Emerging infections & Tribal Communities: What we learned

EITC Conference

“The year was a challenge and it continues to be a challenge. But we have persevered and we will all succeed together. ​ As President of Diné College, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to the “Emerging Infection & Tribal Communities Conference.” I would like to thank all of you who have worked on putting this conference together. We are cognizant of the growing crisis of Covid-19 and its impact on our communities and worldwide. The conference seeks to understand and have an open conversations with a team of professionals and scientists about what we have learned from the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are a Medicine men/ women, a homeopath, believes or practice Western or Eastern Medicine; or you are a nurse, pharmacist, microbiologist, virologist, public health professional or associated with life sciences in any way this conference is for you. We welcome you to this conference and look forward to your participation.”

Dr. Charles Roessel, Diné College President

“Thank you for registering for the “Emerging Infection & Tribal Communities Conference.”  As Provost of Diné College, I would like to express my appreciation to everyone involved for making this conference possible. This meeting will assemble the leaders in the expanding fields related to the infectious diseases specially SARS-CoV-2 its spread, impact on the communities, research and development of new strategies to combat these situations. We welcome your participation to join us virtually from the comfort of your home, learn, discuss and enhance your understanding of COVID 19 and its impact on every one of us globally”.

Dr. Geraldine Garrity, Diné College

Mr James Tutt

“We are pleased to welcome you as a participant in the upcoming “Emerging Infection & Tribal Communities Conference.” We are sure you will find resourceful and productive information about Covid-19 as Diné College and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) collaborated to host this event. We hope this conference gives our participants the knowledge and the tools they need to prepare for the future. Please encourage your family, friends and colleagues to participate. We hope you are able to join us and wish the conference much success.”

James Tutt, Dean of STEM, Diné College

About American Society for Microbiology:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), originally the Society of American Bacteriologists, is a professional organization for scientists who study viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa as well as other aspects of microbiology. It was founded in 1899. With a mission “to promote and advance the microbial sciences”. ASM provides professional development opportunities and supports microbiology professionals through 60 fellowships and 300 travel awards, webinars, conferences, workshops, networking opportunities, continuing education and honorific awards. Being one of the largest society for microbiology ASM has more than 30,000 members nationally and internationally, including researchers, educators and health professionals. Membership is open to all and is offered at a discounted rate to students, postdoctoral fellows and emeritus faculty. ASM’s newest Clinical Lab Scientist membership category was established in 2019. ASM promotes a public understanding of microbiology through science festivals, public outreach campaigns and museum exhibits. ASM engages the science-interested public and microbiologists through articles reaching nearly 25,000 readers per month, 9 podcasts with 1.5 million downloads and close to half a million social media followers. ASM produces eight podcasts, including This Week in Microbiology, This Week in Virology, and This Week in Parasitism, hosted by Vincent Racaniello. Mundo de los Microbios hosted by Gary Toranzos, is ASM’s weekly Spanish-language podcast. Meet the Microbiologist is a podcast hosted by Julie Wolf, Ph.D., that showcases the people behind the scientific discoveries in various cutting-edge areas of the microbial sciences.

Goals and objectives of the conference:

This one day Conference, is planned for spring of 2021, seeks to focus primarily on the emerging outbreaks/ infections in the light of current COVID-19 outbreak. To foster broad sharing of the challenges, latest scientific, biological, diagnostic, epidemiological, clinical, ecological, and social sciences information and strategies to adopt for future in these type of scenarios. This proposed Conference incorporates both a scientific and a community focus, and will be open to everyone in general and members of Navajo Nation and other tribal communities of North America in particular without any registration cost virtually.

This Virtual Conference will:

Provide an exceptional opportunity to underscore the work which has happended, is ongoing, and is planned to occur, with brave hearts, learned faculty and Community, enthusiastic students/researchers and warrior approach not only in Navajo Nation or tribal communities but throughout North America. Expected invitees/presenters and participants of the event will include individuals from:

Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President
Navajo Nation Tribal Epidemiology Center;
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA
American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
American Society for Microbiology Arizona Chapter
Biosafety behaviour, USA
Indian Health Services
Tribal Universities, Colleges, organizations of US and Canada
Navajo Nation Community Members and Diné College students

Conference information flyer [jpg]
Conference speakers information [jpg print]
Conference speakers information [pdf digital]
Conference program agenda [pdf digital]

Main Organizing & Conference Planning Committee:

Dr. Shazia Tabassum Hakim, Diné College: stabassum@dinecollege.edu
Mr. Jams Tutt, Diné College: jmtutt@dinecollege.edu
Dr. Joseph Angel deSoto, Diné College: jadesoto@dinecollege.edu
Ms. Barbara Klein, Diné College: bklein@dinecollege.edu
Dr. Donald Robinson, Diné College: dkrobinson@dinecollege.edu

About Diné College

Diné College is the first tribally controlled and accredited collegiate institution in the United States. Established in 1968 as Navajo Community College, it was later renamed Diné College. The Navajo Nation sought to create an institution of higher education that encouraged Navajo youth to become contributing members of the Navajo Nation and the world.

