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.

Nurse Educator

Lois Brown, MN

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


Read Lois' Bio

Bio to come soon.

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 world views, community engagement/mobilization, long term goal generation and strategic planning.

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.

Research Assistant

Ravyn Gibbs, BA

Bois Forte, Red Lake
Email: rgibbs@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 863)


Read Ravyn's Bio

Boozhoo. I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I have a passion for seeking health equity for, and with, underrepresented and marginalized populations. In my role as Graduate Research Assistant, I bring skills and expertise to my work from an array of academic and professional experience. I am currently enrolled in the Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health dual degree program at the University of Minnesota, with a focus in Community Practice and Community Health Promotion. Previously, I interned with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a participant in the inaugural class of the Indian Affairs Student Leadership Summer Institute 2016. Currently, I am part of a team working on a project dedicated to learning about the tribal retail environment on and near American Indian reservations.

Prevention & Policy Coordinator

Chris Johnson, MA

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
Email: cjohnson@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 856)


Read Chris's Bio

Hau mitakuyepi. I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because of the impact cancer has had on my family. AICAF also allows me the opportunity to help end the cancer disparities that disproportionately affect our communities. In my role as Project Coordinator, I bring the following skills and expertise to my work: policy, system and environmental change to promote healthy norms, resource development, capacity building, community engagement, quality improvement for dental clinics and oral cancer prevention knowledge/training.

Prevention & Policy Coordinator

Takayla Lightfield, BA

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Email: tlightfield@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 857)


Read Takayla's Bio

Han Mitakuyepi! I choose to work at the American Indian Cancer Foundation because I can 100% stand behind the organization's mission of eliminating the cancer burdens on American Indian families through education, prevention, early detection, treatment and survivor support. In my role as a Policy and Prevention Coordinator I work on food as medicine and cancer prevention, normalizing healthy eating, increasing support of breastfeeding families, health equity, resource development and community engagement.

Administrative Coordinator

Tina Murphy

Email: tmurphy@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 (ext. 851)


Read Tina's Bio

Christina (Tina) Murphy, is a Pacific Islander from the island of Guam. Tina is of Chamorro descent, from the Familian Betang and Tali Clans. Tina grew up in Alaska for 14 years, before settling with her family in Minnesota.

Tina is an alumna of the Leadership and Advocacy Institute to Advance Minnesota’s Parity for Priority Populations (LAAMPP) and Policy Champions Coalition with APPEAL of Oakland, CA and ClearWay Minnesota. Tina has served on several panels, projects, and health equity coalitions that primarily focus on health disparities. Recently, she led her LAAMPP Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) team in working with the owners of the Hmongtown Marketplace in St. Paul, Minnesota to establish a smoke-free environment. 

Tina’s passion and commitment for her community work is to honor her Chamorro Ancestors, especially her Grandfather, Grandmothers, and Auntie, who passed away from cancer and other related health disparities.  Tina’s passion is to help create health equity opportunities focusing on:  Tobacco Control, HIV/AIDS Prevention/Education and Ending the Trend of Obesity that leads towards a healthier way of life, for ourselves, our people, our families, no matter who you are, where you come from and what you represent.  In her spare time, Tina loves to spend time with her family, friends, and helping others with her health and wellness goals. 

Registered Nurse

Rae O'Leary

Email: roleary@aicaf.org
Office: 612.314.4848 


Read Rae's Bio

Bio to come soon. 

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

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.