Welcome to the REACH lab! Our lab investigates health and health disparities from a cultural perspective. Health disparities are inequities in health behaviors, rates of illness, disease processes, and health outcomes affecting certain groups of people such as racial/ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQ populations, and people who live in rural areas. We examine social determinants of health with a focus on mental health and addictive behaviors.

We examine addictive behaviors from a biopsychosocial perspective, meaning that body, mind, and social/cultural factors are connected and interact to influence behavior. This model aligns well with the American Indian medicine wheel. The ultimate goal of this research is to discover culturally appropriate ways to restore balance in body, mind, emotions, and spirit to prevent harm and improve wellness.

medicine wheel

Photo source: http://www.thesilentcanoe.com/anishinaabe-medicine-wheel.html


Principal Investigator:

Dr. Monica Skewes

Associate Professor

Department of Psychology

[email protected]

Traphagen Hall 320



Graduate Research Assistant:

Julie A. Gameon, M.S.

Doctoral Candidate

[email protected]


Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Jenaya Burns

Jennie Dunlap

Nathan Hackler

Gillian Maness

Tacoma Mendelsohn

Emily Wiley



Dr. Vivian M. Gonzalez

Professor of Psychology, University of Alaska Anchorage


Dr. Stacy Rasmus

Director, Center for Alaska Native Health Research

Research Associate Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks



Adriann Ricker, MPH

Research Associate, Johns Hopkins University



Dr. Elizabeth Rink

Professor of Community Health, Montana State University



Current Projects:


Cultural Adaptation and Validation of a Measure of Grief for Indigenous Communities

In this project we are using mixed (qualitative and quantitative) methods to culturally adapt the Inventory of Complicated Grief to better reflect American Indian/Alaska Native perspectives.


Development and Pilot Test of Indigenous Recovery Planning for American Indians

Together with community partners from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, we are working to test a culturally adapted relapse prevention intervention among tribal members with substance use problems.


Development and Validation of a Protective Factors Measure to Assess Recovery from Opioid Use Disorder Among American Indians

As part of an ongoing Native American Research Centers for Health grant, we are working in partnership with Coast Salish communities in the Pacific Northwest to develop and validate a strengths-based measure of culturally grounded protective factors among American Indians in recovery from opioid use disorder.


Wichoabdeza: Trauma-Informed Policy Change to Improve Health in a Tribal Community

This project is a collaboration between Monica Skewes, Adriann Ricker, and Elizabeth Rink to examine public health policymaking at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana and develop strategies for supporting the Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board in developing trauma-informed health policies.


Harm Reduction Research Team Multisite Study

This cross-campus web-based survey is being conducted at universities across the nation to examine strategies college students use to protect themselves from harm related to alcohol and cannabis use and factors associated with use of these protective behavioral strategies.


Selected Publications (*Indicates student author at time of publication):


Skewes, M. C. (in press). Commentary on Venner et al. (in press): Community-based participatory research opens doors to rigorous treatment research with Indigenous communities. Addiction.


Skewes, M. C., Gonzalez, V. M., Gameon, J. A.,* FireMoon, P., Salois, E. M., Rasmus, S. M., Lewis, J. P., Gardner, S. A., Ricker, A., & Reum, M. (in press). Health disparities research with American Indian communities: The importance of trust and transparency. American Journal of Community Psychology.


Skewes, M. C., Gameon, J. A.,* Grubin, F.,* DeCou, C. R., & Whitcomb, L.* (in press). Beliefs about causal factors for suicide in rural Alaska Native communities and recommendations for prevention. Transcultural Psychiatry.


Gonzalez, V. M., Burroughs, A. G.,* & Skewes, M. C. (in press). Belief in the American Indian/Alaska Native biological vulnerability myth and drinking to cope: Does stereotype threat play a role? Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.


Gameon, J. A.,* Lahiere, A. N.,* & Skewes, M. C. (in press). College students’ perspectives on healing following an unwanted sexual experience. Current Psychology.


Schmaling, K. B., Blume, A. W., & Skewes, M. C. (2020). Negative life events and incident alcohol use disorders among ethnic minorities. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 19, 327-342.


Gameon, J. A.,* & Skewes, M. C. (2020). A systematic review of trauma interventions in Native communities. American Journal of Community Psychology, 65, 223-241.


Skewes, M. C., Hallum-Montes, R., Gardner, S. A., Blume, A. W., Ricker, A., & FireMoon, P. (2019). Partnering with Native communities to develop a culturally grounded intervention for substance use disorder. American Journal of Community Psychology, 64, 72-82.


