Lisa Wexler

Research Professor, RCGD
Professor, School Of Social Work
Lisa Wexler


With over 25 years of committed service and collaborative research in Indigenous communities, I have developed insights and processes for conducting community-based and critical action research focused on the complex and multilevel issues of youth suicide prevention, community resilience and family and personal wellbeing. Working across academic, community and provider stakeholders, I developed a variety of research projects to address community-defined problems or to contribute to longer-term social justice goals. To do this work, I have managed to balance practice priorities and to conduct responsive, asset-based collaborative research focused on the mental health disparities. My research program demonstrates my ability to translate research into feasible community projects, communicate across community members and researchers and to produce scientifically strong and practical health disparity interventions that build on community and cultural strengths. My suicide prevention research program demonstrates my commitment to translating research to practice through collaborative study and community education. My intervention, PC CARES, was created and piloted in Northwest Alaska (R34 MH096884) and is currently being tested in a larger trial in Bering Strait (R01 MH112458). The model works with key stakeholders to implement a community mobilization intervention to prevent Alaska Native youth suicide. Additionally, I co-lead the statewide Alaska Native Collaborative Hub for Research on Resilience (ANCHRR) with Drs. Stacy Rasmus and Jim Allen (U19MH113138). ANCHRR includes a 3-region Alaska Native Community Resilience Study involving 64 Alaska Native communities, and a Collaborative Hub focused on outreach and educational efforts to build research capacity-building among Alaska Native people, statewide. Lastly, I am working with community and clinical partners to develop the Family Safety Net, a new family-focused and strength-based approach to increase home firearm safety in rural and remote Alaska (R61 MH125757). Publications resulting from this work include students, community members, and practitioners. In sum, my research program demonstrates a clear commitment to community-based, participatory research and to mentorship across and among academic and community stakeholders to bolster community strengths, build on systems of care, and reduce health disparities through research.

  • Promoting Community Conversations about Research to end Native Youth Suicide in Rural Alaska. (Lisa Wexler) 2019-2023. NIMH.
  • Alaska Native Resilience Study. (Lisa Wexler) 2019-2022. NIMH.