Brief information of PIs and Co-PIs

Dr S. Hakim

Dr. Shazia T. Hakim

Diné College PI (PhD, SCCM (MLS), CRC)

Professor B. Klein

Barbara Klein

Diné College Co-PI (MS)

Dr. J. Angel de Soto

Dr. Joseph Angel de Soto

Diné College Co-PI (MD, PhD, DSS)

Conference Program

Opening Prayers

Avery Denny

Professor Avery Denny (Navajo)

Blessings & Protection, Diné College

Opening Remarks by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez

Jonathan Nez

Navajo Nation President

Our Key note speaker

Leandris Liburd

Dr. Leandris Liburd

Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Equity, CDC

Our confirmed speakers:

Sean Kaufman

Mr. Sean Kaufman

Founding Partner of Safer Behavior

Dr. Steven Specter

Dr. Steven Specter

Professor Emeritus USF, Former President Pan American Society for Clinical Virology

Dr. Jason Rao

Dr. Jason Rao

Executive Director, Health Security

Dr. Charles Gerba

Dr. Charles Gerba

Professor, Environmental Science Department, University of Arizona

Dr. J.Jim

Dr. Jill Jim (Navajo)

Exe. Director, Navajo Nation DoH, Member President-elect Biden’s Covid-19 Advisory Board

Ramona Antone-Nez

Ms. Ramona Antone-Nez (Navajo Iroquois Oneida)

Director, Navajo Epidemiology

Dr. Ian B. Hogue

Dr. Ian B. Hogue

Biodesign Institute & School of Life Science, Arizona State University, President Elect ASM’s Arizona/ Southern Nevada Branch

Dr. Syed Sattar

Dr. Syed Sattar

Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and Chief Scientific Officer, CREM Co Labs, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Janet Smylie

Dr. Janet Smylie (Métis)

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Advancing Generative Health Services for Indigenous Populations in Canada & Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Steve Teekens

Mr. Steve Teekens (Nipissing First Nation)

Executive Director at Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence), ON, Canada

Dr. Nicole Muir

Dr. Nicole Muir (Métis/Anishnawbe)

Well Living House, Toronto, ON,

Dr. Mary Jane McCallum (Cree Nation)

Senator, Senate of Canada, Representative of the province of Manitoba

Conference Program Information

All attendees will enter the meeting with their mic muted and will be unable to turn on their video.

To ask a question:

  • Click the Q&A button at the bottom of your screen
  • Please type your question in the Q&A box (not in the chat box)
  • At the end of the session questions will be answered

There is no Registration fee but registration is mandatory to access the conference link. Please get yourself registered by clicking the “Register” tab.

