Our Staff

Nickie Matus

Social Work Intern

I was born and raised in Fresno, CA., and am a descendant of the Mono, Choinumni, and Cassons tribes. I am a state Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor – Certified Addiction Specialist (CADC-CAS), with the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professions (CCAPP). My career concentration has been substance use disorder treatment at the Sierra Tribal Consortium, Inc./Turtle Lodge for 8-years. I am also currently in my senior year at Humboldt State University, and will graduate with my bachelor of arts in social work in May of 2017.

I have been married to my best friend Arthur for 3-years (partners for 10-years). Together we have 6-children and are the guardians of our nephew, ranging from 11 to 20-years old; Isaiah, Arthur, Frankie, Melina, Izabel, Andrew, and Rafael.

Rachelle Areyan

Youth Coordinator

Rachelle Areyan is from the Pascua Yaqui tribe. She has been working with youth for the past 5 years. She has worked at both GONA and the Robert Sundance Summer Camp in Bishop, California. She has also volunteered with many other events and programs here at the Fresno American Indian Health Project.

She has come home back to Fresno after spending a year and a half as a substitute teacher in Tennessee.  She is now looking forward to serving the Native youth here in the community she was born and raised in. She enjoys spending time with her husband Paul and their 2 fur babies Penny and Max. She enjoys all things outdoors and playing/listening to music.

Rachel Ramirez

Director of Youth Services

Rachel Ramirez is Wukchumni-Yokut and was born and raised in Fresno. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Social Work from Fresno State. Previously, she has worked with FAIHP as the MSPI Coordinator and mainly worked with the teen youth at Clubhouse. She is excited to learn more about all of the Native youth at Clubhouse.

Carizma Amila Chapman, DMFT, PhD, LMFT

Director of Behavioral Health

Carizma Amila Chapman joins our team from Atlanta Georgia. She is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist and Family Educator with a passion for collaborating with families, communities, and organizations in the promotion of community wellness. Trained as a behavioral scientist with concentrations in public health, systems consultation, and bioethics, she received her master’s degree at Appalachian State University and dual doctorates at Loma Linda University. Carizma Amila’s professional experience includes community assessments, program development, program evaluation, and the provision of educational and therapeutic services. In her work, she strives to combat social inequity, and develop and implement holistic interventions that support community and family healing and wellness.

Carizma Amila is excited to have joined FAIHP, and plans to support the team’s efforts to improve the health and raise the quality of life of American Indians and Alaska Natives, by aiding in the implementation of a sustainable program of holistic and culturally appropriate wellness services.

Keith Turner

Transporter

Domingo Ramirez

Transporter

Elena Goode

Data Coordinator 

Mono
Elena was born and raised in the Fresno/ Clovis area and just completed certification in medical billing and coding.
On a more personal note, she enjoys spending time with family, being the mother to two beautiful children and a huge fan of all things comic related.
Elena is incredibly thankful to be given the opportunity to serve and help make a difference in the American Indian community.

Dawn Batten

Billing Manager

Dawn has a very diverse back ground, she comes to us with over 15 years expertise in the Medical Coding, Insurance, and Billing Management field. 6+ years of Allied Health Curriculum instructing, along with family and youth outreach programs, and working with the Retired Veteran population. Bringing her knowledge of CMS, Behavioral Health and Individual Psychotherapy education. She is a member of AAPC for Certified Professional Coders, AAPMR with regard to Physisatry and Physical Medicine.

She has a passion for humanity and working with youth as well as adults. She is currently working on her BSW through Brescia University, with a concentration on Behavioral Science.  Dawn has 2 amazing grown sons that compliment and enrich her life. She is excited and blessed to be a part of this incredible journey helping to add to the lives of all those she meets in a positive way.

Tony Quintanilla

Outpatient Therapist

I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist. I received my graduate degree from the University of San Francisco. I have been working as a therapist for the past 10 years. I’ve worked within the managed care system, for non-profit organizations as well as in the Juvenile Justice System and served adults, teens, children and families. I work closely with dreams, expressive arts, parenting (Love and Logic), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), guided imagery to help bring about change.  I am vegan and on my spare time, I like to try out new vegan places to eat. I also enjoy learning about different cultures and spiritual belief systems.

