Meet Our Project Team
As Native CARS’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Lapidus provided the administrative leadership for the Native CARS Study team and was responsible for design of ensuring the scientific rigor of the quantitative data collection, statistical analysis, and dissemination results to communities.
Jodi, her husband Tom, and cat Francisco live in Portland, Oregon, where they enjoy kite boarding and traveling.
Tam Lutz, MPH, Doctoral Student, MHA, Project Director: Tam Lutz is a Lummi Tribal member with ancestral ties to the Quinault, Nooksack, Skagit, Chinook, Cowlitz, and Duwamish Tribes. She has spent 19 years working in public health in Indian Country, including more than 14 years at the NPAIHB. Ms. Lutz is the Project Director for the Native CARS Study as well as Co-Principal Investigator for the TOTS to Tween Study. Lutz is an experienced field researcher and a developing dental epidemiologist. She has directed other projects at the NPAIHB including the very successful Toddler Obesity and Tooth Decay Prevention Study and the Indian Community Health Profile Project. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Public Health Leadership at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
As Project Director, Ms. Lutz participated in all aspects of the study and managed the project on a day-to-day basis. She was responsible for communicating with tribes, facilitating IRB approvals, conducting and interpreting the qualitative research, and designing and evaluating community-based interventions.
Tam, her husband Ed, and their two children live in Beaverton, Oregon, where she enjoys cheering from the sideline as she watches her children participate in sports, preparing for and participating in the annual Tribal canoe journey, and spending time with family.
Nicole Holdaway Smith, MPH – Biostatistician: Nicole Smith has been a NPAIHB employee since 2002 and has worked on many projects with the Northwest Tribes, including the TOTS Project, Tribal BRFSS projects, Maternal and Child Health projects, Tribal Vision Study, Elder Diet and Nutrition Study, the 2003 Northwest Tribal Safety Seat Project, and the Native CARS Study.
As Biostatistician, Ms. Smith designed the quantitative data collection forms and data gathering strategies for the vehicle observation data, managed the Native CARS databases, and along with Dr. Lapidus, conducted data analysis.
Nicole and her husband live in Portland, Oregon, with their two boys and Kung Fu Panda-themed pets. They enjoy travel, hiking, boating, watching the kids play sports and hanging out at the park.
Candice Jimenez, MPH – Research Manager: Candice Jimenez is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and joined the NPAIHB beginning with the Native CARS Study. She has experience in qualitative data analysis, data entry, tribal community data collection, qualitative data coding and reporting, and coordinating communications between tribes and project investigators. Previously, Candice was an EMR Implementation Specialist supporting physicians within the Providence Health System as hospitals adopted a new electronic health record system. Mrs. Jimenez has also been active in policy development for the Oregon Health Authority, an advisory council member for FamilyCare Health Plans, as well as several volunteer/internship experiences related to healthcare, public health, and natural resources.
As a Research Manager, Mrs. Jimenez has served as a key person in communicating with Tribal partners. She has assisted in the coding and presentation of the qualitative data as well as facilitating the development of Tribal media materials, which included radio and television public service announcements related to child passenger safety.
Candice and her husband live in Portland, Oregon, with their son and daughter. They enjoy hiking, mountain biking, camping, travelling, and exploring the food culture throughout the city.
Beth Ebel, MD, MSc: Beth Ebel is a pediatrician who works at Harborview Medical Center, the Northwest region’s Level I Trauma Center. She is also director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center. Dr. Ebel studies injury prevention and has directed a number of projects related to safe travel. She has supervised community-based programs to keep kids safe in the car, including programs around Seattle and in the Yakima Valley. Dr. Ebel worked with NPAIHB partners who worked with Tribal members to conduct a survey of car seat and booster seat use in Northwest Tribes in 2003, and with the Native CARS Study.
Beth and her husband are busy parents of three young children who give absolutely no thought to injury prevention. on the lawn outside, Zumba, or enjoying the company of cows, two dogs, and two cats.
Rebecca, her husband Jeremy, and their three children live in Coulee Dam on the Colville Reservation in Washington State. She enjoys watching her children play soccer and baseball, and actively helps out with their Cub Scout Pack. She is also a committee member for the Title VII/JOM program of her children’s school. In her free time she likes to read, knit, and run in 5K/10K races. One of her ultimate goals in life is to meet the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Gold Medal winner of the 10,000m race, Billy Mills.
Along with the other site coordinator, Rebecca Hunt, she networked with the Colville Tribes Traffic Safety team, creating successful outcomes for both programs, and was awarded an “Excellence in Research” for Colville Native CARS from the Native Research Network in June 2014. She also received an American Indian Film Festival Award for Colville Tribes Traffic Safety Program for the “Traffic Safety Successes on the Colville Indian Reservation” in 2012. Mrs. Phillips has been an instrumental contributor in each of these collaborative efforts. One lasting success of the study was the passing of a Colville Tribal Child Restraint Code in May 2011.
Bernadine lives in Omak, Washington, with her husband Brian, a retired law enforcement officer, and their two pups. She enjoys time doing cultural arts such as basketry and beading. Together they find time to RV and enjoy nature’s beauty.
Crissy lives in Lapwai, Idaho, with her husband Thunder and their two teenage children Kiara and Kieran. They stay busy traveling to watch them play AAU basketball, baseball, and soccer. They also enjoy spending time together being outdoors, camping, playing board games, antiquing, and working on their glamper.
As a Native CARS Site Coordinator, Ms. Cunial has assisted in the implementation of community-based intervention activities that focused on improving child safety seat use in her surrounding communities. In these communities, Kootsie has been instrumental in conducting community events, providing training, overseeing mural production and completion of media PSAs, as well as developing a safety coalition to advocate child passenger safety.
Kootsie is the mother of 4 sons. She enjoys camping, hiking, collecting fossils, and using natural items in crafting.
As a CPS Technician, the Health Education program distributes infant, toddler and booster seats to appropriate-age children, who must be registered with Indian Health Service. At this time, Iola has two projects going, one is working on the Media Module for the Native CARS Project and Portland Area Indian Health Board and trying to get a seat belt law passed on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
In order to support passing of a safety belt and child restraint system code, Iola has partnered with the Tribal police department, fire department, attorney, and early childhood school. Iola has been actively engaging the community through several display booths promoting the new law, in addition to coordinating a public hearing at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center. Recently, she helped to send eight employees from the above-mentioned programs to child passenger restraint training. Iola attended the 2014 Native Research Network conference in Phoenix, Arizona, which she notes helped her understand what the Native CARS program aims for and the successful outcomes she has observed in its reach. Iola has been with the Native CARS project since 2013 and worked with past site coordinators in observations of car seat use and proper installation.
Iola’s life is with her husband, Frederick “Sam,” a retired Agricultural Engineer with the BIA in the Fort Hall Agency. She has two daughters, three spoiled beautiful grandkids, and a baby great-grandson. They all live on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, Gibson District.