UICSL Board Members
Laura Garcia Gross (Navajo) Board Chair
Laura Garcia Gross is a Realtor & the office manager for Plumb & Co. Realtors. Laura specializes in marketing, office management & residential real estate sales. Laura attended the University of Utah & LDS Business College. Originally from Salt Lake, she has been involved with the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake off & on throughout her life. Laura is passionate about the work at the Urban Indian Center & takes much pleasure in its continued growth.
Heather Tanana, -JD, MPH (Navajo) Vice Chair
Heather Tanana (Diné) is a Research Associate & Wallace Stegner Center Fellow at the University of Utah -S.J. Quinney College of Law. Heather’s research include exploring the overlay between environmental & health policy, promoting better practices in Indian child welfare, & criminal justice in Indian Country. Heather is also Associate Faculty at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, where she works with the Center’s Training team on developing & teaching Institute courses & collaborates on health policy work.
Rozanna Benally-Sagg (Navajo) Board Secretary
Rozanna Benally-Sagg, comes from a lineage of Diné (Navajo) culture, language, & teachings based in San Juan County (Utah). Her parents & grandparents instilled in her the value & importance of education that has remained strong throughout her life. After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Speech & Hearing Sciences with a minor in Psychology from the University of New Mexico, she provided speech-language therapy services for 10 years to school-age children. Also, she worked with Native American families in her hometown as director of a family literacy program. She is currently enrolled in a graduate program at Westminster College. She continues to be a proponent of educational equity for all students & building bridges through her involvement as chair on the Advisory Committee on Equity of Educational Services for Students, an advisory committee to the Utah State Board of Education.
Jacob Crane (Tsuut'ina Nation) Board Treasurer
Jacob Crane is a citizen of Tsuut’ina Nation Alberta, Canada, & spent his youth on this southern Alberta First Nations community before moving to the United States, where he attended Utah Valley University (UVU). He plans to graduate with a Business Management degree with an emphasis in International Business. During his free time, he volunteers for different organizations within the Salt Lake Valley. He also strives to stay connected to his home community.
Alexis Blackmountain (Navajo)
Board member on Development Committee & member of Recruiting committee. Education Weber State University Business Education Composite Teaching and Professional Sales with a Minor in Marketing Degree.
Darin Ryujin -MS, MPAS, PA-C
Darin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah. He received his Bachelor of Science from the U of U, Master of Science from Marshall University & Master of Physician Assistant Studies. He is currently the Director of Inclusion & Diversity for the U of U Physician Assistant Program. He serves on the committees of the U of U Associate Vice President’s Office for Health Equity & Inclusion Advisory Board, Chair of the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine Diversity, & the Inclusion Mission Committee. He is also practicing PA at the U of U Sleep Wake Center. His passion & interests include educational equity, health disparities, working with students, inclusion & diversity.
Scott Willie (Navajo)
Scott Willie (Diné) served as the Administrative Program Coordinator of the Native American Research Internship (NARI), University of Utah, Department of Pediatrics. Scott has transformed the program into a top research program for undergraduates & helped recruit students from the entire country. Students participate in Native American education societies & travel to reservation schools to open science research for the community. Scott has worked with the Urban Indian Center Sacred Youth Services since 2012 as an Intern of the NARI. Scott has experience working with the Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Sciences (SACNAS) which encourages underrepresented minority undergraduates & graduate students in a career as scientist. Scott’s passion is in health & education for American Indian & Alaska Native undergraduate students. Scott’s life influencer is his late grandmother, Mary Willie of Upper Fruitland, New Mexico.
Melinda Dee (Navajo)
Melinda Dee (Diné) is Tódich’ii’nii (Bitterwater) & born for Tábaahá (By the Water's Edge). Her maternal grandfather is Tł’ízílání (Many Goats) & her paternal grandfather is Bit’ahnii (Folded Arms). She is a felony trial attorney at the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association (SLLDA). She graduated from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. During law school she clerked and interned at SLLDA, Utah Legal Services in the American Indian division, the United States District Court in Utah, and the Salt Lake Immigration Court. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Masters degree in Social Work from Brigham Young University. Her experience as a therapist includes working in substance abuse treatment, domestic violence programs, and inpatient programs for acute mental health issues. Prior to law school she worked at the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake as a Behavioral Health therapist.
Board meetings are held monthly at the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake. For those wishing to attend (or address the Board) please contact any member listed above. If you wish to be added to the agenda please email Heather Tanana at: Heather.Tanana@law.utah.edu
Board Member Recruitment
The Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake City governed by a Board of Directors is currently made up of 10 members. At this time we are accepting applications for new board members. For more information, email Board Chair @ firstname.lastname@example.org