News & Events


January 21, 2015

Checking-in with Glenda Breiler

untitled-9234-EditAs a first year student in the UW Master of Social Work Program in 2007, Glenda Breiler saw a sign for the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute and walked toward it. She was excited to know that other Native people were in the Social Work program and wanted to know what IWRI did. This was early in the history of IWRI, and all of the faculty and staff offices were located off just one hallway on the second floor of the UW School of Social Work. She first met one person and then another, Chris Charles, who she realized was in one of her classes. Over time Glenda developed deep and significant friendships with the people of IWRI which eventually led to joining the staff as a Research Coordinator after her graduation with a MSW in 2009. Glenda was the Research Coordinator for “Caring for Our Generations,” which explored maternal health behaviors, maternal substance use, risk factors for substance use during and after pregnancy, and protective factors that support healthy maternal behaviors, as well as for “Tribal Colleges and Universities Behavior Wellness Project,” which is the first-ever epidemiological study of drug, alcohol and other substance abuse at TCU.
Before starting the MSW program, Glenda had experience as a social worker for her tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. She worked for a year at the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in Omak, Washington, and then continued to work there during school breaks. She pursued the Child Welfare Training and Advancement program at the SSW, focusing on Indian Child Welfare. She currently volunteers for the Local Indian Child Welfare Advisory Committee of the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services.IMG_0194
When asked about her favorite aspect of IWRI, Glenda noted that “it is unlike other jobs,” offering opportunities to visit and learn about many other indigenous communities across the globe.         During her spare time, Glenda participates in indigenous community events such as the 2014 Canoe Journey (profiled elsewhere in the newsletter). Her most enduring passions are cultivating indigenous ways of knowing and promoting cultural revitalization and resilience by singing, dancing, and attending workshops.
IMG_0403 After almost exactly five years on staff with IWRI, Glenda Breiler has accepted the position of Director of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program at Edmonds Community College. She began her new position on October 15, 2014. Her energy, commitment to Native culture and enthusiasm for new challenges will be sorely missed at IWRI.