Our Staff

Jennifer Ruiz, MBA

Executive Director

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.

Jennifer also has a passion for inspiring youth towards higher education, and so she enthusiastically serves on her tribe’s Education Committee as Vice Chairperson. Jennifer and her husband recently welcomed their first child into the world – a daughter! She loves animals (has two dogs and two cats), technology, and working/volunteering for nonprofit programs that make a difference in the community.

Nancy Pierce, RN,BSN,MPH

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 14 years, have twin daughters ( you will hear many stories about them) who are 7 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.

Somer Shaw, M.Ed.

Director of Youth Services

Somer was raised in Tollhouse, California (foothills northeast of Fresno). Somer obtained both her bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Masters’ in Education – Curriculum and Instruction from California State University, Fresno. She currently lives in Fresno with her husband, daughter and two cats (Nog Champa and Lolo).

Somer brings the experience of working with Sierra Unified providing summer enrichment at Cold Springs Rancheria; Fresno City College providing assistance to incoming students in Registration and Orientation; Fresno State as a Graduate Student Assistant with the NASA Education Resource Center and as a lecturer for the Literacy, Early, Bilingual, and Special Education Department; and the Bureau of Land Management as a Natural Resource Specialist at Piedras Blancas Lighthouse and as an Interpretive Park Ranger (a position she has returned to recently while continuing to provide support to Clubhouse). Somer enjoys learning California ethno botany, coloring and reading with her daughter and going hiking with her husband.

“It is my heritage (Muscogee and Hawaiian) and the stories of my own family that inspired me to go to college and the reason why I believe learning is a lifelong process. I’ve always valued my heritage and am proud to be a Native American woman; it is from this perspective that I hope to inspire Clubhouse youth and my daughter (born in 2012) to find their path to success in school and in life.”

Ramona Najera



Joyce Burel, MA

Family Therapist

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


Valerie has over 15 years of on-the-job experience in the Business Field especially in Bookkeeping and Accounting. 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, great-nephews, and great nieces. “My greatest enjoyment is spending time with them.”

She is very involved with her Church “The Church at the Southgate” which reaches out to the Southeast Community of Fresno.

Anthony Gonzales

Data Coordinator

Mike Colvard, BA, GD

Eastern Shawnee
Social Marketing Coordinator

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 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.

Paula Davila

Youth Coordinator

Paula Davila joined FAIHP in July 2011 doing work experience through the Tribal TANF WEX Program (Work Experience Training Program) and was then hired in December 2011 as the Peer Support Specialist part-time. Through the WEX Program, she worked at the FAIHP Clubhouse, planning events, tutoring the youth and assisting them in craft-making. As the Peer Support Specialist for the Circles of Care Project, she served as an advisor for which the team can vet ideas, methodology, and reports prior to presenting it to the Community Advisory Committee and the Youth Council. She is well connected to the community and really enjoys working with the community in promoting their well-being.

She enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid fan of football.

Amber Huhndorf, BS, CHES

Athabascan/Yupik Alaska.
Evaluation Assistant

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University in Public Health and is currently working towards a Master’s of Public Health at Fresno State. Her previous experience was with her tribal clinic as a Wellness Educator developing, implementing, and evaluating health programs.
Amber enjoys family gatherings, beach walking, and subsistence fishing for Sockeye Salmon in Alaska. She believes in her tribal traditional values: Self-sufficiency and Hard Work, Care and Provision for the Family, Family Relations and Unity, Love for Children, Village Cooperation and Responsibility to Village, Humor, Honesty and Fairness Sharing and Caring, Respect for Elders and Others.

David Najera


David is the transporter for Clubhouse and the Health Project and each year for summer camp. He enjoys driving, fishing and helping people in our community. David retired from a 30 year law enforcement career. He is our “GO-TO” guy whenever we need anything from food to supplies. His lovely wife Elena volunteers at FAIHP as well.

Nichole Redmond

Office Manager

Rachel Ramirez, BSW

Wukchumni Tribe

Rachel is a member of the Wukchumni Tribe and resides in Fresno, California where she grew up. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in 2012 from California State University, Fresno. Her education emphasized on Cultural Competency as well as Drug and Alcohol Studies.

Rachel enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She also enjoys learning new skills and attempting new things including skateboarding, rock-climbing, and playing the guitar. She truly enjoys assisting and being a member of the Native community.


Funded by

Fresno American Indian Health Project
1551 E. Shaw Avenue, Suite 139
Fresno, CA 93710

Phone: 559.320.0490
Fax: 559.320.0494

Subscribe to our E-mail List!

Receive important announcements and monthly newsletters.