SPEAKERS

Marlene Adams

Prevention & Education Manager
Recover Alaska

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Marlene M Adams, I am Inupiaq, born in Kotzebue raised in Fairbanks and Kenai Alaska. I am grateful to be in recovery. My family relations span across the North with many residing out of state. I have one adult child who I raised as a single Mom and she resides in Anchorage. When asked about why I love Prevention I say it started when I gave birth to my child because I wanted a different world for her that included education around healthy choices, breaking the cycles and advocating for herself. Some of my favorite things to do include hiking year-round, berry picking, yoga, traveling to new places and spending time laughing with family and friends.

Jose Arellano

Co-Director of Navigation and Case Management
Homeboy Industries

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Jose Arellano is Co-Director of Navigation and Case Management at Homeboy Industries, training individuals how to transition out of gang culture and regain their lives.  Arellano’s family was in gang culture. Despite excelling at school, Arellano got involved with a gang by age 12. Three years later, he was in jail for the first time.  Arellano said there was always someone to give him hope even in the darkest times, including when he was facing a life sentence in prison. He started as a trainee himself and now today helps trainees make those life changes. 

Carlos Diaz

Peer Support Specialist
Volunteers of America

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Charles “Carlos” Diaz is a 2018 graduate of Anchorage Therapeutic Court, is a certified Peer Support Facilitator and Board Chair for the Alaska Therapeutic Court Alumni Group. Carlos facilitates Peer Support groups for AKTCA and also leads the AKTCA Victim’s Impact Panel for the State of Alaska, using Therapeutic Court Participants as presenters to help first time DUI offenders see the impacts of addiction. He is extremely active within the local recovery field and works tirelessly to be come more involved in Recovery at both the state and national levels. Carlos lives in Anchorage and works in his family business and has also recently accepted a job in the recovery field with Volunteers of America. Carlos’ vision and passion has led to the continued expansion and development of the AKTCA.

Jennifer Douglas

Peer Support Specialist
Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association (Four A’s)

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I am a person in long term recovery, who has a desire to help people right where they are, no matter where they are. I get to love on people who are using drugs, and help them prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS with clean injection supplies.
Eliza Eller

Program Director
Ionia & MUSKEG Wellness

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Eliza Eller is a founding mother of the bustling peer support village of Ionia – a cooperative eco-village in Kasilof (see www.ionia.org). Eliza’s recipe for staying sane and well includes wholesome plant based foods, close family and peer support, and simple seasonal activities such as gardening, natural building and berry picking. She is a peer support trainer who has practiced a holistic macrobiotic lifestyle for thirty years, and has thirteen beautiful, talented children as well as six young grandchildren, with whom she loves to cook, go sledding and read books. Eliza manages non-profit grants, and directs MUSKEG Wellness – for wellness and peer support trainings and workshops around Alaska. She is interested in projects underlining the connection between nature, self and community.

Jenifer Galvan

Peer Support Program & Training Manager
Alaska Behavioral Health

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Jenifer Galvan, BA, CPC-S, CPSP III, CDC I is a trauma survivor and has been in recovery for sixteen years. For the last fourteen years, she’s worked as a peer support professional on ACT (assertive community treatment team), IOP (intensive outpatient), transitional housing, and inpatient teams, as well as manning the suicide hotline. Today, she is the Peer Support Program & Training Manager at Alaska Behavioral Health, serves on multiple committees and boards, and over the last two years has trained nearly six hundred peer support professionals across the great state of Alaska. It has been her honor to serve her fellow peers and she looks forward to many future opportunities.

Adam Grove

Naturopathic Physician
Head to Toe Holistic Healthcare, LLC

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Dr. Adam Grove is a Naturopathic, family-practice doctor based in Anchorage, specializing in children and adults with neurological challenges. He emphasizes a whole-person focus with attention to accurate diagnosis and holistic treatment for brain-based issues. He works with people of all ages experiencing symptoms of ADD/ADHD, Autism, Brain injury and the like. He approaches each patient individually using treatments which are the least invasive, have the lowest chance of adverse effects and are the most effective. These include nutrition, herbs, supplements, neuro-feedback, cognitive training, craniosacral and other physical therapies. Dr. Grove received his doctorate from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington in 2002. He also holds a Masters of Arts degree in Soviet Area Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. He is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, member of the Alaska Brain Injury Council, founder of the Alaska Brain Injury Consortium and a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.

Tara Kern

Cultural Peer Support Specialist
Cook Inlet Tribal Council

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Sarah Koogle

Director of Adult Services
Alaska Behavioral Health

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Sarah Koogle, M. Ed., LPC-S,  has a master’s degree in clinical community counseling.  She has worked with a wide range of mental health issues in both inpatient and outpatient care, with adults and children.  Her passion lies in the community counseling setting

Keyda Lampkin

Lead Peer Support Professional 2
Alaska Behavioral Health Fairbanks

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Keyda S. Lampkin is the Lead Peer Support Professional 2 at Alaska Behavioral Health Fairbanks Peger Site. She has achieved my PSP1 and PSP2 a year and a half apart and will be eligible for my PSP3-S in about 5 more months.

“My goal is to help as many people as I can to gain and maintain recovery. I aspire to obtain my PSP3-S and become a manager with my current company by this time next year. I’m a kid at heart and love to color and paint abstract art”.  

Ptery Lieght

 

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Ptery Lieght is a long time activist for mental health rights and has also spent a great deal of time with learning alternative medicines. He now supports mindfulness as a deep level of healing and is driven to grow community.

