Featured Staff Member: Annie Ferguson

Annie Ferguson is the newest addition to the IA2 team! She is the teams’ Public Health Communications Assistant. Annie is currently attending Montana State University in hopes to attend medical school this fall. As an Alaskan Native woman, Annie has felt health disparities firsthand in her community. 



What inspired you to apply?

“I applied for a position because I was impressed by IA2 values and dedication to helping Indigenous communities. I have always prioritized helping underserved communities, and this organization is working to create systemic changes that will benefit people for generations. It is an honor to work for IA2 and have the opportunity to create lasting positive changes in Native communities like my own.” 

What does success for this initiative look like to you?

“In my mind, success in this initiative means helping to reverse some of the stigma around dementia and assist Alaska Native and American Indian communities in promoting brain health. This initiative will help these communities feel heard and help organizations like IA2 understand what the needs in these communities are. This initiative will help to empower these communities to promote brain health and help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.”


Read more about Annie below.


IA2 Staff

DaveBaldridgephoto2012Dave Baldridge (Cherokee)

A nationally-recognized Native advocate for elder issues, Dave has served as the Executive Director of the International Association for Indigenous Aging since 2003. Prior to that he was the Executive Director of the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) from 1992-2002. During that time he published nearly two dozen monographs and papers dealing with long-term care and elder abuse. Under his leadership at NICOA, NICOA became the nation’s foremost non-profit advocate for AI/AN elders. The organization tripled in size while significantly influencing legislation and federal policies affecting or Indian and Alaska Native elders.

Dave has been actively involved in public policy and research efforts on federal, state, and local levels. He has vast experience in the legislative, budget and advocacy process, representing the interests of older American Indians to Congress, states, and tribes. He has testified before Congress on several occasions. He has twice served on the board of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and has been a technical assistance contractor to the Department of Justice Office of Violence against Women, assisting Native program grantees. His accomplishments include leading national advocacy for the Older Americans Act services for American Indian elders. He has authored numerous papers on Indian advocacy, health, demographics and culture. His work has involved extensive relationships with tribal councils and organizations, and sovereignty issues. His publications on a wide variety of Indian aging issues have been widely distributed and cited. He has interpreted Indian aging issues for Congressional subcommittees, federal task forces, state aging organizations, long-term care providers, Indian organizations, tribal- and inter-tribal councils.

In his spare time he volunteers as a K9 handler for Sandia Search Dogs (SSD) in Albuquerque, New Mexico (NM) and deploys on search and rescue missions with his 9-yr.-old border collie.  A SAR volunteer for nine years, Dave currently is the team’s President.  He served three years on the NM Emergency Services Council board of directors.


jolieuvapicJolie Crowder, PhD, RN, MSN, CCM

Jolie Crowder, Senior Project Director for IA2, has managed numerous projects involving program design and implementation, qualitative research, online surveying, program analysis and evaluation, organizational needs assessments and technical and consumer writing.

She also has extensive experience convening, facilitating and presenting at in person workshops, web seminars and web conferences on a variety of health care subjects.

She previously served as vice president of special projects for the American Health Quality Foundation, the charitable branch of the American Health Quality Association (AHQA). AHQA is the non-profit association representing Medicare Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs). Medicare QIOs are contractors for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) selected to assist health care providers and practitioners in improving the quality of health care for Medicare beneficiaries. During Jolie’s tenure with AHQF (a 501(c)3 that she was instrumental in establishing) she worked on a number of special projects and grants, focused on health care fraud, disease prevention, diabetes education, and other quality improvement related activities. She also served as the co-director of national health care consumer protection resource center. Prior to that, Jolie worked at AHQA as the vice president of operations and education where she managed a budget of $1.5 million and oversaw implementation of three major annual national health care quality conferences. Part of her early responsibilities at AHQA included serving as a liaison to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and completing a national report that compiled and analyzed health care improvement data from 55 QIOs across the country.

She also has experience as a client case manager in the worker’s compensation arena, and works part-time with a local health system providing community immunizations, and as a nurse care coordinator for a program that provides cardiovascular health screenings.


annieheadshotAnnie Ferguson (Sugpiaq) 

Annie Ferguson, Public Health Communications Assistant, is currently finishing her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology – Environmental Health with a minor in Global Health at Montana State University. After completing her bachelor’s degree, Annie hopes to attend medical school with the intention of serving Native communities. At Montana State, Annie has participated in numerous community organizations, including The Childhood Advancement Project, Office of Admissions Diversity Ambassador, The American Indian Council, The Befrienders program, Expanding Your Horizons mentorship program, and Eagle Mount. Beyond community involvement Annie has gained valuable experience through her job as a Caregiver, working in underserved areas within Montana. She has also worked as a Crisis Stabilization Worker at Western Montana Mental Health Center, serving Gallatin County and The Northern Cheyenne Tribe on the Lame Deer reservation. As an enrolled member of the Sugpiaq people, Annie has been able to conduct community participatory research in her Village of Ouzinkie, Alaska, aiding in creating a cultural preservation project. Annie is also working with Dr. Mark Shure as a research assistant to help create a trauma-informed response to help improve the mental well-being of the Apsaalooke tribal community. Annie has also assisted in teaching courses at Montana State, helping educate students and faculty of the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and providing a culturally inclusive curriculum for students at Montana State. Annie is interested in the use of community research to promote indigenous communities’ overall health and well-being.


MaryAnnFranksMary Ann Franks, MPH

Mary Ann, Public Health Communications Associate, has received a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education with a minor in Substance Abuse Education; Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment from Central Michigan University. After completing a Bachelor’s degree, Mary Ann completed a Master’s in Public Health at the University of Michigan in 2020. During her time at Central Michigan University, Mary Ann participated in many organizations, including Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, Lunch Buddies Mentoring Program at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Academy, Student Environmental Alliance, Para Los Ninos de Oaxaca, the Alternative Breaks Program, Leadership Safari, and other registered student organizations. While in school, she complemented her public health studies with several paid, volunteer, and internship opportunities. Work included experiences with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Mount Pleasant, an internship combatting homelessness with the Isabella County Restoration House, and mentoring youth in Pride Youth Programs, a peer-to-peer drug prevention and healthy lifestyle organization. She also completed study abroad trips to Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.  During her time in college, Mary Ann gained special interest in working with tribal communities. She assisted with the planning and implementation of the Ziibiwing Cultural Center’s Sacred Water Symposium. At the University of Michigan, Mary Ann served as a research assistant with Dr. Katie Schultz, continuing her study of Native American and tribal communities. Their work focused on the importance of community and cultural connectedness as a protective factor and developed culturally derived interventions. Additionally, she participated in the planning committee for the University of Michigan’s Native American Heritage Month and the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow. Mary Ann is interested in sustainable solutions that prioritize, include, and support indigenous knowledge.