Time (MDT) Topic/Speaker/Affiliation
Session One
Emcee: Professor Dr. Mark Bauer, PhD, Diné College
8:00 – 8:15 am Opening Prayer: Navajo Nation Elder and Medicine Man
Professor Avery Denny (Blessings & Protection)
8:20-8:50 am Welcome Notes & Overview: Diné College President
Dr Charles (Monty) Roessel, PhD (Member Navajo Nation)
8:55– 9:25 am Opening Remarks: Navajo Nation President
Mr. Jonathan Nez (Member Navajo Nation)
9:30 – 10:30 am Key Note Presentation: Working Together: Challenges and Solutions for Tribal Nations and Communities of Color
Dr. Leandris Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA
CDC Chief Health Equity Officer & Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Equity
CDC-Office of Minority Health and Health Equity
10:35 – 11:00 am Presentations 1: Remembering The COVID-19 Outbreak: Global
Dr. Steven Specter, PhD
Former Chair, Clinical Immunology Division of ASM, Former President Pan American Society for Clinical Virology, Professor Emeritus, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine.
11:05- 11:30 am Presentations 2: Updates on Facilities and Capacity to Combat COVID-19 like Situations in Navajo Communities
Dr. Jill Jim, PhD, MPH, MHA (Member Navajo Nation)
Former Member President Elect Biden’s COVID Advisory team, Executive Director Navajo Nation Department of Health (NNDOH)
11:35 –12:15 pm Presentations 3: Ze Meno Nesewong (Breathing Well): Working together to respond holistically to COVID-19 among First Nations, Inuit, and Metis living in, Canada.
A Co- presentation by
Dr. Janet Smylie, MD, MPH, FCFP (Member Métis Nation), Unity Health, St. Michaels Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada
Mr. Steve Teekens, MA (Member Nipissing First Nation), Executive Director at Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence) Toronto, ON, Canada
And, Dr. Nicole Muir, PhD (Member Métis Nation), Well Living House, Toronto, ON, Canada
12:15 -12:30 pm Question & Answers Session-I: Moderated by Dr. Mark Bauer, PhD, Diné College
12:30 – 1:00pm LUNCH Break
Session Two
Emcee: Professor Dr. Scott Bender, DVM, FADD, Diné College
1:00 – 1:30pm Presentations 4: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 through a First Nations Lens: Why Science is Not Enough
Dr. Mary Jane McCallum (Cree Nation)
Senator, Senate of Canada, Representative of the province of Manitoba
1:35 – 2:00pm Presentations 5: Working Together: Feds, States, Tribal Communities; Sharing Epidemiological Data
Ms. Ramona Antone-Nez, MPH, BSN (Member Navajo Nation and Iroquois Oneida)
Director Navajo Nation Epidemiology Center
2:05 -2:30 pm Presentations 6: Sewage, Source Tracking, COVID-19 & Pandemics
Dr. Charles p. Gerba, PhD, ABMM
Professor of Virology in the Department of Environmental Science, Water & Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center, University of Arizona
2:35 – 3:00 pm Presentation 7: COVID-19 and the Global Village: Travel Bans, Spread of Disease, International diplomacy
Dr. Jason Rao, PhD
CEO Health Security Partner; Former Director ASM International Affairs, Former senior policy advisor for Global Science Engagement in the White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Obama, Adjunct faculty with Cornell, Georgetown and George Washington Universities.
3:05 – 3:30 pm Presentation 8: How far will the Pandemic go with Current Infection Prevention and Control Practices?
Dr. Syed A. Sattar, PhD, RCCM
Professor Emeritus, University of Ottawa, Canada, and Chief Scientific Officer, CREM Co Labs, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
3:35 – 4:00 pm Presentation 9: COVID-19 and Safer Behaviors: Fostering Resiliency During Pandemic Situations
Mr. Sean G. Kaufman, MPH, CHES, CPH
Infectious Diseases Behavioral Expert, CEO and Founding Member Safe Behaviours
4:05 – 4:30 pm Presentation 10: Introduction to the molecular biology of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine candidates
Dr. Ian Hogue, PhD
President Elect ASM’s Arizona / Southern Nevada Chapter. Assistant Professor at Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy, and the School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
4:35 – 5:00 pm Question & Answers Session-II: Moderated by Dr. Rajneesh Verma, PhD, Diné College
5:00 – 5:20 pm Comments by the Dean, School of STEM: Professor James Tutt, MS
5:25 – 5:50 pm Summary: Professor Dr. Joseph Angel de Soto, MD, PhD, DSS, Diné College
5:55 – 6:10 pm Next Steps; Planning: Professor Dr. Shazia T. Hakim, PhD, SCCM(MLS), MLT, Diné College
6:15 – 6:30 pm Concluding Remarks: Dr. Geraldine Garrity, Ed.D, Provost Diné College

Thank You for Joining Us!

Technical Assistance:
Telecommunication & IT: Ms. Joy Thompson, Ms. Michele Vicenti & Team, Dr. Rajneesh Verma, Dr. Kevin Webster
Marketing & Media: Ms. Marie Nez, Mr. George Joe & Team

This Conference is supported by “America Society for Microbiology Conference Grant”, awarded, June 2020 to PI: Dr. Shazia T. Hakim and Co-PIs: Dr. Joseph A. deSoto & Ms. Barbara Klein


Conference Program Videos

Session One
Watch video

Session Two
Watch video

Conference Planning Committee

Organizing Committee:
Professor James Tutt Dr. Joseph deSoto Dr. Fred Boyd
Dr. Shazia T. Hakim Dr. Don Robinson Professor Barbara Klein
Dr. Mark Bauer


Marketing and Promotion Committee:
George Joe Jazzmine Martinez Phyllis Begay
Marie Nez Scott Tom Bernard Dotson
Dr. Shazia T. Hakim


Information Technology Support:
Joy Thompson & Diné College IT Team


Operations & Maintenance and Facilities:
Velveena Davis Gilberta Yazzie Claude Sandoval
Priscilla Cooley

Venue, Hotels, and Tourism Information in case you love to explore the beauty and treasures of Navajo Reservation after COVID-19 travel restrictions.