Skewes, M. C., & Blume, A. W. (2019). Understanding the link between racial trauma and substance use among American Indians. American Psychologist, 74, 88-100.


Skewes, M. C., Shanahan, E. A., Rushing, S., Honea, J., Belou, R., Smith, J.L., Handley, I.M., & Intemann, K. (2018). Absent autonomy: Relational competence and gendered paths to faculty self-determination in the promotion and tenure process. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 11, 366-383.


Smith, J. L., Handley, I. M., Rushing, S., Belou, R., Shanahan, E. A., Skewes, M. C., Kambich, L.,* Honea, J., & Intemann, K. (2018). Added benefits: How supporting women faculty in STEM improves everyone’s job satisfaction. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 11, 502-517.


Gonzalez, V. M., & Skewes, M. C. (2018). Association of belief in the “firewater myth” with strategies to avoid alcohol consequences among American Indian and Alaska Native college students who drink. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 32, 401-409.


DeCou, C. R.,* & Skewes, M. C. (2017). Alcohol consumption, history of sexual assault in adolescence, and revictimization in a sample of university students in the Western United States. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517727492


Anastario, M., FourStar, K., Ricker, A., Dick, R., Skewes, M. C., & Rink, E. L. (2017). A preliminary needs assessment of American Indians who inject drugs in northeastern Montana. Harm Reduction Journal, 14:22.


Gonzalez, V. M., & Skewes, M. C. (2016). Association of the “firewater myth” with drinking behavior among American Indian and Alaska Native college students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30, 838-849.


DeCou, C. R.,* & Skewes, M. C. (2016). Symptoms of alcohol dependence predict suicide ideation among Alaskan undergraduates. Crisis: The International Journal of Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention, 37, 232-235.


DeCou, C. R.,* & Skewes, M. C. (2016). Rurality and Alaska Native ethnicity moderate the association between alcohol consumption and alcohol problems among college students in Alaska. Journal of Rural Mental Health, 40, 3-14.


Rasmus, S. M., Allen, J., Connor, W., Freeman, W., & Skewes, M. C. (2016). Native transformations in the Pacific Northwest: A strengths-based model of protection against substance use disorder. American Indian Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 23, 158-186.


Skewes, M. C., & Lewis, J. P. (2016). Sobriety and alcohol use among rural Alaska Native elders. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 75.


Skewes, M. C., & Blume, A. W. (2015). Ethnic identity, drinking motives, and alcohol consequences among Alaska Native and non-Native college students. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 14, 12-28. PMID: 25536236


Skewes, M. C., & Gonzalez, V. M. (2013). Attitudes toward harm reduction vs. abstinence-only approaches for college student alcohol misuse. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 72, 182-186.


Skewes, M. C., & DeCou, C. R.,* & Gonzalez, V.M. (2013). Energy drink use, problem drinking, and drinking motives in a diverse sample of Alaskan college students. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 72, 194-199.


DeCou, C. R.,* Skewes, M. C., & Lopez, E. D. S. (2013). Traditional living and cultural ways as protective factors against suicide: Perceptions of Alaska Native university students. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 72, 142-146.


Gonzalez, V. M., Skewes, M. C. (2013). Solitary heavy drinking, social relationships, and negative mood regulation in college drinkers. Addiction Research & Theory, 21, 285-294.


DeCou, C. R.,* Skewes, M. C., Skanis, M. L.,* & Lopez, E. D. S. (2013). The benefits of discussing suicide with Alaska Native college students: Qualitative insights from semi-structured interviews. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 19, 67-75.


Allen, J., Fok, C. C. T., Henry, D., & Skewes, M. C. (2012). Umyuangcaryaraq “Reflecting”: Multidimensional assessment of reflective processes on the consequences of alcohol use among rural Yup’ik Alaska Native Youth. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 38, 468-475.


Skewes, M. C., Dermen, K. H., & Blume, A. W. (2011). Readiness to change and post-intervention drinking among Hispanic college students living on the US/Mexico border. Addictive Behaviors, 36, 183-189.


Gonzalez, V. M., Reynolds, B., & Skewes, M. C. (2011). Role of impulsivity in the relationship between depression and alcohol problems among emerging adult college drinkers. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 19, 303-313.




Dr. Skewes’s Faculty Page:



Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity Project:



Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Project: