2014 Conference

Isht Ahalaya: Transcending Historical Trauma with Loving Responsibility

Karina L. Walters is a Professor and William P. and Ruth Gerberding Endowed Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. She received her MSW (1990) and PhD (1995) from University of California, Los Angeles. An enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Dr. Walters founded and directs the University-wide, interdisciplinary Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI).

The Institute’s many notable contributions include hosting the 2010 International Network of Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development conference, a biennial gathering aimed at improving the health of indigenous peoples in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States through indigenous and community-led research, health services and workforce development.

Dr. Walters is also a recent recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Award where she was an honorary visiting scholar at Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga National Institute for Research Excellence in Maori Development and Advancement at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her research focuses on historical, social and cultural determinants of physical and mental health among American Indians and Alaska Natives. She has published and presented nationally and internationally on her research and mentors numerous American Indian and Alaska Native junior faculty, researchers, post-doctorate, graduate and undergraduate students.

Dr. Walters serves as principal investigator on several groundbreaking studies associated with health-risk outcomes among American Indian individuals, families and communities funded by the National Institutes of Health. These include the HONOR Project — a nationwide health survey that examines the impact of historical trauma, discrimination and other stressors on the health and wellness of Native American lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and two-spirited men and women; and Healthy Hearts Across Generations — a project in collaboration with the Tulalip Tribes to design and test a culturally appropriate, feasible and generalizable cardiovascular disease prevention program with American Indians living in the Pacific Northwest.