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Series Speaker Bios

Gary Bess, PhD

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Dr. Gary Bess holds a doctorate in social work from the University of Southern California (USC). He has taught in graduate schools of social work at the University of California, Los Angeles, USC, and California State University (CSU) in Long Beach and Chico. Dr. Bess provides technical assistance for SAMHSA-funded Circles of Care planning grants for Native American tribes and agencies and Evaluation Lead for Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BH2I) Project for the Indian Health Service. From this experience, he co-authored two articles for the Journal of the National Center for American Indian, Alaska Native Mental Health Research on the life cycle of the evaluation process and on process evaluation among Native American communities.

Brenda Freeman, PhD

Dr. Brenda Freeman is a program evaluator, licensed clinical mental health provider, author, and professor of Counseling and Educational Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her teaching specialty areas are counseling theories, bereavement, and suicide. Dr. Freeman’s work in tribal communities includes providing program evaluation assistance for tribes under SAMHSA-funded initiatives such as Circles of Care, Systems of Care, and Trauma. Through I.H.S. she has engaged with tribal communities working on the prevention of teen pregnancy and domestic violence. Dr. Freeman serves as a technical assistance provider for the SAMHSA-funded Circles of Care tribal planning initiative and Evaluation Specialist for Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BH2I) Project for the Indian Health Service. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming.

Denise Middlebrook, PhD

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Dr. Denise Middlebrook (Crow Tribe) has worked in the field of American Indian community behavioral health for nearly 25 years. After graduating with her doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1995, Dr. Middlebrook began her career at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in the National Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research. In 2000, she joined the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), where she worked closely with American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) programs within the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) branch. Dr. Middlebrook became the Executive Director of the Intradepartmental on Native American Affairs in 2006. As the Director, she was the point of contact within the Department for coordination and consultation on health and human services issues affecting AIAN communities. She was awarded the distinguished service award by the U.S. Surgeon General and by IHS for her work with tribes.

 

Upon leaving federal service, Dr. Middlebrook has continued to focus exclusively on issues pertaining to the health and wellbeing of AIAN communities. She serves as the Lead Training and Technical Assistance Behavioral Health Practitioner coach for the Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BH2I) Project for the Indian Health Service.

Jennifer Edwards, MD

Dr. Jennifer Edwards (Tlingit/Tsimshian) has worked as a primary care physician for 20 years in various settings including Tribal, private practice and rural community health centers. During Dr. Edwards experience as a primary care physician, she has developed a deep appreciation for the importance of integrating behavioral health services in primary care settings; Dr. Edwards has found that behavioral health integration in primary care helps patients navigate the health care system more effectively and remain more engaged in improving overall health status.

 

Dr. Edwards served in a core faculty role for family practice resident training programs. Her experience includes working for Southcentral Foundation, Alaska Native Medical Center in full- spectrum family practice, with low risk obstetrics and village travel. Dr. Edwards, as Medical Director, works with urban Native populations at the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center and serves as the Primary Care Practitioner coach for the Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BH2I) Project for the Indian Health Service.

 

Dr. Edwards earned her undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and her doctorate of medicine from the University of Washington in Seattle.  

Lori Raney, MD

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Dr. Lori Raney is a board-certified psychiatrist and Principal with Health Management Associates in Denver, Colorado. She is considered a leading authority on the collaborative care model and the bidirectional integration of primary care and behavioral health. Dr. Raney serves as the psychiatric consultant for the Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BH2I) Project for the Indian Health Service.

 

Dr. Raney served for 15 years as the medical director of a community mental health center, where she fostered the development of a full range of evidence-based services few of which include development of a telepsychiatry program, working in and deploying psychiatric providers in correctional health settings, developing an inpatient psychiatric treatment unit, etc. She has worked for over 15 years with the Indian Health Service in clinics in the Southwest.  Dr. Raney continues her clinical work with the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Service with the Ute Mountain Utes in Towaco, Colorado.

Julianna Reece, MD, MBA, MPH

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Dr. Julianna Reece, is a Board-Certified, Family Medicine physician, with over 15 years of experience in direct Primary Care, the majority of her time focused on underserved populations and Native American healthcare. She is an emailed member of the Navajo Nation currently serving as the Albuquerque Area Chief Medical Officer and Vice Chair of the HOPE Committee. Previously, Dr. Reece also served as the Primary Care Practitioner coach for the Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BH2I) Project for the Indian Health Service. She has been a dedicated champion of Integrated Care for years and recently co­authored the book, Integrated Care, A Guide for Effective Implementation. Her long stint with Native American Healthcare has included clinical and administrative experience in both Federal and 638 facilities.