Advisory Board of Directors

Sarah Switzer
Sarah Switzer, LCSW

Vice-President

My name is Sarah Switzer and I’ve been a social worker since getting my BSW in 2000. Following that, a volunteer year of AmeriCorps*VISTA brought me to Sitka, doing domestic violence advocacy, and then working at SEARHC Raven’s Way. I volunteered for Planned Parenthood over many years and three cities. When completing grad school in 2004, I received the Virginia Insley Award for Academic Excellence in Child, Adolescent and Family Health. Upon moving to Anchorage, I’ve worked at Southcentral Foundation the past 18 years in primary care doing integrated behavioral health continuing my passion with serving the AN/AI community. While at SCF I’ve received Living Our Values and Honoring Our Successes awards. I received my LCSW in 2007 and my Board Approved Supervisor in 2009, providing supervision for dozens of clinicians. I previously served on the municipal Library Advisory Board, and now serve on the NASW-AK Board.

Over my time as a social worker the past 23 years, I’ve realized that a big part of what keeps me grounded in my career is continuing to come back to my social worker roots. This is a foundational part of my fabric, and how I show up in the world, whether at work or in our community. I would like to reinvest energy, time, and space back into this foundation, by serving on the NASW Alaska Chapter Board. I hope to help with our platform of social justice advocacy, learning/continuing education, and building social worker connections in our communities and state. I’m curious how we can keep social workers involved and engaged, and help build and grow this professional community for new social workers as well. I’m eager to support NASW efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our current and future chapter work as well.



Kelly Campbell
Kelly Campbell, LCSW

Secretary

Currently I work for Southcentral Foundation’s Primary Care as a Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC). My specific position is housed in a clinic at the Covenant House Shelter, where we see individuals ranging in age from 13-25 years old. I have worked with Southcentral Foundation for 10 years, four years in my current role, and the previous 6 years in an adolescent residential treatment program. I have a strong passion for working with young adults and empowering them to see the potential within themselves. Over the last 10 years, I have been focused on learning about the impacts of trauma, latest therapy models and incorporating these tools into my practice. In addition to my work with Southcentral Foundation, I am a certified Trainer for the Living Works ASIST Suicide Prevention Training program and have traveled in Alaska providing this training free to the community as suicide is a significant issue in the state of Alaska. Recently, I have also started to become more involved with the Alaska Victim Assistance Partnership (AVAP).

I have always had a passion for helping people see the strength and resilience they have within themselves and walk with them through their healing journey. Since I began working with the homeless population, my eyes have become more opened to how significant the trafficking issues are in the state of Alaska as well as the rest of the United States. Over the last four years, I have attended numerous conferences on trafficking issues as well as Trauma across the lifespan and have become more impassioned to bring awareness around these issues, how they impact the homeless and vulnerable populations and the community as a whole.



Vacant

Northern Regional Representative


Vanessa Meade, PsyD, LCSW

Interior

Vanessa Meade, PsyD, LCSW, is an assistant professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage in the School of Social Work. She is also a U.S. Army/Gulf War Veteran and former Alaska State Trooper.

Dr. Meade is a licensed social worker and licensed psychologist in Alaska and has worked as a clinician/therapist in rural community mental health agencies and juvenile justice.

She is a certified mindfulness teacher and facilitates mindfulness programs at UAA with students, faculty, and staff and military veterans online and in-person residential retreats throughout the United States. She founded Alaska Veterans Organization for Women (A.V.O.W.) and is the project coordinator for Operation Mary Louise, a state-wide women veterans outreach program. She serves on several national advisory committees and boards including the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans’ Rural Health Advisory Committee and the NASW National Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer+ Issues.


Danita Kollars
Danita Kollars, LMSW, LPN, C-ASWCM

Western Region Rep

Danita Kollars, LMSW, LPN, C-ASWCM is a social worker at Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation since November 2017. Danita has worked in a capacity of the social work field since her graduation from University of Oklahoma in 1996. She also has certification in medical billing and medical encoding besides a license in social work, practical nursing and advanced case management certification. She entered social work to assist people in need and continues to work to the best of her knowledge to help others around her. Ms. Kollars was born and raised in Oklahoma. She has three grown children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. She enjoys sewing and road trips. Ms. Kollars is also an enrolled member of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma.


