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Meet Our Staff

Chief Executive Officer

Kristine Rhodes, MPH

Anishinaabe, Fond du Lac and Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Boozhoo! Aniin! I appreciate the opportunity to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because of the endless opportunities for partnerships that positively impact the health of my community by finding solutions to end cancer burdens for Native people. In my role as CEO, I am honored to lead the direction of this organization with incredibly talented employees who work with me. My academic skills, previous experiences and years of lessons learned come in handy in this role. I earned both a Bachelors of Community Health Education and a Masters of Public Health in Public Health Administration and Policy from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining AICAF, I most recently worked as a Research Project Coordinator at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health where I worked on numerous community research efforts. I began my career as the Community Health Educator for my tribal community at the Fond du Lac Reservation. My passion for and commitment to tobacco and cancer control is dedicated to my Grandmother, Betty Ella Benton-DeFoe-Morrison, who died from cancer twenty years ago.

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Operations Director

Alyssa Beaulieu, MBA

White Earth, Turtle Mountain

My passion for giving back to my community has led me to my role as Operations Director at AICAF. I have discovered that while my mind processes things in terms of business, I have a nonprofit heart.

My family hails from White Earth & Turtle Mountain and both sides have been affected by cancer. My background in operations and nonprofit management has prepared me for the opportunity to support our organization in shifting the needle on public health outcomes for our people. As Operations Director, I work to develop, implement, and support strategic objectives, manage human resource functions, daily operations, and play a lead role in our annual Powwow for Hope.

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Han mitakuyepi! I am an enrolled member of the Meskwaki Nation in Iowa, and Dakota from the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Sioux Tribes. I grew up in South Dakota and come from a large extended family. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and earned an MS in Human Development from South Dakota State University. As the Deputy Director, I am committed to working with and for our tribal communities, both urban and rural as we support our loved ones with opportunities to heal, emotionally, historically, spiritually, and physically from the burdens of cancer. I do this work because of the lasting impacts of cancer on my immediate and extended family. We know many cancers are preventable, and our people deserve access to those preventative resources that keep them healthy for themselves, their families and communities.

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I am an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation in Northwestern Minnesota.

I choose to work at AICAF because of the mission and values. As a person who works behind the scenes of an organization, as many financial people do, I feel it is important to feel passionate about the organization. I feel excited, motivated and inspired to be a part of the AICAF team with so many talented individuals. I bring several years of nonprofit and financial experience.

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Prevention & Policy Manager

Chris Johnson, MA

Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota

Hau mitakuyepi! I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because of the impact cancer has had on my family. Working at AICAF allows me the opportunity to help end the cancer disparities that disproportionately affect our communities. In my role as the Prevention and Policy Manager, I work across AICAF initiatives with expertise in policy, system and environmental (PSE) change solutions. I also take a lead on project coordination of partners, resources development, facilitation, training, and technical assistance with an emphasis on culturally-relevant PSE changes that promote health equity, health promotion and healthy norms.

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Hello! Aniin! I am the Cancer Programs Manager and have my Masters Degree in Nursing Education. I previously worked for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in their clinic in various roles. One of my main focuses while working at Bad River was to reduce the cancer burden in the community. I thoroughly enjoyed my work and after having my son and taking some time off, I felt a pull to return to the good work of reducing cancer burdens in Indian Country. The pull brought me to AICAF. I choose to work for AICAF because they strive to eliminate cancer burden in Indian Country on a national level. I feel privileged to be working with this talented team of professionals, and with the Indian Community as a whole. Chi Miigwech!

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Research Manager

Wyatt Pickner, MPH

Hunkpati Dakota

Bio coming soon.

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Research Assistant

Madison Anderson, MPH

Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe

Boozhoo! I work with the American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) because I believe that we need more data about the health inequities within our communities.