Laura Wass

Community Garden/CARE Coordinator

Mountain Maidu

I am so excited and thankful and to be a part of the amazing team at FAIHP!  After working in the field for decades with our Native families in matters of the ICWA, Substance Abuse, Prevention, and Native Youth Programs, I am blessed to plant my feet and be given the opportunity to grow and be of service in an environment which actively supports community, culture, traditions, and balance.

As the new Community Garden/Care Coordinator, I would like to invite everyone to come to “Iuhpin”, our Native Community Garden, and receive so many wonderful blessings from our Mother Earth, and share in the sacred teachings she continues to give to all our generations.  We would love to have you a huge part of the growth of the “Iuhpin” and are looking forward to seeing you there!

Joyce Burel, MA

Family Therapist

Chukchansi
Joyce received a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and a Masters in Counseling from Sonoma State University. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years of experience. In addition to her years of service as a therapist working with individuals, couples and families, a job she considers both a privilege and an honor, she is also trained and certified as a Mediator.
She has taught intercultural communication, negotiation and mediation to federal, state and local agencies and Indian tribes throughout the United States. She is a member of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians and lives on trust land that has been in her family for over 100 years. Joyce also serves on the Native American Advisory Council to the Phoebe Hearst Museum at University of California, Berkeley.

Ruben Garcia

CBANS Peer Support Specilaist

Manchester-Point Arena
Band of Pomo Indians

Ruben is a member of the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians. He spent the first half of his life living on the Point Arena Rancheria, and for the other half he has resided in Fresno. He joined the FAIHP team under the CBANS program.

The CBANS program is a culturally based peer support navigation program. As a Peer Support Specialist he is here to provide prevention and early intervention,connecting the Native American community to the right resources that they need to live a less stressful and healthier life. CBANS focus is to improve the knowledge of mental health and the availability of services in the community. Not only to inform, also to connect our community with the proper services through peer support and navigation.

“As a member of the FAIHP team and as a community member I enjoy nothing more than serving the Native Community.”

Valerie Alanis

Bookkeeper

Valerie has over 20 years of experience in the Bookkeeping/Accounting Field and has been with FAIHP since August 16, 2012. She has always felt a sense of belonging at FAIHP and discovered in July of 2016 through DNA testing that she is 34% Native American, which is something she never really knew, but had a feeling of. She is now searching Family History to find her Native American Roots, which though very hard work, is also very exciting and rewarding.

She was born in Fresno California and has remained in the Fresno/Clovis area all of her life. She has two brothers and one sister, and many nephews, nieces, great­nephews, and great nieces.

Mike Colvard, BA

Social Marketing Coordinator

Eastern Shawnee

As Social Marketing Coordinator Mike is responsible for getting out information about what’s going on at FAIHP and our Community via traditional and social media like; Newsletters and flyers, brochures and signs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Website and others. He also enjoys teaching the youth and community about design, social media, photography and computers.

Mike graduated from California State University, Fresno and is a member of the Eastern Shawnee tribe of Oklahoma. His Great Grandfather, Bluejacket was a Chief. Mike has worked in every facet of the advertising design & web industry and enjoys working as a team to help others. “Every organization can benefit from Good Design.”

He is married to Kandra and has three wonderful children;Alexandra, Hayley & Luke, 2 dogs, 2 tortoises, enjoys the outdoors, cycling, fishing, painting, skateboarding, surfing, playing and watching volleyball and being a self-proclaimed computer geek.

Nichole Redmond

Office Manager

Mono

Nikki is the Office Manager at FAIHP. She began working here in 2009 through the CIMC Work Express Program. She has worked as the Transporter for the Clubhouse and the Main Office.

Nikki is the mother to five beautiful children and is a tribal member of the Northfork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians.

She enjoys spending time with her family and giving back to her community.

Renee Ingalls, RD

Dietician

Renee was born and raised in Fresno/Clovis and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Fresno State. She went on to complete her internship through their comprehensive dietetic internship program.

She has worked mainly in the hospital setting since becoming a dietitian, where she was disheartened to see patients suffering from lifestyle-related disease and complications of diabetes. Much of which could have been avoided if the patients were simply given the tools and knowledge to manage their own care. She is excited to have the opportunity to now focus on empowering people towards self-management and prevention. Renee’s goal is to increase awareness in the Native American community of the impact nutrition can have on disease prevention, well-being and quality of life.

