News & Events


January 13, 2020

Staff updates for Seven Directions, A Center for Indigenous Public Health

7DLogoSince the Spring 2019 article in the IWRI online Newsletter introducing Seven Directions (7D) to IWRI and the Univ. of Washington community, there have been several staff and student personnel additions and changes to report.


Photo of Sofia Singer

Sofia Singer

Sofia Singer was hired as a Research Coordinator in Fall 2019. She is an Italian-American from Bronx, NY. She is committed to addressing public health challenges affecting vulnerable communities and is interested in how history, power, and norms influence behavior and the experience and effectiveness of health interventions. As an undergraduate, Sofia worked on strengthening the emergency medical care system for indigenous families in Paraguay, decreasing the incidence rates of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, and on neonatal health and violence against women initiatives in India. Most recently, she has been involved in the implementation of a program addressing intergenerational trauma and child mental health among Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Sofia received a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Anthropology, with a minor in Human Biology. She speaks Hindi and Italian, loves design thinking and improv, and enjoys coaching gymnastics to young girls.


Photo of Rachel Scott

Rachel Scott

Rachel Scott is a dual MSW/MPH student, and has been working as an MSW practicum student at 7D since June 2019. After earning her BA in Sociology at University of California, Santa Cruz, Rachel worked as a residential counselor at a group home for teen girls, where she witnessed first-hand the intersections and failures of California’s juvenile justice and foster care systems. At 7D, Rachel is involved with helping conduct tribal community health assessments, supporting the building of communities of practice, conducting literature reviews, and survey administration. Outside of her studies, Rachel works as a Mental Health Specialist with folks experiencing homelessness at Edward Thomas House Medical Respite, plays competitive roller derby, and enjoys spending time in the mountains. She also loves to dabble in learning new languages, including Yiddish and American Sign Language. Rachel is grateful for the opportunity to work amongst and learn from the other staff and students at 7D.


Photo of Casi Brown

Casi Brown

Casandra (Casi) Brown is a graduate research assistant. Casandra grew up on the Muckleshoot Reservation in Auburn, where the social experiences and observations from their youth would later inform their academic pursuits in American Cultural Studies. In 2012, they graduated from Fairhaven College with a self-designed concentration titled “Intersections of Social and Environmental Justice. They have since served two terms of AmeriCorps, first in Coos Bay, OR, then in Tacoma, WA, have owned and operated Pizza Pi Vegan Pizzeria on “The Ave” near the UW, and completed a post-baccalaureate degree in economics here at the UW where they are currently a Master’s student of Urban Planning. In their free time, Casandra enjoys sampling local brews, bicycling and coordinating a summer music education program for youth: Tacoma Girls Rock. They are interested in learning more about how zoning and land use codes on sovereign lands contribute to health, and is excited to be a part of the 7D team.


Photo of Rana Crowder

Rana Crowder

Rana Crowder is a 1st year MSW Extended Degree Program weekend student who just moved to Seattle. Rana received their undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Davis and worked on the environmental scan for the Tribal Opioid Project.






Photo of Michael Gilson

Michael Gilson

Michael Gilson, JD, PhD is a Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow at the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behavior at the UW School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. He joined Seven Directions in 2019. Dr. Gilson’s research interests include prevention and intervention efforts for drug and alcohol use and risk behaviors among college students and adolescents. Michael holds a doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Arizona and a law degree from the UW School of Law. Prior to accepting his current postdoctoral position, Michael worked as a research investigator within the Research and Data Analysis division of DSHS, as an analyst with a major health care system and as a private legal consultant.  He is a passionate advocate for youth and has long served on the Board of Directors at his local YMCA. In his personal time, Michael enjoys trying to keep up with his two young daughters and exploring the outdoors by foot and bicycle.


Student assistants and staff who worked with 7D earlier in 2019 include: Matt Ignacio, who was a Research Coordinator on the Tribal Opioid project, and is now working on completing his PhD dissertation at UW’s SSW; Frank Cheng who now works at the Foster School of Business, and is also a part-time lecturer at UW-Bothell; Christina Diego, who graduated with an MSW from the UW in June 2019, and is now at the University of Colorado, Denver to pursue a Master’s in Public Administration degree; and Em Loerzel, who is now devoting her time on her PhD in Social Work at the UW.