anchorage under federal grant number G0010269.
Melissa’s biggest and most rewarding project is the traditional foods initiative and movement for the State of Alaska. This project includes working with multiple organizations, such as the USDA, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and US Fish and Wildlife Service. She was instrumental in developing the Alaska traditional foods donation posters and toolkit and implementing traditional foods programs at ANMC, MHC, Utuqqanaat Inaat, SEARHC and SCAHC, collaborating with administration, chefs, managers, donors, customer-owners and elders.
The most memorable donation Melissa worked on was from the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission (now decommissioned) as this was the first seal donation in the state and a 30-year dream of Yakutat’s Martin Sensmeier that came true. Another highlight of Melissa’s career was partnering with Maniilaq during the development and implementation of their traditional foods’ facility, the Sigluaq.
She has shared the Alaska Traditional Foods Movement throughout the state and nationwide. Her goal is to bring people together to share best practices so we can learn from each other, promoting health and wellness throughout our communities.
Larry Curley is the executive director of the National Indian Council on Aging and a member of the Navajo Nation with over 40 years of experience working in the aging and healthcare fields. He has worked with Congress, other branches of the federal government, and national organizations on aging to develop support for programs affecting elder American Indians.
After receiving his master’s degree in public administration at the University of Arizona, along with a certificate in gerontology, Larry worked as a gerontological planner at an Area Agency on Aging in Pima County, Arizona, where he was instrumental in establishing a county public fiduciary program. As a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., he successfully advocated for the passage of Title VI of the Older Americans Act, an amendment which he wrote.
He directed the Navajo Nation’s Head Start program, one of the five largest Head Start programs in the country. Larry has served as a nursing home administrator of a tribal, long-term care facility, as a hospital administrator in northern Nevada, and as a college instructor at the University of Nevada-Reno and Eastern Washington University.
He was named as the assistant dean of the Four Corners region for the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine. He’s also served as the public representative on the American College of Physicians Clinical Guidelines Committee, and as the director of program development for the Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services in northwest New Mexico.
Rebecca Owl Morgan
Rebecca Owl Morgan is a project coordinator at NICOA. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians located in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. She has degrees in history and library science. She enjoys locating and developing resources to aid Native elders and those who care for them. She shares her life with a wonderful husband, two children and three grandchildren.
Desiree Lapahie is the data analyst for the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) and a member of the Navajo Nation. She is from Naschitti, New Mexico. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of New Mexico. She has experienced the struggles of being a caregiver while caring for her maternal grandmother.
While working as a caregiver she realized the challenges the aging population faces. She started working as a public policy intern at the Alzheimer’s Association and advocated for policy changes that would benefit the aging population. She is honored to work with the amazing team at NICOA and help the American Indian and Alaska Native elders work towards a brighter future.