THRO Team: Building Research Partnerships for Healthy Tribal Nations

Robin I. Kawazoe

Acting Director

Ms. Robin I. Kawazoe became acting director of the Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) in January 2023. In this role, she leads the THRO team and works with representatives across NIH to coordinate and promote efforts to improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. THRO is part of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI). Ms. Kawazoe joined DPCPSI as acting deputy director in November 2008 and was appointed deputy director in October 2009. Her responsibilities include a combination of program and administrative management and planning, policy development, and implementation. Before joining DPCPSI, she held multiple positions at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), including acting deputy director. Ms. Kawazoe spent much of her career in science policy and planning as the director of the Office of Science Policy and Planning in the NIH Office of the Director and as deputy director of the Office of Science Policy and Communications at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), among other senior-level positions. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Maryland at College Park.

David R. Wilson, Ph.D.

On assignment to the White House Council on Native American Affairs

Dr. David R. Wilson, a member of Navajo Nation, was appointed first director of the NIH Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) in 2017. In this leadership role, Dr. Wilson brings together NIH representatives, resources, and research to address Tribal health concerns. He works to build a unified NIH presence with which to engage and ensure input from Tribal leaders across the country. Dr. Wilson is committed to encouraging underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in science and aims to expand training opportunities for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Previously, he served as public health advisor and American Indian and Alaska Native policy lead with the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and was a senior research scientist at the National Institute on Aging at NIH. He has a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from Arizona State University.

Juliana Blome, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.S.

Deputy Director

As deputy director, Dr. Juliana Blome coordinates and advocates for Tribal health research across NIH. Dr. Blome provides leadership and technical assistance to federal staff and extramural researchers regarding Tribal sovereignty and ethical and culturally appropriate research policies and practices when conducting research with Tribal Nations. She oversees THRO communications and legislative activities, including work to strengthen collaboration between NIH and American Indian and Alaska Native communities, build partnerships based on trust and transparency, and increase cultural awareness in research that improves health in Tribal communities. Dr. Blome has more than 15 years of senior-level experience at NIH and has also worked in the U.S. Senate. She graduated from Columbia University with a Ph.D. in sociology, M.P.H. in sociomedical sciences, and M.S. in clinical social work.

Mose Herne, M.P.H., M.S., CGPM

Senior Advisor

Mr. Mose Herne, a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation (Turtle Clan), is senior advisor in THRO and provides expert guidance on major Tribal health research policy issues affecting NIH, the biomedical research enterprise, and American Indian and Alaska Native communities across the country. Prior to joining NIH in 2021, Mr. Herne was chief executive officer for the Hopi Health Care Center, part of the Indian Health Service (IHS), and previously led the IHS Division of Planning, Evaluation, and Research and the Division of Behavioral Health. He also held clinical positions with the Veterans Health Administration and IHS Urban Indian Health Programs; taught at Boston University and Fitchburg State College; and was the public health director for the Franklin County Health Department in New York. Mr. Herne is a Gulf War veteran and served as a nuclear propulsion plant operator on U.S. Navy fleet ballistic missile and fast attack submarines. He has a B.S. in psychology from Clarkson University, M.P.H. in environmental health sciences from Boston University, and M.S. in neuroscience from Brandeis University.

Selina Keryte, M.P.H

Health Science Policy Analyst

Ms. Selina Keryte, a member of Navajo Nation, is a health science policy analyst in THRO. She uses her extensive experience serving American Indians and Alaska Natives to coordinate work with the NIH Tribal Advisory Committee and develop cultural awareness trainings for NIH staff and extramural researchers. Prior to joining NIH in 2020, Ms. Keryte was the national lead for the Domestic Violence Prevention Program at the Indian Health Service and led efforts to strengthen capacity among the 12 nationally recognized Tribal Epidemiology Centers. She has a M.P.H. from the University of New Mexico.

Jacqueline Reardon

Program Specialist

Ms. Jacquelyn (Jackie) Reardon joined THRO in 2020 as a program specialist. She provides administrative and organizational support to help THRO meet its NIH-wide goals for Tribal health research. Previously, Ms. Reardon worked in the NIH Office of AIDS Research, where she assisted with the development and implementation of the Paperless Administrative Support System (PASS), managed the summer intern program, and supervised the scanning team. She graduated from the Academy of Business with a Certification in Information Processing. A leader in her community, Ms. Reardon coaches young people in competitive kickball.

Bonnie Tabasko, M.S., CHES

Communications Director

Ms. Bonnie Tabasko leads THRO’s strategic communications and engagement activities with federal partners, Tribal Nations, and Tribal-serving organizations. An advocate for the health of people and the planet, she is a longtime NIH communications advisor, strategist, and writer with more than two decades of experience working across the agency. Prior to joining THRO in 2020, Ms. Tabasko directed communications focused on older adults, environmental influences on children’s health, and women’s health research. Before a sabbatical of international travel and volunteer work, primarily in Bhutan, she led and supported NIH-wide communications efforts for 10 years as part of the Office of Communications and Public Liaison in the Office of the Director. She started her NIH career at the Clinical Center, the nation’s largest hospital devoted entirely to clinical research. Ms. Tabasko has a B.S. in communications from Ithaca College and M.S. in health promotion management from American University, during which she worked with an obesity prevention program at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

This page last reviewed on March 16, 2023