Tasha M. Childs
Dr. Tasha M. Childs, PhD, MSW, LMSW

CCNLI Interior (AKE)

Dr. Tasha M. Childs, PhD, MSW, LMSW is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Missouri and licensed social worker (OH, SC, AK-pending) formally trained as a school social worker with practice experience as a crisis counselor and group facilitator. She has been a member of NASW since 2018 and recently served on the NASW South Carolina Governing Affairs Committee helping organize responses to legislation impacting social workers and their clients and providing trainings to understand to impact of recent legislation for social work practice. Her research and practice focus on eliminating racial inequities in schools by examining contributions of teacher racial bias, leveraging school social workers in schools and youth-serving organizations, and working towards equitable access to mental health services and supports. Dr. Childs has collaborated with schools across the past six years in Utah, Ohio, New York, South Carolina, and recently Alaska, to improve students’ access to mental health services, implement expanded school improvement models, and better understand military-connected students unique service and support needs. She is also trained in motivational interviewing and has supported the development of two school-based interventions targeting youth at-risk of high school dropout and building school readiness to implement social and emotional learning. Together, she uses her experience in these roles and as an instructor working closely with faculty and staff to prepare and teach social work students and engage practicing social workers in ongoing continuing education and advocacy for social work practice with children and families.



Vacant

Ethics/Non-Voting


Leigh Smith
Leigh Smith

MSW Student Representative

My name is Leigh Smith. I was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, and I absolutely love it. In May 2023, I graduated with my BSW from the University of Fairbanks Alaska, and will pursue my MSW at the University of Kentucky in the fall of 2023. In my professional efforts, I worked with special needs children for 5 years, managed several outpatient programs addressing opioid use, and ran groups and individual counseling for an outpatient treatment center. Currently, I work as a Prevention Educator at UAF, and I will soon be transitioning to a new position at Tanana Chiefs Conference overseeing a program responsible for prevention, treatment, and aftercare for Alaska Native individuals experiencing substance use disorders.

I have served on many boards and committees, from the Golden Heart Softball Association and the Organization of Student Social Workers, to the Fairbanks Reentry Coalition and Parent-Teacher Association. My most recent endeavor is co-creating the Nanook Prevention and Empowerment Network at UAF, an alliance developed to address substance use, mental health, and domestic violence on campus. Additionally, I have volunteered with Angels In Motion for seven years, serving food and care packages to the unhoused individuals in my community. During my own time, I enjoy watching crime shows and football, playing softball, and laughing with friends and family. Cheers!

My determination to support and advocate for others comes from a place of deep sensitivity to vulnerable and unprotected populations, as well as lived experience. While the homeless community has a special place in my heart, I am passionate about the well-being of all groups. Additionally, I feel connected to the Alaska Native community and recognize culture as a means of healing and building resilience. I believe in the purpose of social work, to guide others towards a path of love, peace, and happiness; while fostering self-determination and accountability for people to have control of their journey. My goal is to build compassionate communities through valuable education, addressing barriers, and being involved.

“Where there is love, there is life.” - Gandhi


Paradise Porter
Paradise Porter

BSW Student Representative

Paradise Porter is a first generation, low income, out-of-state, honors student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) majoring in Social Work and Japanese Studies. At the university, Paradise is the President of the Organization of Student Social Workers, President of Students for Disability Advocacy, and Treasurer of the Japan Alaska Club. Paradise is the 2023 Academic Excellence Award recipient through the UAF Honors College. She is eligible for a Leadership Distinction at graduation. Paradise works at UAF Disability Services as a Student Assistant.

As a student with a diverse and minority based background, I hope to become a platform for those who feel their voice being underrepresented. I want to bring attention to the unique experiences minorities go through. In Alaska specifically, I’d like to work towards having the Alaskan Native voice and opinion at every table where decisions are made. Social workers are crucial to society and minority social workers should not be excluded from that due to their minority. The National Association of Social Workers is an organization that is actively working towards a diverse, equally led experience and I’d like to be apart of that mission.


Luvenia Johnson Headshot
Luvenia V. Johnson, LMSW

SHARP Representative

Luvenia Johnson, LMSW, andd graduate of USC School of Social Work, 2014. I have 15 years of experience working in the field of social work, including 6+ years in supervisory roles and leading multi-diciplinary teams. I am pursuing a LCSW and Trauma Specialist Certification. I am a strong believer in remaining current with best practices using evidence based techniques. I provide consultations to patients by providing leadership in patient care planning and caseload management which ensures improved efficiency and effectiveness in services delivered. I actively promote patient/family autonomy by ensuring their participation in the planning, decision-making, and development of problem-solving abilities. I enjoy building relationships and providing much needed resources to enable patients with tools for success.

My vision of NASW-AK would be that all social workers have the opportunity for affiliation, engagement and membership to their professional organization. I will contribute to the vision by maintaining active membership, actively participating on the NASW-AK board, attending board meetings and participating on one or more committees, and engaging in opportunities to share information of the profession organization while networking with other social workers and other professions.


