2019 PLAAY Community Panel

Special guest Dr. Michael Yogman will be joined at Alaska Pacific University Grant Hall on Thursday, February 21st, from 7-8:30pm by a panel of local professionals and moderator Dr. Lily Lou to discuss the importance of physical activity and play for our youth and community health. Event is free and open to the public. No registration required. Seating limited. Professional contact hours available per approval.

Dr. Michael Yogman, MD, Harvard Medical School

A professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Yogman’s recent, widely circulated article The Power of Play discusses the importance of unstructured play in healthy youth development. He has been a leading Boston area pediatrician for more than 20 years.  His teaching and research focuses on the father-child relationship, developmental interventions, nutrition and behavior.

Moderator: Dr. Lily Lou, M.D., Chief Medical Officer State of AK, American Academy of Pediatrics-AK Chapter President

Lily Lou is the Chief Medical Officer for the State of Alaska. She has over 30 years of clinical experience and has practiced neonatology in Alaska since 2002 and is a Clinical Professor in the WWAMI Program. She has served as the NICU medical director at Providence, the Pediatric Department chair and the Executive Medical Director of The Children’s Hospital @ Providence. She is the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics-Alaska Chapter. She received her medical training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics, and Neonatal Fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she was the first woman faculty in the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.






Dr. Tina Woods, Ph.D. ANTHC, Senior Director-Community Health Services

Dr. Tina Marie Woods is Unungan (Aleut) originally from St. Paul Island, Alaska and Chamorro from the Island of Guam. She is the daughter of the late Maria Shaishnikoff and late Juan Duenas Leon-Guerrero. Dr. Woods is a licensed clinical psychologist and received a Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology with a Rural Indigenous Emphasis from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2013. She maintains longevity working within the Alaska Tribal Health System (17+ years) and is currently the Senior Director of Community Health Services at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). She has general oversight over eight departments including, Wellness & Prevention, Community Environment & Health, Tribal Epidemiology Center, Clinical Research & Services, Distance Learning Network, Behavioral Health Aide, Dental Health Aide Therapist and Community Health Aide programs.
She particularly enjoys utilizing Talking Circles as a tool to help others begin their healing journey. Her passion for Talking Circles led to a dissertation and first known empirical investigation of the effectiveness of Talking Circles among Alaska Native individuals demonstrating that psychological research with Alaska Native Peoples can be conducted in a scientifically rigorous, yet still culturally sensitive and respectful manner. She respectfully blends both Western science and indigenous practices based on teachings from Elders. Dr. Woods dedicated her academic training and career towards working with Alaska Native Peoples to provide quality, holistic and comprehensive health services. She presents with “lived experience” and leverages such experience in combination with science for teaching others about trauma informed care. She strongly believes in going upstream with prevention efforts in order to make a significant difference for future generations.
Dr. Woods sits on the Data Safety Monitoring Board Member for the HEALTHH Study (Healing and Empowering Alaskan Lives Toward Healthy Hearts Project), the UAA Psychology Department’s Community Advisory Board and is a member of the Alaska Psychological Association and American Psychological Association. She is a Board of Trustee at Alaska Pacific University, Co-chair of the Alaska Area Specimen Bank Oversight Committee, and Alaska Resilience Steering Committee Member.

Mandy Casurella, LPC, AK Emotion Coach

Mandy Casurella is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Approved Supervisor in private practice in Anchorage, Alaska. She has enjoyed working in various clinical settings in Anchorage since 2004. She currently works in private practice, seeing adults and adolescents for individual psychotherapy covering a wide range of therapeutic issues. She is passionate about empowering kids and adults to connect from the inside-out and raising resilience through social-emotional learning. She provides Emotion Coaching, a research-based method for teaching children to regulate their behavior and emotions, to parents and children. In addition she provides services in schools and to the community in effort to extend social-emotional learning for everyone.

Mandy earned a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University. She loves living and playing in wild Alaska with her husband, two sons and dog

Harlow Robinson, Executive Director, Alaska Sports Hall of Fame/Healthy Futures

Founding member of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. Has been been involved with Healthy Futures since 2006, initially serving as an advisory board member. Prior to his current position Harlow worked with at-risk youth for 15 years as a direct care staff, supervisor and manager. Has served on numerous boards and commissions and is currently on the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Commission. An accomplished mountain runner, Harlow is involved in organizing numerous Alaska sporting events.





Nicolle Egan, President/CEO Special Olympics Alaska

 Nicolle Egan is the President & CEO of Special Olympics Alaska.   An (almost) lifelong Alaskan, Nicolle grew up in Kodiak, attended college in Oregon and at UAA, and returned to Kodiak to teach high school special education.  Nicolle began volunteering with Special Olympics Alaska in Kodiak in 1992 as a basketball coach.  Since that time, she has volunteered and worked on a local, state, national and international level with Special Olympics in the areas of sport an program development, inclusion, education and leadership.  Special Olympics Alaska provides sports training and competition to people of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  As with the general population, play and early integration into inclusive/universal play is critical for people of all ability and fitness levels in developing the skills needed to live their best life.