Staff Members

  • Adon Vazquez

    Sacred Bundle Project Program Assistant

  • Alicia Steele, MD

    Family Medicine Physician

  • April Slaven

    Medical Accounting Clerk

  • Arwa Almuraisi, BS

    Laboratory and Vaccine Medical Assistant

  • Ashley Worthen

    Medical Biller/Coder

  • Audria Mixon

    Practice Manager

  • Byrn Oaks

    Medical Biller/Coder

  • Daniel Weed, BA

    Facilities Associate/Driver

  • Don James

    Facilities Associate/Driver

  • Dustin Sample

    Systems Administrator

  • Erin Owens

    Office Coordinator

  • Irianna Peraza

    Office Coordinator

  • Jermaine Miller, BS

    Project Coordinator

  • Jessica Boyd, BA

    Youth Program Coordinator

  • Jessie Lucero, LBSW

    Case Manager

  • John Marcus, AS

    Communications Specialist

  • John Peterson, MPA

    Assistant Director of Operations

  • Josette French, MD

    Physician

  • Kimberly Copeland, PhD, MPA, CFRE

    Development Director

  • Kimberly Taylor, LPC

    Behavioral Health Therapist

  • Lesley Burnham, AA

    Accounting Specialist

  • Marcela Martinez

    Medical Assistant

  • Melissa Mytych

    Healthy Start Home Visitor

  • Mya Berger, BA

    Youth Program Coordinator

  • Natalie Coté, MPA

    Development Administrative Coordinator

  • Nicole Hankus, BFA

    Youth Development & Planning Manager

  • Patrick Mayfield

    Facilities Associate/Driver

  • Ricardo Trevino, BS

    Human Resources Specialist

  • Shalynn Rangel, LLMSW

    Behavioral Health Therapist

  • Shelly Nimocks-Hinshaw

    Office Coordinator

  • Steve Ware, LMSW, CAADC, CCS

    Behavioral Health Therapist

  • Taylor Maxwell, BA

    Interim Zero Suicide Program Manager

  • Tina James

    Executive Administrator

  • Tonia A. Royal, MA

    Human Resources Manager

  • Wefaq Aljahim

    Medical Assistant

Adon Vazquez

Sacred Bundle Project Program Assistant

Adon Vazquez (Cherokee/Mexican/Macedonian) is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from Cherokee, North Carolina. He is currently attending Wayne State University for his bachelor’s degree. He has been a part of the Native community his whole life and was a member of the Dreamseekers youth group here at AIHFS.
His main focus with his work is to make not only this community, but every community that he visits a suicide safe community. He has started doing this by becoming an inaugural member of the National Council of Urban Indian Health’s Youth Council in Washington DC as well as one of the ambassadors for We R Native from Michigan. In his free time, he likes to travel to powwows and round dances as well as listening to music and spending time around the fire.

Alicia Steele, MD

Family Medicine Physician

Doctor Alicia Steele, born and raised in Michigan, is grateful for the opportunity to serve at American Indian Health and Family Services in Detroit. Alicia has been deeply inspired by her family, a Zapatista indigenous community, an indigenous community in Pembroke, NC and the community of Detroit, Michigan. Her passion for community health justice led her to study medicine in a universal healthcare model in Cuba, at the Latin American School of Medicine. In Havana, Cuba, Alicia honed an ability to weave biological, emotional, cultural, and social needs into medical care. Following medical school in Cuba, Alicia returned home to complete her 3 year medical residency in Detroit. Alicia deeply believes in loving kindness, joy, justice, wellness and that clean water, cultural respect and understanding and healthcare are human rights. She can be found in her Southwest Detroit community enjoying delicious local food, art, music, dancing, playing sports, laughing, and smiling with her family, friends, and mother nature. Alicia is also a mother to two kittens, Vaquito (little cow) and Koalito (little koala) and many plants.

April Slaven

Medical Accounting Clerk

April has earned her Associate Degree in Health Information Technology and is a few credits away from a Bachelor in Healthcare Administration. She has over 15 years of billing and A/R experience and is very excited to be brought on board at AIHFS.
In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her 2 adult children. April also plays the violin, likes to crochet, and loves trying new food. She grew up in Southwest Detroit and still continues to live close.
“Detroit inspires me to see how far parts of the city have come through the last few years. My hero is, and always will be, my mom. A little fun fact is that I used to attend Sunday school in the church next door.”

