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Lisa M. Wexler

Professor of Social Work

Lisa M. Wexler

Professor Wexler's research focuses on three overlapping and complimentary areas that address both scientific and community priorities: suicide prevention, wellness/resilience and learning. Her research engages participants in all levels of the process, responds to cultural and community priorities, and builds on and promotes personal and collective assets. Currently, she is working with community partners and academics to pilot Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES) (NIMH R34096884), which uses critical pedagogy to mobilize community members for strategic and collaborative suicide prevention and wellness initiatives. Additionally, her present work utilizes Intergenerational Dialogue Exchange and Action (IDEA)—a participatory research method—to engage young people in efforts to find local strengths, skills and wisdom through cross-generational and community-based investigations that—through the effort--enhance youth possibilities for action and strengthen their social connections within and outside of their home communities.

Research Interests/Focus

American Indian/Alaska Native Suicide Prevention; Indigenous Youth Resilience; Culturally-Specific Behavioral Health Services; Digitally-Enhanced Participatory Research


Year Degree   School
2005 PhD Social Work University of Minnesota
1996 MSW Social Work Florida State University
1991 BA University of West Florida

Lee, H. W., Gauthier, G. R., Ivanich, J. D., Wexler, L., Khan, B., & Dombrowski, K. (in press). A statistical framework for network-based measurement of the social effectiveness of interventions in community-based participatory research. PLoS ONE.

Wexler, L., Rasmus, S., Ullrich, J. S., Apala-Flaherty, A., Apok, C., Raymond-Yakoubian, J., Amarok, B., Johnson, R., Murphrey, C., Allen, J., & all members of the Alaska Native Community Resilience Study (ANCRS) Research Steering Committee. (in press). Knowledge co-production through the development of a measure of Alaska Native community protective factors. Progress in Community Partnerships.

Trout, l., & Wexler, L. (2020). Arctic suicide, social medicine, and the purview of care in global mental health. Health and Human Rights. Special Issue on Mental Health, Well-being, and Human Rights, Journal of Health and Human Rights, 22(1), 77-89.

Wexler, L., Rataj, S., Plavin, J., Ivanich, J., Johnson, R., & Dombrowski, K. (2019). Community mobilization for rural suicide prevention: Perceived knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavioral outcomes from Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES) in Northwest Alaska. Social Science and Medicine, 232, 398-407.

Barnett, J., Schmidt, T., & Wexler, L. (2019). A pilot evaluation of culture camps to strengthen Alaska Native youth wellness. Health Promotion Practice.

Lee, H. W., Melson, M. Ivanich, J., Habecker, P., Gauthier, G. R., Wexler, L., Khan, B., & Dombrowski, K. (2018). Mapping the structure of perceptions in helping networks of Alaska Natives. PLoS ONE, 13(11).

Trout, L., McEachern, D., Mullany, A., White, L., & Wexler, L. (2018). Decoloniality as framework for Alaska Native youth suicide prevention: Promoting community conversations about research to end suicide. American Journal of Community Psychology, 62(3-4), 396-405.

Collins, P., Delgado, R., Apok, C., et. al…& Wexler, L. (2018). RISING SUN: Prioritized outcomes for suicide prevention in the arctic. Psychiatric Services, 79(2), 152-155.

Trout, L., Wexler, L., & Moses, J. (2018). Beyond two worlds: Identity narratives and the aspirational futures of Alaska Native youth. Transcultural Psychiatry, 55(6), 800-820.

Wexler, L., Barnett, J., Trout, L., & Moto, R. (2018). Making a difference: How Northwest Alaska is working to reduce youth suicide. Special Issue: The fight of our lives: Preventing suicide among Indigenous people. Northern Policy Affairs, 6(3).

Wexler, L., Trout, L., Rataj, S., Kirk, T., Moto, R. & McEachern, D. (2017). Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide: Learning and behavioural outcomes of a training-of trainers model to facilitate grassroots community health education to address Indigenous youth suicide prevention. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 76(1).

Curran, T. & Wexler, L. (2017). School-based positive youth development: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of School Health, 87(1), 71-80.

Weinronk, H., Wexler, L., Trout, L., Rowlet, K., Klakegg, I., Zhen, S., Valenzuela, S., & Moses, J. (2017). New understandings of ourselves and communities: Community-based participatory research with Alaska Native and Lower 48 youth. Educational Action Research Journal, 26(3), 439-455.

Wexler, L., Poudel-Tandukar, K., Rataj, S., Trout, L., Poudel, K. C., Woods, M., & Chachamovich, E. (2017). Preliminary evaluation of a school-based youth leadership and prevention program in rural Alaska Native communities. School Mental Health, 9(2), 172-183.

Eglinton, K., Gubrium, A., & Wexler, L. (2016). Digital storytelling as arts-inspired inquiry for engaging, understanding, and supporting indigenous youth. International Journal of Education and the Arts, 18(5),

Wexler, L., McEachern, D., DiFulvio, G., Smith, C., Graham, L. F., & Dombrowski, K. (2016). Creating a community of practice to prevent suicide through multiple channels: describing the theoretical foundations and structured learning of PC CARES. International Quarterly of Community Health Education, 36(2), 115-122.

Wexler, L., Dam, H. T., Silvius, K., Mazziotti, J., & Bamikole, I. (2016). Protective factors of Native youth: findings from a self-report survey in rural Alaska. Journal of Youth Studies, 19(3), 358-373.

Silveira, M. L., Wexler, L., Chamberlain, J., Money, K., Spencer, R. M. C., Reich, N. G., & Bertone-Johnson, E. R. (2016). Seasonality of suicide behavior in Northwest Alaska: 1990–2009. Public Health, 137, 35-43.