We will virtually host you from Diné College, Navajo Nation.

Diné College
Tsaile, AZ



  • Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly, 928-674-5000
  • Best Western Canyon de Chelly, 928-674-5875
  • Thunderbird Lodge, 928-674-5842


  • Quality Inn, 928-871-4108
  • Navajoland Inn, 928-871-5690


  • The View Hotel, 435-727-5555
  • Goulding’s Lodge, 435-727-3231



Spider Rock

Chinle, AZ

  • Canyon De Chelly Nation Monument
  • Canyon Tours: Tseyi Canyon Tours
  • Mummy Cave Overlook
  • Massacre Cave Overlook
  • Antelope House Overlook
  • White House Ruins/Trail
  • Ancient Pueblo Villages
  • Spider Rock
Window Rock

Window Rock, AZ

  • Window Rock Monument
  • Window Rock Museum
  • Window Rock Zoo
  • Tribal Park
  • Michaels Historical Museum & Mission
Buffalo Pass

Lukachukai, AZ

  • Buffalo Pass Scenery


Four Corners Monument

Teec Nos Pos, AZ

  • Four Corners Monument
Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

  • South/North Rim
  • Desert View Watchtower
  • Lipan Point
Antelope Canyon

Page, AZ

  • Antelope Canyon
Horseshoe Bend

Page, AZ

  • Horseshoe Bend
Monument Valley Tribal Park

Monument Valley, UT

  • Monument Valley Tribal Park

Contact Us for more information!

Professor Shazia T. Hakim, Ph.D.
Diné College
928-283-5113 Ext:7520

Professor Joseph Angel de Soto, Ph.D.
Diné College

Professor Barbara Klein
Diné College


    Professor Shazia T. Hakim Ph.D.
    Diné College
    928-283-5113 Ext:7520

    Dine College Facebook Dine College YouTube Dine College Twitter Dine College Instagram

    Mary Jane McCallum is a Cree woman from the Barren Lands First Nation in Brochet, Manitoba. Her husband, Ron Phillips, is a professor at Nipissing University and her two daughters, Courtenay and Keeley Phillips, are both lawyers, one working in Saskatchewan and the other in British Columbia. In 2016, Mary Jane reunited with her son, Jonathan, whom she gave up for adoption in 1975.

    She started her career in the dental field as a dental assistant in 1973. Mary Jane then received her dental nursing diploma in 1977, dental therapy diploma in 1979, and her dental degree from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Dentistry in 1990.

    Mary Jane spent most of the past forty-four years providing dental services and treatment to First Nations in Manitoba as a dental nurse, dental therapist and dentist. From 1996-2000, she worked as the Regional Dental Officer for the province of Manitoba. In 2000, she worked as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Manitoba. Yet, her passion always remained working with Indigenous people in the community-based setting.

    Mary Jane went to the Guy Hill Residential School in Manitoba from 1957–1968. Mary Jane continues to present to school children, university students, academics, and communities about residential school. She believes that Canada must never forget the genocide of their Original Peoples and that lateral and vertical violence against Indigenous Peoples still exists today; a result of sustained governmental policies.

    On Dec. 2, 2017, Mary Jane was appointed to the Senate of Canada as a representative of the province of Manitoba. She assumed this mantle with reconciliation top of mind, recognizing its importance for Canada if we are to be recognized as human rights leaders.

    Dr. Nicole Muir (Métis/Anishnawbe) from Saskatchewan and Red River, Manitoba. She is currently doing a post doctoral fellowship with Dr. Janet Smylie at the University of Toronto in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Nicole completed a PhD in Forensic Psychology at Simon Fraser University where she studied trauma and Indigenous youth on probation. Her research interests include historical trauma, youth justice, foster care, intervention, and violence risk assessment tools. Before going back to university, Nicole worked many different frontline jobs across Canada including in Toronto, on Baffin Island and in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Nicole worked as a family home visitor at Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (an Indigenous child protection agency). She was also an addictions counselor and Traditional Counselor at Anishnawbe Health Toronto (an Indigenous health unit). Currently, in her post doc, Nicole is involved in supporting Auduzhe Mino Nesewinong (Place of Healthy Breathing), an Indigenous COVID assessment and support centre. Specifically, she developed and delivered contact tracing training for Indigenous outreach workers.