Arwa Almuraisi, BS

Laboratory and Vaccine Medical Assistant

Arwa is from Yemen. She has three children and likes to spend time with her family. She has been in the medical field for eight years and the reason why she likes the field is to help patients in need. She considers her husband to be her hero.

Ashley Worthen

Medical Biller/Coder

Ashley has worked in medical billing/coding for over 5 years. In her spare time, she enjoys going to concerts and spending time with her 3 beautiful girls. What inspires Ashley to continue in her position is how exciting the medical field is because she feels there’s so much to learn and you never have to limit yourself to just one thing. She chose a non-profit job position because nonprofits offer the opportunity to change the world or to help your neighbors in your local community, all while continuing to build professional skills.

Audria Mixon

Practice Manager

Audria Mixon has worked within the healthcare field for 20 years in a variety of different roles. She has several years’ experience with direct patient care, administrative, clinical, and medical assisting/nursing teaching and training.

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, with a passion for working within the healthcare field. She has two children, a 19-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. Her children inspire her and keep her motivated daily!

In her free time, she enjoys traveling (mainly to warm climate places) especially where there is a beach involved, spending time with her children, family and friends, listening to music, along with trying to guide her children in the right direction to this thing called “life.” She enjoys the continuous learning within healthcare and strives to provide great patient care. She is very compassionate and continues to provide empathy to every individual.  She loves to have fun and loves to be surrounded with positive individuals and energy.

Her hero is her mother who continues to display a strong work ethic and always has a positive attitude and nurturing spirit. “To know her is to love her.”

She looks forward to working in the community and providing tools, resources, and a helping hand where needed to make a difference in somebody’s life or just contributing to someone having a better day!

Byrn Oaks

Medical Biller/Coder

Byrn graduated from TESST College in Maryland for Billing and Coding with a 4.0 GPA in 2013. Over the 10 years since, he has had experience running a primary care front end office in Maryland for 3 years. And working as a medical collector in Arizona for 3 years, as well as a remote biller for CVS Health for 4 years. In his free time Byrn likes to spend time with family and friends, and loves to cook. Byrn loves working in non-profit because he like the thought of making a difference through helping others.

Daniel Weed, BA

Facilities Associate/Driver

Daniel graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A in History and a Minor in Communications. While at Wayne State, Daniel became involved in the Native American Student Organization (NASO) and Native Development Network Learning Community (NDN LC). Daniel has five years of experience working in facilities and transportation positions. He likes working for organizations like AIHFS that provide services to the Southeast Michigan community. He is inspired by his parents, a retired Spanish teacher and a former stay-at-home father turned factory worker. In his spare time, Daniel likes to spend time with his family.

Don James

Facilities Associate/Driver

Don (Cherokee/Macedonian) is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from Cherokee, North Carolina. In his spare time, he likes hanging out with his friends, whether it’s sharing food or taking in a ballgame. He is inspired by positive people who work hard for what they want in life: good heart and soul people. Don is a caring person who wants to contribute in any small way to see someone do well. His heroes are the men and women who protect the freedom we have in this great country we live in.

Dustin Sample

Systems Administrator

Dustin has been the Systems Administrator for AIHFS since 2013. Dustin has been dedicated to aiding AIHFS’s goals and growth through installing and maintaining high quality systems, and working directly with AIHFS’s technical partners.

Erin Owens

Office Coordinator

Hello, my name is Erin. I enjoy going to the gym and spending time with my Miniature Poodle, Jake. I was born and raised in Michigan and moved to Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 18. I’ve spent years working in customer service and am enrolled in a Certificate Program at Wayne County Community College.  I am excited to be a part of the American Indian Health family! I aspire to help patients get the care they need as well as helping the staff do their jobs more effectively. I believe every problem has a solution and working for a non-profit allows me to help lower income individuals and families which I find very rewarding.

Irianna Peraza

Office Coordinator

“Hi, my name is Irianna Peraza.” Irianna is the office coordinator here at AIHFS. She is also bilingual, she speaks Spanish and English. She was born in San Diego California but moved here to southwest Detroit when she was 9 and has never moved ever since. She is a proud mother of 3 beautiful girls. She really looks forward to working for AIHFS. She really enjoys being here. She loves to learn new things every day and this is definitely the place where she can.

