Plenary Speakers

We are pleased to announce the plenary sessions for the 2018 Alaska Health Summit.

Public Health Approach to Addictions 

Jay C. Butler, MD, CPE was appointed by Alaska Governor Bill Walker as Chief Medical Officer for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and Director of the Division of Public Health in December 2014.Read more

  He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Medical School, has completed clinical trainings at Vanderbilt and Emory Universities, and maintains clinical board certifications in infectious diseases, internal medical, and pediatrics. Previously, Dr. Butler was Senior Director for Community Health Services at the ANTHC, where he was also a clinical infectious diseases consultant and Medical Director for Infection Control and Employee Health.  Earlier work includes serving as Chief Medical Officer of the Alaska Department of Health Social Services from 2007 to 2009, Alaska State Epidemiologist, 2005-07, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Arctic Investigations Program, 1998-2005, and medical epidemiologist in CDC’s National Center for Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, 1991-98.  He is the Immediate Past President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

Health Literacy and the Importance of Plain Language

Janis Winogradsky, MPH, CHES spent the first twenty years of her career as a journalist and documentary producer for CNN.  She’s been at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for fourteen years, communicating about chronic disease.Read more

She is a member of the CDC’s Health Literacy Council and has been teaching health literacy and plain language at CDC for the past five years.

Accelerating the Pace of Change in Providing Alaska’s Network of Long Term Services and Supports

Elaine M. Ryan, MPA, is the Vice President of State Advocacy and Strategy Integration (SASI) in the Government Affairs Department of AARP.  Elaine leads a team of legislative staff who work with our 53 AARP state offices to advance AARP’s state advocacy agenda with Governors and state legislators throughout the nation to enable individuals age 50+ and their families attain and maintain their financial and health security.Read more

  Our priority legislative issues include supports for family caregivers; small business access to workplace savings; health care, and consumer issues.

Prior to joining AARP in 2007, Elaine served as Deputy Executive Director of the American Public Human Services Association—a bi-partisan membership organization representing the 50 state Governor’s cabinet officers of health and human services agencies and the National Association of State Medicaid Directors.  Elaine also served as Chief of Staff and House Budget Staff Associate in the U.S. House of Representatives and she served on the senior staff of New York State Governor Mario Cuomo for nine years. 

Through her career, Elaine has worked on a number of landmark task forces, federal and state laws including the nation’s first Task Force on AIDS, the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Welfare Reform law, the Welfare to Work Program, the Ticket to Work Program, the creation of the first US office of Women’s Health, the Homeless Children Education program and the Affordable Care Act.  Her state advocacy work has led to the enactment of the nation’s first Work and Save workplace savings programs; the Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable (CARE) Act which she co-authored and enacted in 31 states; and over 100 state laws to support family caregivers and their families.

Elaine earned her Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and her undergraduate degree in Economics from Fordham University. She is the recipient of the Council of State Governments Toll Fellowship, the Exceptional leadership award from the American Public Human Services Association.  Elaine has been featured in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the National Journal, the Huffington Post and other newspapers and magazine.  She has served as a member of numerous corporate, university and local government boards and commissions. She currently serves as a National Advisory Board member of Open Notes, a project of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, designed to empower patients to become more engaged in their own health care.

Housing IS Healthcare: A look at Housing First Interventions in Alaska

Brian Wilson’s early career began in municipal government with the City of Olympia, Washington.  He served as a Senior Program Specialist and was responsible for the planning and implementation of the city’s Downtown Strategy, an ambitious and multi-pronged approach toward creating a clean, safe, and vibrant downtown. Read more

This involved identifying partnership opportunities between the City staff, City Council, local service agencies and downtown business owners. Brian moved to Alaska in 2015 and worked for the Alaska Mental Health Board/Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse as a Research Analyst. In May, 2016, he became the first Executive Director for the Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness.  His primary interest is in utilizing a data-driven approach to addressing the complex needs of our most vulnerable populations.