As a Research Assistant at AICAF, I assist with study design and collecting, analyzing, and disseminating research about the behavioral risk factors of cancer in American Indians. I have an MPH in Community Oriented Primary Care and I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. I am dedicated to serving and advocating for Indigenous communities within the health research sector.

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Hello! I am the Office Administrator with the American Indian Cancer Foundation. Growing up, many of my friends and family had in some way been affected by cancer. With it being a large presence in my life, it lead me to work in the healthcare field. While working alongside individuals every day, many who were in the dark about what was happening, it gave me the drive to find a career where I could help them. When the opportunity presented itself to join the AICAF team, it felt like a calling. Though most of my work is behind the scenes here, my past experiences give me the drive and motivation to support our staff so they can further provide American Indian and Alaskan Native people with access to resources and information they need about prevention, early detection and treatment.

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Prevention & Policy Coordinator

Daanis Chosa, AS

Bois Forte

Boozhoo. I’m from the Keweenaw Bay Chippewa Indian Community in Michigan and a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa in Minnesota. I currently hold an A.S. in Community Development and am currently seeking my B.S. in Sociology – Policy Analysis at the University of Minnesota. I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I am an advocate for health equity in Native communities and reclaiming our identity and culture as Indigenous people. My family and I have been impacted by cancer and have lost loved ones to this disease as I know many others have. It is my goal to help change this story by promoting healthy living and prevention strategies in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. In my role as the Prevention & Policy Coordinator, I support strategies that improve health outcomes in Native communities with a focus on policy, systems and environmental (PSE) change.

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Prevention & Policy Coordinator

Alyssa Diaz, BA

Mabuhay! As a Prevention and Policy Coordinator, I provide technical assistance in policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change solutions to promote chronic disease prevention and health equity. Prior to this role, I served as AICAF’s AmeriCorps VISTA developing AICAF’s survivorship program. I am passionate about health equity, social justice, and decolonizing public health. As a first-generation Filipina-American, I understand the importance of allyship with Indigenous communities and carry this understanding with me through my work. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking FIlipino food, rock climbing, and in the winter, I teach cross country skiing.

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Cancer Equity Coordinator

Justin Jones, MS

Tlingit & Haida

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Cancer Equity Coordinator

Misha Loeffler, BA

Bay Mills Ojibwe

Bio coming soon.

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Communications Specialist

Tina MacDonald, BA

Leech Lake Ojibwe

Dedication to improving health outcomes in Native communities, along with a passion for story telling, has inevitably lead to my role in communications at the American Indian Cancer Foundation. AICAF provides a positive environment full of staff who grind every day to eliminate cancer burdens in Indian Country. As Communications Specialist, I’m able to collaborate with all of our teams, leading the organization’s communications, public relations, marketing, and social media efforts. My background in professional journalism and political science has equipped me with the skills to tell impactful stories about AICAF, its mission, and our Native communities.

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Greetings! I came to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation in September 2017 as an Evaluation Coordinator. I chose to work with American Indian and Alaska Native populations because of the wisdom and strong sense of community that resounds in Indian Country. This is a quality of life I admire and wish to see in every community across the nation. Now as a Senior Program Specialist, I hope to promote cancer awareness and increase early detection in communities and clinics through culturally-specific best practices. American Indian and Alaska native communities hold the inherit knowledge and wisdom, and it is the American Indian Cancer Foundation’s passion to highlight those solutions.

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Mike Yang is a graphic designer with nearly a decade of combined professional experience in digital and multimedia work. He is a graduate of Augsburg College with a major in political science and a communications minor. He started his career as a multimedia professional working for Spectrum-Interactive Media, a branding and web development firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There, he worked with a talented team to develop branding, marketing strategies, websites, and printed materials for businesses across the country. Since then he has gone on to work for artists, elected officials, churches, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. Outside of work, Yang enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and fitness. He’s a fan of locally crafted beers, good food, better company, some fresh air, a lot of sunshine, and everything about the great outdoors.

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