Jermaine Miller, BS

Project Coordinator

Jermaine received his Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Construction Management. He has been working in the construction management field for 18 years in various roles.
Jermaine loves working with people. He’s a people person who loves to interact with people from different backgrounds. Working in non-profit is rewarding and allows him the opportunity to give a helping hand to underserved populations.
He likes to spend most of his free time connecting with family and coaching his kids with their extra-curricular activities.

Jessica Boyd, BA

Youth Program Coordinator

Jessica Boyd is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a double major in Sociology and American Culture. She enjoys reading, watching movies, doing puzzles, arts and crafts, game night with her family, dancing when the mood strikes her and is working on her knitting skills. She strives to be a positive role model for her daughter. She also has one unfriendly yet adorable cat named Lizzy. She is excited to be working at AIHFS and looks forward to working with the community.

Jessie Lucero, LBSW

Case Manager

Jessie Lucero is an enrolled member of Taos Pueblo. She is an urban Native and has spent her life living in Detroit. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2015 with a Bachelors of Social Work, with specializations in geriatrics and cultural studies. Throughout her college career, she participated in MSU’s North American Indigenous Student Organization, and served as a cultural programmer and co-chair. 
Jessie is a licensed social worker and has over 10 years of working in the healthcare industry. She has a deep passion for social work, and is honored to work for the agency which has enriched her life in many ways. 
Jessie is walking on the Red Road. In her free time, she enjoys attending community social and spiritual events, powwows, and round dances. She is a women’s traditional dancer, and enjoys making beadwork. 

John Marcus, AS

Communications Specialist

John Marcus has family roots in Six Nations, Ontario; Taos Pueblo, N.M. and the Sault Ste Marie Band of Chippewa Indians.
He contributes to our agencywide and program specific community outreach efforts using print, video, digital and web-based mediums. He also administrates our website, our social media accounts and our Mailchimp account.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to work with Community, especially in a capacity where communication, education, and how this information is exchanged, are crucial elements: these elements can be the seeds of a healthy community.”

John Peterson, MPA

Assistant Director of Operations

John is from a little bit of everywhere, but eventually decided Michigan is his favorite to live. He has a Master’s in Public Administration with a B.S. in Political Science. He has previous experience with mental health working in supportive housing through the Americorps VISTA program. In addition, he previously worked on the I-LEAD and Food Sovereignty/Fitness programs with AIHFS. John has a passion for helping communities and understanding how systemic changes could affect their lives. His favorite saying is “Prior Proper Planning Prevents Problems” and tries to live by it. In his free time, he enjoys reading, making petrified wood jewelry, playing dungeons and dragons, listening to music, and jumping into cold-water pools as part of his self-care routine.

Josette French, MD

Physician

Josette French, MD is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan. Her tribal roots are tied to Sugar Island on her grandmother’s side and Saint Ignace on her grandfather’s side.

She is a board-certified family physician and earned her ten-year recertification in 2015. Dr. French received her Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University in New Haven, CT in 1991 and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Florida, College of Medicine in Gainesville, FL in 1995. Dr. French completed her family medicine residency at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, MI in 1998. She has worked at AIHFS since 1998 and is dedicated to trying to lessen the health disparities seen in the Native community.
In her leisure time, she enjoys spending lots of time with her family, getting outside to walk and bike as much as possible, relaxing on Michigan’s beautiful beaches, and staying centered with daily meditation and yoga.

Kimberly Copeland, PhD, MPA, CFRE

Development Director

Kimberly has been a member of the AIHFS community since 2012. She is inspired by mission-driven work and has over ten years of experience in fundraising for Detroit-area non-profit organizations including Hospice of Michigan, Detroit Parent Network, and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Kimberly holds a PhD in Education Evaluation and Research and a Master of Public Administration (MPA), both from Wayne State University, as well as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential. In her free time, she enjoys participating in the Ogichida Kwe Singers, a Native American women’s singing group comprised of women and girls from many nations. She also can be found taking dance classes, reading, and playing the accordion.

Kimberly Taylor, LPC

Behavioral Health Therapist

Kimberly Taylor is from two, large, Foundational African American families who settled in Detroit during The Great Migration North. Her ancestral line also includes Cherokee and Penobscot people who intermarried with Black free persons. Fluent in Spanish, she has traveled in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean learning about various cultural traditions. As a single mother, she strives for her daughter, Mariah, to be firmly grounded in African American and Honduran culture.