Partnering to Promote Health Equity Across the Life Span

Connie Jessen, MA has worked with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) in a variety of capacities to address health disparities among Alaska Native people on a research and a programmatic level. She is currently the Senior Program Manager for the HIV/STD Prevention Program within the ANTHC Community Health Services Division to increase HIV/STD screening, testing, and training and education through developing, an internet-based sexual health intervention for Alaska Native (AN) youth. Read more

She has overseen projects to adapt and evaluate the effectiveness of culturally responsive HIV/STD behavioral intervention for AN youths. These efforts also involve dissemination of culturally responsive health curricula for AN/AI youth via Health Native Youth portal As a result, she has been able to develop a strong background in collaborating with AN communities to address HIV/STD prevention needs throughout the Alaska Tribal Health System (ATHS).

Erin Peterson, MPH is a Senior Epidemiologist at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). She manages the Wellness Strategies for Health Program, a Centers for Disease Control-funded project that aims to reduce heart disease, diabetes, and stroke among Alaska Native people. Prior to joining ANTHC, Erin worked in the Chronic Disease Prevention Program at the State of Alaska where she held positions focused on tobacco and obesity prevention.

Brenna Simons-Petrusa, PhD, has nine years of research and healthcare delivery experience in the Alaska Tribal Health System, and is the Director of the Hepatitis & Immunization Department at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). The Hepatitis & Immunization Department provides statewide specialty clinical services, training and ongoing translational research studies.


Rosalyn Singleton, MPH, MD graduated from Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago in 1982, and completed a Pediatric residency at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, and a MPH from Loma Linda University. She worked as a pediatrician 1985-88 in a Navajo hospital.  From 1988-2014 Dr Singleton worked as a part-time pediatrician at Alaska Native Medical Center and Immunization Program Director for Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC).Read more

In 2015 Rosalyn worked for the State of Alaska on vaccine financing solutions, and remained part-time with ANTHC.  During 2016 she returned to ANTHC as a research physician. Since 1988 to present she has also worked as a guest researcher with Arctic Investigations Program – Centers for Disease Control, conducting clinical studies with Alaska Native people related to vaccine preventable infections, respiratory infections, vitamin D deficiency and bronchiectasis. 

Mary Williard, DDS is the Director of the Alaska Dental Therapist Educational Program at Ilisagvik College and the Director of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s (ANTHC) Department of Oral Health Promotion in Anchorage, Alaska. She has worked in American Indian/Alaska Native dental programs since 1996. Read more

Her professional experience includes a 2-year General Practice Residency with Carolinas Medical Center, clinical care in IHS clinics, Area Dental Officer for Alaska, Director of the Alaska Dental Preventive and Clinical Support Center, clinical supervision of dental therapists and dental therapy curriculum development and instruction.  Dr. Williard is a sought after national expert and speaker on dental therapy practice, supervision and education. 


Adverse Childhood Experiences – What’s New in Alaska

Joshua Arvidson MSS., LCSW is the Director of the Alaska Child Trauma Center and Early Childhood Services at Anchorage Community Mental Health Services.  Joshua is the Principal Investigator for the Military Family Child Trauma Program at the Alaska Child Trauma Center and serves on the Steering Committee for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Read more

Joshua serves as a Regional Director and Faculty for the Complex Trauma Treatment Network and is a member of the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma.  Joshua served as a co-investigator for the DSM-V (Diagnostic Statistical Manual, American Psychiatric Association) Field Trial for Developmental Trauma Disorder. Joshua has presented work on complex childhood trauma treatment at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the International Trauma Conference at JRI.  Joshua has a special interest in the integration of research and evidence into clinical practice and application in systems.

Jared Parrish, MS, PhD. received his doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently the senior epidemiologist with the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Unit of the Alaska Division of Public Health.  His research focuses on quantifying the influence of systematic error on effect estimates, data integration, and incorporating novel methods for applied surveillance with an emphasis on improving timeliness, efficacy, and utility of data that lead to prevention.Read more

He has expertise in child maltreatment surveillance and was selected as a 2015 Doris Duke Fellow for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. He serves on the national Child Death Review steering committee, and recently developed a novel longitudinal health informatics approach for studying maltreatment over time in a representative statewide birth population.

Tamar Ben-Yosef is the Executive Director for the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership (AAPP), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health and wellness outcomes for kids through partnerships, education, programs and more. Through her work with AAPP, Tamar has maintained a robust network of statewide partners resulting in collaborations such as Help Me Grow Alaska, a program in development that connects children to developmental screening and the services they need. Tamar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in communication studies and has experience working in both journalism and public relations prior to joining AAPP.



Print page