In her free time she enjoys relaxing with friends and family, reading, baking, gardening, riding her bike, hiking, and spending time with her many animals.

Amber Molina, ASW62562

Outpatient Therapist

Navajo

Amber joins the FAIHP team from her hometown of McFarland, California. She moved to Fresno in 2004 to pursue a college education and has since made it her home. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from California State University, Fresno and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from California State University, Bakersfield. She is currently working on earning her clinical hours to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapist. She comes to FAIHP with a wide variety of experience working with diverse populations and communities.

Amber has experience working in the mental health field, non-profit organizations, foster care, community outreach, volunteer recruitment, case management, and also providing therapeutic services to individuals and families. Clinically, she focuses on a strengths-based approach emphasizing on Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Art and Play Therapy, Motherhood is Sacred facilitation, Mending Broken Hearts: Healing Unresolved Grief facilitation, and also techniques pertaining to conflict resolution including creating healthy coping and self-soothing skills which are incorporated into personal wellness.

Amber enjoys meeting new people, hiking, watching movies, trying different restaurants, traveling, spending time with family and friends, line dancing, being a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program since 2012, and practicing Native traditions. Amber is grateful and blessed to be a part of the FAIHP team and to be able to provide services in hopes of promoting the well-being of others, healing, and encouraging various components of healthy living including physical, emotional, and mental wellness. Connecting the mind, body, and spirit is a very powerful part of life, if we can do this we are limitless!

Amber’s favorite quote:

“She believed she could, so she did.”

Michelle Cabral

Care Coordinator

For the past twenty years I’ve worked in Substance Abuse Counseling and Case Management.  I’ve had the opportunity to work in adult prisons, junior high and high school youth /families, and outpatient counseling. I hold an Associate in Criminology, in pursuit of attaining higher education in Psychology. Working with families, youth and individuals overcome barriers in a healthy manner, has led me to discover my passion is working with people and community.

Be the change you wish to see in this world.

“Gandi”

Jennifer Ruiz, MBA

Executive Director

Chukchansi

Jennifer was born and raised in Fresno/Clovis, California and is an enrolled member of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of Coarsegold, California. Jennifer has over ten years progressive experience working in Indian Health and nonprofit programs. She earned bachelor’s degrees in cultural anthropology and history, and then a Master’s in Business Administration at California State University, Fresno.

Pete Molina

Community Coordinator

Pasqua Yaqui

Pete was born in Tucson Arizona and is a enrolled member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe
He worked for the Veterans Administration for 40 years, 26 years in Healthcare and 14 years
as a Marketing and Community Outreach Specialist. Pete retired 2010 to take a Governors
Appointment as Assistant Secretary of Native American Affairs for California Department
of Veteran Affairs.

Pete has been the Chairman of the Board Of FAIHP 2007 to 2015 and is now
Honored to be the Community Coordinator for FAIHP.

Nancy Pierce, RN,BSN,MPH

Public Health Nurse

As the Public Health Nurse here at Fresno American Indian Health Project, I can’t ask for a more rewarding position. I have been working in the public health field for over 12 years, and have been a nurse for more than 20 years. Public health is definitely my love and my calling. When I was attending California State University Fresno, where I completed my nursing degree, I worked with Central Valley Indian Health and the Native Americans up in our hills near Auberry and Friant, never knowing that I would return someday to work with Native Americans again. I enjoy the people and the challenges and hope to help them, and touch a few lives along the way.

On a personal note, I have been married for over 14 years, have twin daughters ( you will hear many stories about them)  and a step son, 4 cats, and a dog. Our family spends most of our fun time camping and fishing, four wheel driving and playing on the beach. We go as often as we can. I love gardening and outdoors in general, I feel most alive in spirit and body when I am in the outdoors, especially the mountains.

I truly believe that I was guided to this position by a higher power, and every day brings a new adventure in life. Thank you for this opportunity.

Funded by

Fresno American Indian Health Project 1551 E. Shaw Avenue, Suite 139 Fresno, CA 93710
Phone: 559.320.0490 Fax: 559.320.0494

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