    Steve Teekens a member of Nipissing First Nation, has a Master Degree in Public Administration from Queen’s University. Steve is the Executive Director at Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence) where he has worked since 2008.

    Steve is very active in Toronto’s Indigenous Community where he volunteers at Aboriginal Legal Services Community Council Program, also teaches traditional drumming to the youth and men at various Native organizations inside and outside of Toronto.

    Steve enjoys working and volunteering in the Indigenous Community and wishes to see people overcome their obstacles and find the resilience in themselves to succeed in life.

    Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez: Áshįįhí (Salt People) born for Ta’neeszahnii (Tangle clan), maternal grandfather’s clan is Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan), and paternal grandfather’s clan is Táchii’nii (Red-Running-Into-The-Water Clan).

    President Nez was born in Tuba City, Arizona and raised in Shonto, Arizona on the Navajo Nation. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration both from Northern Arizona University. He began his current term as President of Navajo Nation on January 15, 2019 along with Vice President Myron- Lizer. Since taking the office, Nez-Lizer administration continues to advocate and support the priorities of Navajo people, based on numerous meetings that took place in over 70 Navajo communities across the Navajo Nation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, President Nez and Vice President Lizer have initiated aggressive measures to reduce the spread of the corona virus among Navajo communities including weekend lockdowns, daily curfew, mass requirements, prohibiting mass gatherings and much more. President Nez has been on the frontline speaking with first responders and visiting Navajo Nation’s 110 chapters to gain a firsthand perspective and to assist and offer support for the Navajo people.

    Using the national media, President Nez, let the world know that if an indigenous nation like the Navajo Nation can bring the numbers down by following the health professional's recommendations based on simple science then others around us can do the same.

    We at Diné College are honoured that Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez will be gracing the
    Diné College – ASM - Navajo Nation Conference with his opening remarks as our Chief Guest

    Dr. Janet Smylie (Métis nation) is the Director of the Well Living House Action Research Centre for Indigenous Infant, Child, and Family Health and Wellbeing, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Advancing Generative Health Services for Indigenous Populations in Canada, and Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Dr. Smylie’s research focuses on addressing Indigenous health inequities in partnership with Indigenous communities. She is particularly focused on ensuring all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples are counted into health policy and planning wherever they live in ways that make sense to them; addressing anti-Indigenous racism in health services; and advancing community-rooted innovations in health services for Indigenous populations. She maintains a part-time clinical practice at Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto and has practiced and taught family medicine in a variety of Indigenous communities both urban and rural. As a Métis woman, Dr. Smylie acknowledges her family, traditional teachers, and ceremonial lodge.

    Since 2011, Dr. Liburd has served as the associate director for minority health and health equity for CDC/ATSDR. In this capacity, she leads and supports a wide range of critical functions in the agency’s work in minority health and health equity, women’s health, and diversity and inclusion management. She has played a critical leadership role in determining the agency’s vision for health equity, ensuring a rigorous and evidence-based approach to the practice of health equity, and promoting the ethical practice of public health in vulnerable communities. In addition, the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity ensures a pipeline of diverse undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in public health and medicine through its administration of the CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program and the James A. Ferguson Graduate Fellowship. Dr. Liburd has been instrumental in building capacity across CDC and in public health agencies to address the social determinants of health, and in identifying and widely disseminating intervention strategies that reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. She has skillfully executed innovative models of collaboration that have greatly expanded the reach, influence, and impact of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE), and raised the visibility of health equity through peer-reviewed scientific publications, engagement with academic institutions, presentations at national and international conferences, partnerships with national and global organizations, and other communications and educational venues.

    Dr. Leandris Liburd joined the COVID-19 response in May as the Chief Health Equity Officer. She has been working to advance health equity as a priority across the entire COVID-19 response and leads a team responsible for developing a data-driven strategy that will address all-too-persistent health disparities.

    Dr. Liburd has received honors for her leadership and management accomplishments. Among them, Jackson State University presented her with the John Ruffin Award of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities by Jackson State University (2016), and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions and BlackDoctor.org named her one of the Top Blacks in Healthcare in 2014 for her outstanding and noteworthy achievements in the healthcare field. In 2010, the National REACH Coalition honored her with their Distinguished Service and Leadership Award, and in 2002, CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation presented her with their Excellence in Collaboration Award for her seminal role in developing local, national, and international partnerships.

    She is highly regarded inside and outside of CDC for her tireless commitment, effectiveness, leadership, and passion in working to improve minority health and achieve health equity for all people.

    Dr. Liburd holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, a Master of Public Health in health education/health behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master of Arts in cultural anthropology and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in medical anthropology from Emory University.