Kimberly earned her BA from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in Spanish and Teacher. Subsequently, she earned her MA from Wayne State University in School, Community and Substance Use Counseling.

Her counseling experience includes working in schools, treatment facilities, community agencies, federal refugee shelters, private practice and teletherapy. As a counselor, Kimberly is adept at integrating evidenced-based treatments with mind-body-spirit practices. She is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Exposure Response and Prevention Therapy (ERP), Mindfulness, CBT and DBT. Kimberly also studies Shamanic traditions to infuse the art of sacred ceremony into the healing process.

She enjoys spending quiet time in nature, reading, interpreting Tarot and spending time with her daughter, family and two cats.

Lesley Burnham, AA

Accounting Specialist

Lesley started working at AIHFS in September 2014 as an Accounting Assistant. Lesley has her Associates in Accounting Management from Baker College. Her hobbies include traveling, shooting on a dart league, camping, cooking, attending concerts, playing with her two dogs, and spending time with family and friends.

Marcela Martinez

Medical Assistant

Marcela Martinez is a Medical Assistant with nine years of experience working in the medical field for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations play a big role in her community since it gives the opportunity for uninsured patients to get the medical care that they need at a low cost.

Marcela is inspired daily by her parents, brothers, daughter and two sons. In her free time, Marcela likes to play with her baby Chihuahua Luna, and go to local sport games with her kids.

Melissa Mytych

Healthy Start Home Visitor

Melissa has lived in Louisiana, Texas, New York, and Hawai’i, but considers Michigan her home. She loves to be among the freshwater lakes and cedar trees here. She is devoted to serving her community through a variety of ways, including massage therapy, childbirth support and education, and creating nourishing and delicious meals.  She is a student of midwifery and traditional birthing knowledge, and is passionate about seeing families thrive together.  You can usually find her around the fire at our community sweat lodges here at AIHFS. She also enjoys walking in the woods, expressing herself through writing, reading a good book, opening her voice through song, and is currently learning to play the guitar.

Mya Berger, BA

Youth Program Coordinator

Mya graduated from Wayne State University with a bachelor’s degree in History before becoming the Education Coordinator for the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum; a children’s museum in central Michigan, where she often worked with the Saginaw Chippewa Academy. From there, she found her passion in community involvement and turned her focus to the non-profit world. Her passion for learning and eagerness to serve the Detroit community is what brought her to AIHFS. 

In Mya’s free time, she likes to spend time with her family and animals (two cats, a rabbit, and a leopard gecko!), participate in crafts, and romanticize the small things in life.  She has made it her mission to explore as many of Detroit’s historic, cultural, and social hotspots as possible to connect with the city in a way that the pandemic had previously prevented her from doing. 

Natalie Coté, MPA

Development Administrative Coordinator

Natalie is committed to making the world a better place, especially for underserved populations, and has over 5 years of experience working for Detroit non-profit organizations. Natalie holds an MPA from Wayne State University and she is also a PhD candidate in Political Science. She’s currently writing her dissertation on issues associated with the “cliff effect” of public assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

She is inspired by community leaders of all stripes and her hero is Frances Perkins.

In her free time, she enjoys watching horror movies, spending time with her husband (A.J.) and 4 cats (Nala, Bean, Pazuzu, and Sweeto), and collecting rocks from Michigan’s lakefronts.

Nicole Hankus, BFA

Youth Development & Planning Manager

Nicole is honored to bring her curiosity, creativity, and compassion to her work with youth at American Indian Health and Family Services. She is a certified k-12 visual arts teacher who studied at University of Michigan for her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Michigan State University for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Education, and is currently studying at Wayne State University for her Masters in Art Therapy and Clinical Mental Health.

She is dedicated to learning and practicing balanced wellness of body, heart, mind and Spirit with the Medicine Wheel Teachings she has received from Andean, Celtic and Lakota Elders. She enjoys creating, reading, cooking, being in nature with her dog, and being with community in Ceremony. Her vision is for each youth to know themselves, with roots in their culture, tools for their journey, and beautiful dreams for their future.

Patrick Mayfield

Facilities Associate/Driver

Patrick is a U.S. Army Vet, born in Detroit, Michigan. He has worked many years in retail and accounting. He is very dedicated to his family and his grandkids are very special to him. He enjoys hunting, fishing, bowling, and attending sporting events, such as the Red Wings, Tigers and Lions games. He takes great concern for the environment and does what he needs to do to help. He enjoys helping the community, spending time at AIHFS, and being involved in certain programs we offer.

