News & Events


August 5, 2013

The Associate director of IWRI-NCoE: Tessa Evans-Campbell

Tessa Evans-Campbell, PhD and her daughter

Tessa Evans-Campbell, PhD and her daughter

Associate Professor Tessa Evans-Campbell (Snohomish) is the director of the Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at the UW. She completed a BA in art history at the UW and her MSW and PhD at UCLA. Her research interests focus on historical trauma, child welfare, resistance and healing, cultural buffers of trauma, substance use and mental health, and indigenous family wellness.

Tessa began her social work career more than 15 years ago as a children’s social worker in Los Angeles (L.A.) County. She has extensive practice experience in Indian child welfare, adoptions, and community advocacy/organizing with American Indian communities. She served as a commissioner for the L.A. County Native American Indian Commission and was the American Indian community representative to the L.A. County Children’s Planning Council. She now has the unique opportunity to blend her passion for clinical social work practice in health, with research.

She sits on the local Indian Child Welfare Advisory Committee and serves on a number of boards and committees related to Native American family wellness. Recently, Tessa was elected to serve her tribe as a member of the Snohomish Tribal Council.

IWRI’s recent “Center of Excellence” grant award has led to the establishment of four “cores,” including a “Research Training and Education Core” (RTEC) under Tessa’s direction. The primary objective of the RTEC is to develop a cadre of outstanding American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) scholars involved in research and leadership roles related to improving health status and reducing health disparities among AIAN populations. Tessa is especially passionate about developing “pipeline” initiatives that prepare AIAN students to pursue higher education.

DSC_0116Tessa was one of the “founding mothers” of IWRI in 2007. “When we started, IWRI was a small research center that supported several research and training projects that had Native American health concerns in common. If someone had told me that we’d end up being a National Center of Excellence with a wide range of projects and support staff, I wouldn’t have believed it. We are working on critical issues in Native health and we are able to provide mentorship to indigenous scholars across educational levels.  I am profoundly grateful that we now have resources to identify and mentor up-and-coming young scholars to pursue their dreams.”


RTEC meeting at the Vision to Action: Partnership Summit

Currently, Tessa is the Principal Investigator of two National Institutes of Health-funded research studies: Caring for Our Generations: Supporting Native Mothers and Their Families (NIH R01DA029000-01) explores health, substance use, and family support in Native women during and after pregnancy. Growing our Own: Native Faculty and Staff Development (NIH’s Native American Research Centers for Health Award U26IHS300291-01) is an innovative training program that addresses the isolation experienced by many tribal faculty, staff, and students as they seek higher education and professional careers, and ties the educational process to development of research partnerships aimed at addressing health disparities.