    Dr. Syed A. Sattar; PhD, RM(CCM), FAAM, FRSPH is a Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, at Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Canada, and Chief Scientific Officer of CREM Co Labs, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He has been studying the environmental fate of microbes harmful to humans for over five decades now. Another focus of his work is evaluating and promoting safer and better means of preventing the environmental spread of such microbes. Microbicide test methods developed by him now form the basis for several national and international standards. With well over 200 peer-reviewed papers and chapters in conference proceedings and books, he has delivered some 370 invited lectures worldwide. A Registered Microbiologist of the Canadian College of Microbiologists, Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, also an adviser to the Canadian and U.S. governments as well as the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on various aspects of biosafety and infection prevention, and an invited member of the Global Virus Network.

    Dr. Sattar is also a member of the Advisory Boards of the Healthcare Surfaces Institute, The Infection Prevention Strategy, International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium and Virox Technologies. Noteworthy among the numerous awards and fellowships he has received are: the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Ottawa Centre for Research & Innovation, Hygeia Gold Medal of The Rudolf Schülke Foundation (Hamburg, Germany), Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, and Distinguished Microbiologist Award of the Canadian College of Microbiologists and ASTM International’s 2017 Award of Merit.

    Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA (Pawnee) Director, Urban Indian Health Institute and Chief Research Officer, Seattle Indian Health Board; is an enrolled member of the Kitkehahki band of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Village, Alaska. She was born in the heart of Alaska where she was raised in the traditional values of giving, respect for all, and love. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and Minor in Human Rights and a Master of Arts in Policy Studies. Her professional work has incorporated the core principles and activities of engagement and participation of community partners in research; research on health, healthcare, and other community priorities; education, training, and capacity-building for Native people, including researchers, students, and communities; infrastructure development; technical assistance; and sharing research results in a way that recognizes and respects the unique cultural contexts of American Indian and Alaska Native people. Additionally, she has worked with American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and organizations to identify health research priorities and with health researchers to ensure research is done in a manner that respects tribal sovereignty and is culturally appropriate.

    As a dedicated community volunteer, Abigail has concentrated on policy and institutional change in order to minimize disparities for women of color locally and nationally. Ms. Echo-Hawk focuses on policy advocacy in areas such as maternal and child health, domestic violence, sexual assault, youth prostitution, and educational disparities. Current volunteer memberships include the Native American Women’s Dialogue on Infant Mortality, Hope Heart Institute, Center for Indigenous Law and Justice, Best Starts for Kids King County, and the King County Coalition to End Gender Based Violence.

    Dr. Ian B. Hogue, PhD is President Elect American Society for Microbiology’s Arizona/ Southern Nevada Branch and an Assistant Professor at Biodesign Institute, Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines, and Virotherapy School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University (ASU).

    He earned a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he performed undergraduate research on baculoviruses and worked as a laboratory technician studying alphavirus vaccine vectors at Chiron Corporation. He worked as a laboratory technician at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center studying HIV-1 latency. He then earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan, studying HIV-1 assembly. Dr. Hogue then completed postdoctoral training at Princeton University, studying alpha herpesvirus egress and spread. Dr. Hogue’s research focuses on neurovirology, the molecular and cell biology of viruses in the nervous system. Specifically, Dr. Hogue’s laboratory uses specialized live-cell fluorescence microscopy methods, cryo electron microscopy structural biology methods, and primary neuron cell culture methods to study how alpha herpesviruses interact with the molecular and cell biology of neurons.

    Joseph Angel de Soto, Role Diné College CO-PI (MD, PhD, DSS) Professor of Biology, Department of STEM, Diné College – Shiprock campus. Dr. Angle de Soto joined Diné College in 2019, holding a B.S. in Biophysical chemistry from La Sierra University, an M.D. in Medicine & Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Howard University and as a veteran of the U.S. Army and other military and intelligence agencies. His dissertation under Dr. Donnell Bowen was titled, “The Treatment of Breast Cancer with Chemo-hormonal Therapy”. His clinical medical training was at Howard University Hospital and Washington Hospital Center. He completed his Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Pharmacogenomics and Translational Oncology where he was the fellow of the Year under the eminent Geneticist Dr. Chuxia Deng whose work contributed to the 2007 Nobel Prize in Genetics. He is currently working on his third doctorate (DSS) in Strategic Studies in National Security and Intelligence at National American University. Angel is Prior to joining Dine College he had extensive academic /research experience reaching the rank of Professor, being awarded faculty of the year 7 times, also receiving the ASCO young cancer researcher of the Year award. He has assisted in the development of four cancer drugs and fifth drug for schizoaffective disorder, publishing over 150 articles and papers and historically obtaining 6 million dollars in research grants. His current research is in Translational Oncology and Healthcare Disparities.