Ricardo Trevino, BS

Human Resources Specialist

Ricardo Treviño earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Development and a minor in management from Oakland University in Oakland county, where he lives.  Ricardo brings over 12 years of HR experience to AIHFS, and has served a diverse workforce at local minority owned businesses in Southeast Michigan.  For over 15 years, he has delivered a variety of youth leadership and skills training programs for area non-profit agencies including The Boys and Girls Clubs, Covent House Michigan, and Youth-Build Detroit.

Ricardo is of Mexican American and Indigenous Mexican heritage.  His mother’s family draws their roots from the Chicimeca people in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.  He has been walking the Red Road for nearly 30 years, and practices native spiritual traditions of the Lakota, the Native American Church of Mexico, and the N.A.C. of the Morning Star here in Michigan.  He is a Sun Dancer and Pipe Carrier and can be found traveling most weekends participating in ceremonies throughout the Great Lakes region, where he enjoys tending fire.  He is most proud of being a father of two daughters and has one granddaughter.

Shalynn Rangel, LLMSW

Behavioral Health Therapist

Shalynn graduated from Wayne State University where she earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work. She specializes in psychodynamic psychotherapy and is passionate about working with people. She has been involved in the social work field since she was 15 years old. In her free time, Shalynn loves to travel and sightsee. She also likes to crochet and enjoys spending time with friends and family. Shalynn is also a Cat Mom to her Maine Coon, Augustine.

Shelly Nimocks-Hinshaw

Office Coordinator

Ya’at e’ e’ h! Shelly is dine and African American. Shelly has been actively involved in the community thru various cultural events offered at AIHFS. Go red wings! Along with hockey, she enjoys jewelry making, powwows, reading and making people laugh! Shelly is proud to part of the AIHFS family! Ahe’hee’

Steve Ware, LMSW, CAADC, CCS

Behavioral Health Therapist

Steve (he/him) specializes in treating trauma and addiction. He uses techniques such as mindfulness skills training, motivational interviewing, behavioral activation, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to support personal growth and recovery. Steve earned his Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Michigan. He is originally from Michigan, but he has also lived in Chicago, New York, and Nicaragua where he worked in the Film and Television industry. He uses daily meditation to center his personal and professional wellness practices. He is an educator and a lifelong learner.

Taylor Maxwell, BA

Interim Zero Suicide Program Manager

Taylor Maxwell attended the University of Alabama where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, with a minor in Social Work, and a specialization in North American Archaeology. She worked in various human-centered and archaeological research labs, as well as working alongside the native community of Moundville, AL throughout her collegiate career. One of her passions includes collaboration within communities for anthropological and archaeological projects as well as the ethical treatment and execution of repatriation for all native communities. She previously worked with the Alzheimer’s Association as a part of their outreach and fundraising team. She is excited to be returning back to her home state of Michigan to further expand the scope and reach of AIHFS’s Sacred Bundle and Native Connections programs. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her blue heeler Lou, traveling to any U.S state she hasn’t been, baking new recipes, and boating on any and all Michigan lakes.

Tina James

Executive Administrator

Tina (Cherokee/Macedonian) is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from Cherokee, North Carolina. She has been a part of the native community her whole life and was one of the first members of the youth group Dreamseekers here at AIHFS. She is a proud mother of two handsome boy’s Adon and Adrian. In her spare time she likes spending time with her family and friends and traveling to pow wows as much as she can.

Tonia A. Royal, MA

Human Resources Manager

Tonia obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Wayne State University and her Masters Degree in Human Resource Management from Marygrove College. She prefers working within the non-profit arena because it allows her to demonstrate her innate compassionate, humanistic side which in turn grants her many opportunities to service the under privileged within society.

In her spare time she likes to catch up on her rest, along with spending time with family and friends while enjoying a great meal. Additionally, exercising is a priority for her to relieve stress.

Her hero is herself and Viola Davis and all those individuals who persisted on through overwhelming obstacles, odds and challenges.

Wefaq Aljahim

Medical Assistant

Wefaq received her Medical Assistant certification from Schoolcraft College. She is from Yemen. She has four children. Her favorite hobby is sewing. In her spare time she likes to read her favorite book, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T Kiyosaki. Her hero is her mom.

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