Wexler, L., Chandler, M., Gone, J., Cwik, M., Kirmayer, L., LaFromboise, T., Brockie, T., O’Keefe, V., Walkup, J., & Allen, J. (2015). Advancing suicide prevention research with rural American Indian and Alaska Native populations. American Journal of Public Health, 105(5), 891-899.

Wexler, L., & Eglinton, K. (2015). Reconsidering youth well-being as fluid and relational: A dynamic process at the intersection of their physical and social geographies. In H. Cahill & J. Wyn (Eds.), Handbook of Children and Youth Studies. Springer Reference.

Wexler, L. & Gone, J. P. (2015). Exploring alternatives for indigenous suicide prevention: Responding to cultural understandings and practices. In J. White, I. Marsh, M. Kral, & J. Morris (Eds.), [Suicide and] Suicide Prevention: Critical Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.

Wexler, L., White, J., & Trainor, B. (2015). Why an alternative to suicide prevention gatekeeper training is needed for rural Indigenous communities: Presenting an empowering community storytelling approach. Critical Public Health, 25(2), 205-217.

Ulturgasheva, O., Rasmus, S., Wexler, L., Kral, M. J., & CIPA Team (2014). Indigenous youth resilience and vulnerability: Comparative analysis of adolescent experiences across five circumpolar communities. Special Issue Transcultural Psychiatry, 51(5), 735-756.

Allen, J., Hopper, K., Wexler, L., Kral, M., Rasmus, S., & Nystad, K. (2014). Mapping resilience pathways of indigenous youth in five circumpolar communities. Special Issue Transcultural Psychiatry, 51(5), 601-631.

Wexler, L, Joule, L., Garoutte, J., Mazziotti, J., Baldwin, E., Griffin, M., Jernigan, K. & Hopper, K. (2014). "Being responsible, respectful, trying to keep the traditional alive:" Cultural resilience and growing up in an Alaska Native community. Special Issue Transcultural Psychiatry, 51(5), 693-712.

Willox, A. C., Stephenson, E., Allen, J., Bourque, F., Drossos, A., Elgarøy, S., & Wexler, L. (2014). Examining relationships between climate change and mental health in the Circumpolar North. Regional Environmental Change, 15(1), 169-182.

Wexler, L. (2014). Looking across three generations of Alaska Natives to explore how culture fosters indigenous resilience. Transcultural Psychiatry, 51(1), 73-92.

Wexler, L., Jernigan, K., Mazziotti, J., Baldwin, E., Griffin, M., Joule, L., Garoutte, J. & CIPA (2014). Lived challenges and getting through them: Alaska Native youth narratives as a way to understand resilience. Health Promotion Practice, 15(1), 10-17.

Wexler, L., Eglinton, K., & Gubrium, A. (2014). Using digital stories to understand the lives of Alaska Native young people. Youth and Society, 46(4), 478-504.

Wexler, L., Moses, J., Hopper, K., Joule, L., & Garoutte, J. (2013). Central role of relatedness in Alaska Native youth resilience: Preliminary themes from one site of the Circumpolar Indigenous Pathways to Adulthood (CIPA) Study. American Journal of Community Psychology, 52(3-4), 393-405.

Wexler, L., Gubrium, A., Griffin, M., & Difulvio, G. (2012). Promoting positive youth development and highlighting reasons for living in northwest Alaska through digital storytelling. Health Promotion Practice, 14(4), 617-623.

Wexler, L., Silveira, M. L., & Bertone-Johnson, E. (2012). Factors associated with Alaska Native fatal and nonfatal suicidal behaviors 2001-2009: Considering trends and discussing implications for prevention. Archives of Suicide Research, 16(4), 273-286.

Wexler, L. & Gone, J. (2012). Culturally responsive suicide prevention in indigenous communities: Unexamined assumptions and new possibilities. American Journal of Public Health, 102(5), 800-806.

Wexler, L. (2011). Intergenerational dialogue exchange and action: Introducing a community-based approach to connect youth, adults and elders in an Alaska Native community. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 10(3), 248-264.

Ulturgasheva, O., Wexler, L., Kral, M. J., Allen, J., Mohatt, G. V., Nystad, K., & CIPA Team (2011). Navigating international, interdisciplinary, collaborative inquiry: Phase 1 process in the circumpolar indigenous pathways to adulthood project. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, 4(1), 75-87.

Wexler, L. & Burke, T. (2011). Cultural identity, multicultural competence and resilience: A pilot study of Alaska Native students' experience at university. Journal of American Indian Education, 50(2), 44-64.

Wexler, L. (2011). Behavioral health services "don't work for us": Cultural incongruities in human service systems for Alaska Native communities. American Journal of Community Psychology, 47(1-2), 157-169.

Wexler, L., DiFluvio, G., & Burke, T. (2009). Resilience and marginalized youth: Making a case for personal and collective meaning-making as part of resilience research in public health. Social Science and Medicine, 69(4), 565-570.

Wexler, L. (2009). The importance of identity, culture, and history in the study of indigenous youth wellness. The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 2(2), 267-278.

Wexler, L. (2009). Identifying colonial discourses in Inupiat young people's narratives as a way to understand the no future of Inupiat Youth suicide. Journal of American Indian Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 16(1), 1-24.

Wexler, L. & Graves, K. (2008). The importance of culturally-responsive training for building a behavioral health workforce in Alaska Native villages: A case study from northwest Alaska. Special SAMSHA issue of the Journal of Rural Mental Health, 32(3), 22-33.

Wexler, L., Hill, R., Bertone-Johnson, E. & Fenaughty, A. (2008). Correlates of Alaska Native fatal and non-fatal suicidal behaviors, 1990-2001. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, 38(3), 311-320.

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