Tonie Protzman Headshot

Tonie Protzman, MS, LPC, CDC, PSP III

Executive Director

Tonie Protzman, whose Native name, Yethnhahnilats, means “makes her life strong,” is an enrolled descendant in the Turtle Clan of the Oneida Tribe in Oneida, WI. Tonie was raised and remains in Anchorage, Alaska with her Iñupiat Eskimo daughter, Paisley. ;

Protzman, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), holds a Master of Science (MS) degree in Clinical Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in justice and psychology, both degrees from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She was a PhD Candidate with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Clinical Community Psychology Program with rural and indigenous emphasis, as well. Since graduating with her MS, Protzman has worked in the nonprofit and public sectors of behavioral and mental health. Protzman owns a consulting business, where she consults on behavioral and mental health needs and potential ethical issues around the state of Alaska. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Prior to NASW, Protzman was the Executive Director with the Alaska Psychological Association (AK-PA) for a decade.

Protzman shares that she is passionate about reducing stigma associated with receiving behavioral and mental health services and encourages disseminating information/access to alcohol use disorder services and care to Alaska communities. Protzman is a Governor Dunleavy appointee to the State of Alaska Mental Health Board. She serves in a Providers seat.

Protzman’s role as NASW Executive Director will be to increase membership, develop the chapter’s strategic/succession plans and to advocate for social workers in both traditional and non-traditional roles in Alaska and Washington, D.C. She plans to expand continuing training resources that address cultural trainings specific to social worker licensing requirements and to strengthen local presence and impact around the state of Alaska through development of relationships with statewide prevention program partners.

As a first-generation college graduate, Protzman is a devoted mentor, supporting historically underserved populations in Alaska studying higher education. Protzman mentors’ students and professionals new to the behavioral health field with the University of Alaskan Anchorage.

Protzman is a dynamic and powerful American Native woman who is passionate about reducing stigma in Alaska communities regarding receiving behavioral/mental health services. She dreams of one day to have a world stigma free of receiving such services – “it should be the same as going to your routine medical appointment.” Protzman has solid business expertise serving in association management and advocacy while networked throughout the State of Alaska and beyond. Tonie is active in her community, serving on several national and statewide boards and committees that address stigma associated services related to mental and behavioral health issues.

Publications (PEN NAME: Quaintance) 

Rivkin, I.D., Lopez, E., Trimble, J., Johnson, S., Orr, E., & Quaintance, T. (2018). Cultural values, coping, and hope in Yup’ik communities facing rapid cultural change. Journal of Community Psychology, 45(1), 1-17.

Rivkin, I., Johnson, S., Lopez, E., Trimble, J., Quaintance, T., & Orr, E. (2017).  Yup’ik understanding of stress within the context of rapid cultural change. Journal of Community Psychology, 45(1), 33-52.

Rivkin, ID, Lopez, EDS, Quaintance, TM, Trimble, J, Hopkins, S, Fleming, C, Orr, E, & Mohatt, GV (2012). Value of community partnership for understanding stress and coping in rural Yup’ik communities: The CANHR study. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice.

Committees

Please contact your regional representative for committee volunteer opportunities and more information.

Committee 

Members

Ethics
SHARP Counsel Rep Luvenia Johnson 
Nominations and Leadership Identification Tonie Protzman
Social Action Committee
Conference Planning Rachel Gearhart, Luvenia Johnson

Leadership

board members at table

Be an advocate for your community and yourself. Get involved today! 

Learn more about the board member roles and responsibilities with our Board Manual.

Are you interested in advocating for change? Are you interested in the legislative process? If so then we would love for you to join our Social Action Committee. We are currently gearing up for 2022-2023 and need your input. Please contact Tonie Protzman, MS for more information. 



NASW-AK Redistricting

Based on member feedback and concern, a committee developed a new regional map to better reflect the diversity and population distribution of NASW-AK members. The regional map adds a representatives and will allow for more equitable representation of the membership.

Alaska Regions


Board Meetings

Members are welcome and invited to participate in NASW Alaska chapter board of directors meetings!

Please contact your Representative to participate in the next teleconference.


Committee Regional Report Guidelines

Read an example of the content that should be shared from regional committee meetings


NEXT BOARD MEETING:

September 28th  – 10:00 AM via Zoom


Board Handbook

Read more about the board roles and responsibilities.


Committee Meetings

Please contact your regional representative for committee volunteer opportunities and more information.


National Committees

Interested in serving in a national leadership position? Review the list of national committees to determine where your knowledge, skill sets and competencies may be best suited, then submit a nomination form.
Learn about national committees


Are you interested in advocating for change?


Are you interested in the legislative process? If so then we would love for you to join our Social Action Committee. We are currently gearing up for 2022-2023 and need your input. Please contact Tonie Protzman, MS for more information.