    Barbara Klein, Role Diné College CO-PI, (MS) Professor of Microbiology & Chemistry, Department of STEM, Diné College – Tsaile campus. Ms. Klein have more than 15 years of association with Diné College and have expertise and long term mentorship experience to develop and run internship cum trainings that promotes appreciation of science for Native youth, with a goal to “bridging” the students through transfer and continuing science education towards a baccalaureate or masters or doctoral degree. She has lived on the Navajo reservation for 15+ years and operates a traditional Navajo ranch with her Navajo partner. This personal background made her extremely aware of the issues on the reservation, both for all residents and most importantly for the students and the youth. She found it easy to relate to her students both as a teacher but also as someone who shares their lifestyles and their life concerns. She teaches a variety of science classes, most commonly Microbiology and Chemistry, and has influenced a large number of Navajo youth. She has worked closely with instructors at four year institutions and clearly understand the expectations for students, youth and communities pursuing a baccalaureate degree and careers in healthcare fields. Ms. Klein brings deep knowledge of problems students face in their day to day life, especially with healthcare and diagnostic facilities, and this knowledge can help address the issues that prevent the Navajo youth and communities from being successful in the fight with the crises like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

    Shazia Tabassum Hakim, Role Diné College PI (PhD, SCCM (MLS), CRC), Professor of Microbiology, Department of STEM, Diné College - Tuba City campus. Dr. Hakim is a microbiologist/ virologist, holds a Ph.D. from University of Karachi, Pakistan, post-doc at South Carolina Center for Biotechnology, Claflin University, trained in Dr Raj Karim’s Lab at UMN-Duluth, and Dr. Rob Striker’s Lab at UW-Madison. Specialist Microbiologist from Cand Coll of Microbiologists, researched HCV antivirals using Bovine Viral Diarrhea as surrogate model, along with genotyping and gene sequencing of HBV and HCV viruses, primate microRNAs in lentiviruses, retro elements and human endogenous retroviruses. Before joining Diné College, was Program Director; Allied Health Sciences, Canadian Academy of Health Professionals, Health Science Instructor; Oxford College, Scarborough, ON, Canada and Microbiology Professor, Chairperson and Dean of Sciences & Research, Jinnah University for Women, Karachi, Pakistan. Received multiple awards and honours including; ASM-UNESCO research grant, BEP-USA strategic support grant, UoA-Fairbanks BLaST/NIH grant, and PMRC- Pakistan research grant. Since 2003, interest centered on the study of viruses especially HBV, HCV, HEV, DV; their sero-prevalence, transmission, prevention, drug design, and evaluation of vaccines. With well over 50 research papers and 75+ abstracts, she has presented research data between 2003 and 2016 at the ASM’s International meeting, at the IVI-Korea, the 25th CVS in 2009, and 2011 ABSA conferences. After joining Diné College, partnered with Tuba City Regional Healthcare Corporation, developed the “Certificate in Medical Assistant Program” to address the dire need for locally trained allied healthcare workers with both local community, culture and language, first cohort of this program starting Fall 2020. Dr. Hakim has experience & qualification that blend working in both advanced and resource limited settings.

    Ramona Antone-Nez, MPH, BSN, is the current Director of the Navajo Epidemiology Center, for the Navajo Nation.

    Dr. Jill Jim, Executive Director for the Navajo Nation Department of Health (NNDOH), is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, fluent Navajo speaker, and healthcare expert.

    Dr. Jim has a Doctorate in Public Health, a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration, a second Master’s in Public Health from the University of Utah and a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion and Community Health Education from Northern Arizona University.

    Some of her work experience includes serving as a Health Care Analyst for Health Insight in Albuquerque, N.M., consultant for Navajo Area Indian Health Services, and Epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health.

    Dr. Charles P Gerba (Chuck Gerba aka Germ Doctor) is a professor in the Department Environmental Science, and the Department of Environmental and Community Health at the University of Arizona. He obtained his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Miami, Florida and was a faculty member in the Department of Virology and Epidemiology at Baylor College of Medicine from 1974 to 1981. He conducts research on the transmission of pathogens by water, food and in indoor environments. He has been an author on more than 600 peer-reviewed articles and several textbooks in environmental microbiology and risk assessment. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the International Water Association.