Vesper Moore

Chief Operating Officer
Kiva Centers

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Vesper Moore is an Indigenous political activist, leader, organizer, public speaker, and educator in the psychiatric survivor and disability rights movements. Vesper concentrates on building social movements and public knowledge to facilitate and sustain systems change. They have supported the development of mental health peer-run organizations in different parts of the world. Vesper has brought the perspectives of mad, labeled mentally ill, neurodivergent, disabled people, and survivors to national and international spaces with their advocacy. They are a Board Member at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and Vice President at MindFreedom International. Vesper works with both the United States government and the United Nations in shaping strategies around trauma, intersectionality, and disability rights. They have been at the forefront of legislative reform to shift the societal paradigm surrounding mental health

Sean Morton

Mobile Crisis Team Program Manager
Wasilla, AK

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Sean Morton has 14 years clean and sober, and his sober date being July 20, 2008. Initially he served as a youth and family pastor for a variety of churches and denominations for a decade. Specifically serving youth that struggled with addiction and/or that had family members in addiction.  I came to AK in January of 2020 to work at True North Recovery as an OP Peer Support Specialist. I served in that role for 2 years before transitioning into crisis services. I then became the Mobile Crisis Team Program Manager in December of 2022.  He has been featured in many podcasts on peer support and shares his experiences with others.  “What I want people to know about people suffering from SUD is that we are in fact people. It’s easy to box someone in and vilify them as a junkie, addict, or drunk and hold those labels over them, forgetting that we are people, hurting, scared, trying to survive people. And the best way for a person to overcome their addiction is to be part of a community, a loving, boundary-setting, generous community.”

Sara Platt

Access to Care Program Manager
Recover Alaska

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Sara holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and has spent the last 12 years in the behavioral health world, including advocating for those who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault, working as an integrated health specialist, providing individual and group therapy, and overseeing admissions and early interventions for a community behavioral health clinic that provides both outpatient and residential services for substance use disorders. Sara arrived in Alaska six years ago and feels grateful for the opportunity to call Alaska her forever home. She has a passion for connecting individuals, families, and providers to each other, to themselves, and to shared goals in order to improve well-being for all Alaskans.

Ryen Richards

Peer Support Specialist

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Ryen Aavurauq Richards is a Traditional Peer Support Specialist, Peer Support Trainer, and Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, currently working as a Case Manager with Henning Inc. She is a proud single mother and Iñupiaq woman born at Qikiktagruk (Kotzebue), and raised in the Mat-Su Valley Alaska. Ryen has lived experience in many challenging areas of life; surviving suicide attempts, domestic violence, alcoholism/addiction, sexual assault, sex work, homelessness, and symptoms of mental illness. She identifies as a person in recovery, with 2.5 years sober from alcohol and 6 years sober from other substances. Her work experience proves over 1.5 decades in effective communication with a wide range of peoples. With a successful early career in sales, 4 years ago she transitioned into social work as a peer navigator, and has since served as a peer support specialist, reiki master practitioner, peer support trainer, parent advocate, case manager, housing specialist in the homeless community, and more. She enjoys spending time in nature, hiking, cold water immersion, breathwork, meditation, berry picking, and fishing. Ryen is dedicated to serving her communities in a good way, no matter the challenge.

Sasha Tsurnos

Peer Support Specialist

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Sasha was born and raised in Northern California, building her career as a peer through lived experience. 10/11/ 2007 she chose a different journey and has been free from mood- and mind-altering substances since. Moving to Anchorage Alaska in 2009 Sasha was introduced to opportunities where her lived experience offered support to other like- minded individuals and professionals. This was the catalyst that created her passion for creating platforms for individuals and communities to be heard and validated through peer support services. Sasha uses her personal and professional lived experience to offer support and training to organizations that are integrating and implementing peer support specialists across all continuums of care, professional development, and program development. Sasha’s education includes: Masters in Social Work, Peer Support Professional III Certification, and Chemical Dependency Counselor Supervisor Certification. 

 

Venus Woods

Director of HIV Prevention and Education
Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association (Four A’s)

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Venus Woods is a grass-roots community advocate, activist and entrepreneur for criminal justice reform and recovery advocacy. A lifelong Alaskan, mother of three daughters, and a formerly incarcerated woman in long term recovery from substance use disorder. Through her personal experiences, she works to reduce the stigma, and prejudice surrounding formerly incarcerated and/or convicted individuals and people who use or inject drugs. In addition to being a 2017 Leading with Conviction (LwC) cohort graduate with JustLeadershipUSA, she is also Alaska’s co-lead for Recovery Advocacy Project (RAP), RAP is working to build a visible and effective constituency in demand of community and public policy based solutions in response to America’s addiction crisis. Venus is a certified Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) Facilitator and has facilitated groups for community reentry programs, community residential centers, and the Alaska Federal Hope Court. She has served on multiple boards and coalitions devoted to reentry, transitional services, corrections reform, and Peer Support. Currently, Venus is the Director of HIV Prevention and Education at the Four A’s. Under her leadership, Four A’s provides critical harm reduction services through Four A’s Syringe Access Program (FASAP). The largest syringe access provider in the state, this program distributed just under 1 million syringes in 2019 and disposed of even more used syringes, greatly reducing the risk of sharing needles and spreading disease. Not only does FASAP reduce risk of HIV transmission for drug users, it is a safe space where clients can come without judgement – a place where they know they are cared for and can access resources and information on how to begin down the road to recovery should they chose.
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