Staff

Chief Executive Officer

Kristine Rhodes, MPH

Anishinaabe, Fond du Lac and Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Email: krhodes@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 844)


Read Kristine's Bio

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 the 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 and commitment to tobacco and cancer control is dedicated to my Grandmother, Betty Ella Benton-DeFoe-Morrison, who died from cancer twenty-years ago.

Cancer Equity Manager

Amber Ruffin, MPH

Arikara, Hidatsa, Ojibwa
Email: aruffin@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 849)


Read Amber's Bio

I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I care about the current and future generations of American Indians. I want each and every one to have the same opportunity that others are afforded to live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. In my role as a program manager, I bring the following skills and expertise to my work: community engagement, resource development, program design and evaluation.

Women's Cancer Equity Manager

Shawna Cooper

Northern Cheyenne
Email: scooper@aicaf.org
Office: 406.850.7823


Read Shawna's Bio

Bio to come soon.

Prevention & Policy Manager

Melanie Plucinski, MPH

Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Ojibwe
Email: mplucinski@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 854)


Read Melanie's Bio

Aaniin! I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I am passionate about improving health outcomes for American Indian people through prevention and policy work. The organization provides a positive and productive environment, staffed with active motivated people who are working collaboratively to eliminate cancer burdens. In my role as the Prevention and Policy Manager, I bring the following skills and expertise to my work: policy development, program planning, community engagement, strategic planning, facilitation, creative problem solving and data analysis.

Operations Manager

Neely Snyder, BS

Anishinaabe, St. Croix, Mille Lacs & Red Lake
Email: nsnyder@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 841)


Read Neely's Bio

Boozhoo! (Hello!) I'm an enrolled member of St. Croix and a direct decendent of Red Lake and Mille Lacs. I choose to work at American Indian Cancer Foundation due to my passion for helping our people. Cancer has brought devastation and heartbreak to many of our families, including my own. I am honored to work alongside other professionals who share similar aspirations and determination to eliminating these burdens.
In my role as Operations Manager, I bring a wealth of nonprofit administration and management experience, including finance, human resource, business, communications, systems, policies, program/event coordination and operational functions.

Clinic & Community Health Program Manager

Anne Walaszek, MPH

Anishinaabe, White Earth
Email: awalaszek@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 842)


Read Anne's Bio

Anne Walaszek is an enrolled member of White Earth Band of Ojibwe. She holds a Master’s of Public Health degree in Maternal and Child Health and Bachelor's of Science degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Her research experiences have been primarily in research development, coordination and data analyses in areas of child development and diabetes.

Her passion to work in the area of American Indian health led to the opportunity in coordinating a task force with tribal and urban communities in Minnesota focused on diabetes prevention. As the Research Associate, she leads the data management and analyses efforts across multiple projects in addition to conducting the recruitment and scheduling for all INPACS visits.

Clinic Systems Coordinator

Michelle Adelmann, MPH

Email: madelmann@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 859)


Read Michelle's Bio

Hello! I decided to begin my public health career at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I truly appreciate the work that the foundation has done, and continues to do. As a recent MPH graduate specializing in public health in clinical systems, AICAF provided me with the perfect opportunity to utilize the skills and knowledge I gained, in order to go out into the community and clinics to provide the support that is needed. Through having a public health in clinical systems education background, I am able to bring forth new ideas and views that are able to help clinics advance their cancer screening initiatives and programs.

Research Assistant

Madison Anderson, MPH

Email: mandersonr@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 850)


Read Madison's Bio

Bio to come soon.

Nurse Educator

Lois Brown, MN, RN

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
Email: lbrown@aicaf.org
Office: 651.747.6238


Read Lois' Bio

Lois Brown is an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. She began her career in preventive health working for her Tribe as an Exercise Physiologist before moving and working with the urban American Indian population. Lois has 9 years experience working within the urban American Indian health care system, first as a health educator promoting chronic disease prevention. She has a strong background as a Registered Nurse, promoting health within the concepts of chronic disease and then as a program manager across all health conditions within an urban American Indian community clinic. Her clinical expertise informs quality improvement engagement and the development and implementation of educational tools. Lois’ family inspires her to work toward a healthy future for her children, and the generations to come.

Graphic Designer

Alexandra Buffalohead, BA, AS

Dakota, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
Email: abuffalohead@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 864)


Read Alexandra's Bio

Alexandra Buffalohead is Bdewakatowan Dakota from Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Arts at Augsburg University in 2013, and Associates of Science Degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institutes International Minnesota in 2015. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree and Museum Certificate in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of St. Thomas.

Buffalohead, joined the American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) as a Graphic Designer in 2018. In this role, Buffalohead is responsible for creating digital and printed design content, supporting AICAF's mission and strategic vision.

Prevention & Policy Specialist

Daanis Chosa, AS

Bois Forte
Email: dchosa@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 853)


Read Daanis's Bio

Boozhoo, I’m from the Keweenaw Bay Chippewa Indian Community in Michigan and an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa located in Northern Minnesota. I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I am an advocate for American Indian health and reclaiming our identity and culture as Indigenous people. My family and I have been affected by cancer and 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 to American Indian communities. In my role as the Policy & Prevention Specialist, I bring cultural awareness, community engagement, program management, resource development, capacity building and innovative ideas to strengthen our goals as an organization.