    He was lead investigator at the University of Arizona for the Center for Advancing Microbiology Risk Assessment funded by the Department of Homeland Security; an investigator with the CONSERVE Center funded by the USDA and the National Science Foundation funded Water Environmental Technology Center.

    Among his current research projects include assessment of novel technologies disinfection for the control of coronavirus; use of wastewater monitoring to identify and predict number of cases of coronavirus in a hospital or community, and quantitative microbial risk assessment.

    Dr. Jason Rao, is the Executive Director and Advisory Chair of Health Security Partners, as well as adjunct faculty at the Cornell University, teaching global health, national security and diplomacy. He is a recognized thought leader of global health security policy and programs. Jason previously served as Senior Policy Advisor to President Obama, in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he contributed to the President’s Global Science Engagement, Global Health Initiative, and Biological Threat Reduction policy and program efforts. He is the founder of the U.S. Department of State’s Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), launched in 2006 during his tenure with the State Department, Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction (2002-2009). Jason was a Brookings Legis Fellow, serving in the 111th Congress, working on the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. In 2011, Jason left government to pursue work in the non-profit sector as the Senior Director for Innovation and International Affairs at the American Society for Microbiology. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular biology from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and has 20 years’ experience in public health, foreign affairs, national security, biological threat reduction and science policy. Jason has worked extensively in, and maintains active collaboration with South and Southeast Asia, all regions of Africa, Middle East North Africa, Central Asia, and Latin America.

    Dr. Steven Specter received his BA in Biology (1969) and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology (1975) from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, in Experimental Immunology and then served as Director of Clinical Virology at the same institution. Dr. Specter joined the faculty of the University of South Florida College of Medicine in 1979 as Assistant Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. He became a Professor in 1991. Dr. Specter has served the College of Medicine as Secretary of the Faculty Council, Chairman of college committees on Space Allocation, Appointment, Promotion and Tenure, and Curriculum, and was appointed Co-Director of Curriculum and Medical Education in July, 1997, then Associate Dean for Pre-Clinical Education in 1998, he was appointed Associate Dean for Student Affairs in May, 2001 and for Admissions in 2002, from 2014 to 2018 he served as Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs until his retirement. He established the Annual Clinical Virology Symposium in 1985 and continues to Chair this internationally renowned conference. He has served as Chair of the Clinical Immunology Division of the American Society for Microbiology, was Editor-in-Chief of the Cumitech series for the American Society for Microbiology, was President of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology, and is President of the Florida Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. Dr. Specter served on numerous journal editorial boards and professional councils. His research spanned the fields of retrovirus induced immune deficiency and effects of abused drugs on the immune system. He is the author of more than 175 original scientific publications, review articles and book chapters and has edited a dozen books. Dr. Specter’s awards include 2 outstanding teaching awards (1991, 1996) and the Theodore and Vanette Askonas-Ashford Distinguished Scholar Award by the University of South Florida in 1997. Dr. Specter received an Award from CDC as Principal Investigator for a project on Capacity Building Assistance for Global HIV/AIDS Microbiology Laboratory Program Development in September 2005 and led that program for 9 years. He is currently Membership Chair for ASM.

    Sean Kaufman is the CEO and Founding Partner of Safer Behaviors (B-BIS, LLC). Sean has several years of experience in the fields of organizational development, behavioral management and modification, crisis and risk communication and emergency preparedness in public health and business organizations. He has served on the Board of Commissioners at the National Center for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), was a trustee for the Professional Development for the Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE), and Past-President of the Georgia Federation for Professional Health Educators (GFPHE). In 2011, Sean started Safer Behaviors - an organization which specializes in the development and delivery of behavioral-based training solutions. His client list includes local, state, federal, and corporate organizations. Sean is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), Certified in Public Health (CPH), Certified Intrinsic Coach (CIC), and has just received his certification for MBTI personality assessment. Most recently Sean became a Certified Professional in Biorisk Management by the International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA).

    Sean's professional highlights include:

    Ensuring workforce preparedness and containment compliance during clinical treatment of Ebola in the United States; Congressional Testimony at the House of Representatives: Energy and Commerce Committee - CDC Anthrax Laboratory Incident; Grief Coaching Sessions: MH 370 Crew Member Families; Founder Leadership Institute for Biosafety Professionals; National Center for Infectious Diseases, Honor Award Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Distinguished Service Award (SARS) Department of Health and Human Services; Distinguished Service Award (Anthrax Attack) Department of Health and Human Services; Distinguished Service Award (9/11 Attack) Department of Health and Human Services.

    Ramona Antone-Nez, MPH, BSN, is the current Director of the Navajo Epidemiology Center, for the Navajo Nation.