Planning Committee


Kurt Begaye (Navajo)

Kurt Begaye, Hashk’ááhadzohí (Yucca Strung Out on a Line Clan), born for Tó’aheedliinii (Water Flow Together Clan), is Navajo originally from Chinle, Arizona and has 17 years experience working in various capacities of HIV prevention, care and capacity building services. At the Navajo AIDS Network, Inc., he was instrumental in adapting evidence-based interventions addressing the prevention and direct service needs of people affected and infected with HIV on the Navajo reservation. Recognized for his work, Kurt was invited to join the capacity building assistance team at the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center and then later with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum both located in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2013, he relocated to St. Michaels, Arizona and works as an independent consultant providing technical assistance and capacity building services to tribes, community-based organizations, universities, and health departments working with American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities.

Jay N. Blackwell, MA

Jay Blackwell is a health care change agent living in North Carolina. His areas of expertise include public health, community health and organizational excellence. For 14 years, he consulted with the US Department of Health and Human Services focusing on underfunded and underserved communities and organizations. For 20 years, his professional skills have centered on assisting his clients improve the health care access and services being provided to at-risk clients, patients and community members.

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Hannabah Blue (Diné)

Hannabah Blue is Diné (Navajo), originally from Kirtland, New Mexico. Her clans are the Red Bottom Clan, born for Bilagaana (Anglo), her maternal grandparents’ clan is the Tangle People Clan, and her paternal grandparents are also Bilagaana. Hannabah has a breadth of experience working on race and social justice issues in health, particularly those affecting Queer People of Color, and Native and Indigenous communities. She currently serves as the Public Health Services Project Manager at the American Indian Public Health Resource Center, based at North Dakota State University. Previously, she was a Capacity Building Assistance Specialist at the National Native American AIDS Prevention. She has an undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism, and Gender and Sexuality Studies from New York University, and a Maternal and Child Health Graduate Certificate focusing on Native women through the University of Arizona. She recently earned a Master of Science degree from the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health, with concentrations in women, gender, and maternal and child health.

IMG_0117Theresa Hughes

Ms. Hughes is an economist and CEO of Hughes Healthcare Disparities Group. She has dedicated the majority of her personal and professional life to reduce the barriers of healthcare disparities and breaking the silence of childhood abuse.





Elton Naswood (Navajo)

Elton is a member of the Navajo Nation originally from Whitehorse Lake, New Mexico, and grew up in Window Rock, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. He currently resides in Maryland. Mr. Naswood is a Senior Program Analyst, Capacity Building Division at the Office of Minority Health Resource Center. He previously was a Capacity Building Assistance Specialist at the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center and was formally the Founder and Program Coordinator for the Red Circle Project, AIDS Project Los Angeles. He is currently a member of the Community Expert Advisory Council for the Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training program at the University of Washington and the US Representative Leader for the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV/AIDS. Elton received his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Sociology and American Indian Justice Studies from Arizona State University and attended the Graduate degree program in American Indian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

BioPic_2016Ayn Whyte, MS (Diné)

Ayn is originally from Crownpoint, NM. Her clans are To’aheedliinii (Water Flows Together People) born for Kinyaa’aanii (Towering House People).  Her maternal grandfathers are Naasht’ezhi (Zuni Clan). Her paternal grandfathers are Naakaii (Mexican).  She and her husband, Anthony (Santee Sioux of Nebraska) are parents to four children, Kayne, Logan, Sawyer, and Hope.

Ayn has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, a Master of Science in Health Education from the University of New Mexico.  Ms. Whyte began her work to improve health equality among American Indians as part of a research team implementing a diabetes prevention curriculum for Native American women. She then began working on a project examining the risk of cancer in individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Currently, she is the Program Manager for the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, Inc. STD/HIV/AIDS Prevention Program.