Communications Specialist/AmeriCorps VISTA

Zach Dietz, BA

Email: zdietz@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 858)


Read Zach's Bio

Hello! I decided to serve as a AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) because upon graduating from college I wanted to use my skillset, knowledge, privilege, and abilities to address inequalities present in many underserved communities. I specifically choose to serve at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I strongly believe in their mission, values, and vision. My goal during this year committment is to advance healthy communities and increase cancer knowledge and awareness in American Indian communities by building AICAF’s communication, media and marketing capacity. I'm proud and honored to work with my colleagues, thank you.

Prevention & Policy Coordinator

Amanda Dionne, BA

Lame Deer Northern Cheyenne/Turtle Mountain Ojibwe
Email: adionne@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 847)


Read Amanda's Bio

Boozhoo, I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I believe American Indian communities hold the wisdom and solutions to end cancer burdens in Indian Country. AICAF is playing an important role in working with tribes to identify what health equity means to them for cancer prevention and providing assistance to actualize policy, systems and environmental change (PSE) to create community-wide positive change. In my role as a project coordinator I bring the following skills and expertise to my work: coalition building, meeting facilitation, health prioritizing, expertise in PSE change, how to apply PSE to indigenous worldviews, community engagement/mobilization, long-term goal generation and strategic planning.

Prevention & Administrative Coordinator

Samantha M. Forliti, BA

White Earth, Ojibwe
Email: sforliti@americanindiancancer.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 851)


Read Samantha's Bio

Boozhoo! I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I believe in the AICAF’s mission, values, and the work that they not only do in the community but nationally. I graduated with a bachelors in Human Resource Organizational Leadership and a bachelors in Business Management and plan on continuing schooling for a masters in Human Resources Management and Marketing/ Communications. In my role, I assist with the day to day operations in the foundation and assist on any upcoming projects. I am proud to be a part of such an extraordinary team and being about to have the opportunity to grow with this wonderful foundation.

Finance Coordinator

Kim Galvan, BS

White Earth Nation
Email: kgalvan@aicaf.org
Office: 612.274.7362 or 612.314.4848 (ext. 862) 


Read Kim's Bio

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.

Community Education Coordinator 

Joy Rivera, CHW

Haudenosaunee
Email: jrivera@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 843)


Read Joy's Bio

Skanoh! I choose to work at AICAF because I have always worked in jobs that are connected directly to my community. My passion in life is to work for the betterment of my people. Cancer has touched so many people’s lives in our community. In my family, I lost six members that I know of including my mother and most recently a young cousin. In my role as a Community Education Specialist I get to work with my community both locally and nationally. I facilitate Colon Cancer Training in the Northern Plains. During the training, I am able to offer lots of tools to help communities continue to spread the word about how Colon Cancer Screening saves lives.

Research Coordinator

Delilah Robb, BS

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Email: drobb@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 845)


Read Delilah's Bio

Boozhoo. I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because of the positive impact AICAF has on American Indians in Minnesota and throughout Turtle Island. Being part of AICAF has given me the opportunity to contribute to meaningful work. By working to decrease cancer rates in American Indians we are able to decrease health disparities and increase the health and wellness of all American Indians. In my role as a Project Coordinator, I bring the ability to implement and manage health programs in a clinical setting, experience in bench and clinical research, as well as strong interpersonal and intercultural communication skills.

Clinic & Community Health Specialist

Laura Sioux Roberts, BA

Anishinaabe
Email: lroberts@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 855)


Read Laura's Bio

Laura Sioux Roberts is Anishinaabe from the Red Lake Nation and Dakota from the Santee Nation. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Justice & Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas in 2016. She plans to continue her education in the future.

Throughout her four years at the University of St. Thomas, Laura served as both an intern for the Justice and Peace Studies department and a coordinator for the Students for Justice and Peace club on campus. She also served as a Peer Consultant with the Center for Writing, where she offered support to students in developing their writing skills. Prior to her work at AICAF, Laura worked as a Research Assistant with the Planning Services Division of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board doing community outreach, data collection, and data analysis.

Laura is committed to supporting youth and healing in the American Indian community. Laura’s foremost goal is both to teach and be taught, to learn from her community in order to continue on a strong, healthy path and to help her people. As the Health Programs Specialist at AICAF, Laura provides support to the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative. Through her work, Laura hopes to increase the number of American Indian women who are screened for cervical cancer in accordance with state or national health care guidelines.

Clinic & Community Health Coordinator

Sambridhi Shrestha, MPH

Email: sshrestha@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 852)


Read Sambridhi's Bio

I choose to work at AICAF because it's an organization that is dedicated to reducing, if not eliminating, cancer burdens in the American Indian communities throughout the country. I am inspired every day by my colleagues' dedication and hard work to stand behind our mission statement. In my role as a public health associate, I bring knowledge of data analysis, epidemiology, and community research.

Evaluation Coordinator

Robert Spencer, MSAP

Email: rspencer@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 850)


Read Robert's Bio

Bio to come soon.

Evaluation Coordinator

Ashley Strusz, BS

Email: astrusz@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 861)


Read Ashley's Bio

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 reside within each other. This is a quality of life I admire and wish to see in every community across the nation. As an Evaluation Coordinator, I hope to emphasize the impact of American Indian Cancer Foundation on policy, prevention, and community and clinical health. Evaluation will inform program effectiveness and efficiency. As a result, American Indian Cancer Foundation will be able to impact more American Indian and Alaska Native communities with real solutions and systems changes.

Prevention & Policy Coordinator

Colin Welker

Email: cwelker@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 856)


Read Colins's Bio

Bio to come soon.