Erin Bailey is the Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. Her passion for working with and advocating for Native American communities, and especially with young people, led to this role. She came to the Center from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, where she served as the Health Policy Advisor, under its then-Chairman Byron Dorgan. Erin's issue portfolio included Native American health care, youth, food and nutrition, and a wide range of Indian social issues. In addition to working on the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, she led Senator Dorgan’s efforts to prevent Native American youth suicide and to improve mental health care services in Indian Country.
Erin received the 2010 Outstanding Congressional Staff Award from the American Diabetes Association for her work on the reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program. In addition, she was honored with the 2011 National Council of Urban Indian Health's National Impact Award, 2012 National Indian Health Board’s National Impact Award, and the American Indian Society’s 2013 "Daniel K. Inouye Indigenous Spirit Award". She serves on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention on the American Indian and Alaska Native Taskforce, a public-private partnership advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. In 2014, she was also elected to the Board of Directors for the National Alliance for Grieving Children.
Erin is originally from North Dakota. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Studies - Human Science from Georgetown University and a Master's Degree in Public Health Administration and Policy with a specialization in management from the University of Minnesota.
Josie Raphaelito is a Program Associate for the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. Josie most recently graduated with a Master's Degree in Public Health from The George Washington University. Her Master's thesis focused on a policy initiative, aimed to increase access to mental health services through workforce development strategies, for the Indian Health Service. Suicide prevention in Indian Country is an area of true passion for Josie.
Prior to graduate school, she studied Athletic Training at the University of New England in Maine. While living in DC Josie has interned at both the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Health Board. Other experience includes time at the Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Josie grew up on the Ramah Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.
In 2012, Josie was recognized by the National Council of Urban Indian Health with their 2012 Impact Award and was also selected as a recipient of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development's prestigious "Native American 40 Under 40" award.
Ryan Ward is a Program Associate for the Center for Native American Youth at The Aspen Institute. Ryan recently graduated from the University of Washington School of Law where he studied Federal Indian Law and was the Vice President of the Native American Law Students Association.
During law school, Ryan worked at the Oregon Supreme Court and then later at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in the DC office. While at NARF, Ryan worked on issues ranging from Indian water rights to fee-to-trust land transactions, and also on the Tribal Supreme Court Project.
Prior to law school, he studied the History of American Indian Policy at Willamette University where he played soccer. While at Willamette, he volunteered at Chemawa Indian School as a mentor/tutor to Native youth from all over the country. Between his undergraduate studies and law school, Ryan worked as a reading instructor at an elementary school in Salem, Oregon and as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Hawaii. Ryan grew up in Oregon and is an enrolled member of the Cowlitz Tribe of Indians in Washington State.
Amber Richardson is the Program Assistant for the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. Amber graduated from Duke University in 2013 as a Gates Millennium Scholar with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. While earning her undergraduate degree, Amber served as President of the Duke Native American Student Alliance.
Amber grew up in Hollister, North Carolina, and is an enrolled member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. She has represented and contributed to her tribal community by serving on the executive council of the North Carolina Native American Youth Organization (NCNAYO), working for a youth grant-writing program called North Carolina Giving Indians Volunteer Experience (NCGIVE), interning at the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal Enrollment Office and travelling as a fancy shawl dancer on the powwow trail. In 2007, Amber was awarded the Joseph Richardson Outstanding Indian Student Award for her commitment to academic excellence.
Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Amber worked with the B.O.O.S.T. Program (Building Opportunities and Overtures in Science and Technology) to increase access to mentorship and STEM programs for minority students in Durham, North Carolina. Amber’s love for serving minority communities and passion for supporting the representation of American Indian youth led her to the Center for Native American Youth.