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Alaska Rural
Water and Sanitation
Working Group

A USARC-Coordinated
Working Group

Alaska Rural Water and Sanitation Working Group

A USARC-Coordinated Working Group


The Alaska Rural Water and Sanitation Working Group is made up of representatives from State, Federal and Local/Tribal entities, including: the Alaska Department of Conservation, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Alaska Pacific University, Alaska Public Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Denali Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Indian Health Service, US Arctic Research Commission, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Village Safe Water (AK DEC), Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.

A core group meets on a monthly basis, while the partners-at-large meet 1-2 times, annually. Our group, coordinated by the USARC, is focused on water and sanitation in rural Alaska, its connection with health, and also the impact that climate change is/will have on water/sanitation infrastructure presently and in the future.

Carrie Bohan

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

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Carrie Bohan is the Facilities Programs Manager for the Alaska Department of Conservation, where she is responsible for oversight of the state’s Operator Certification and Capacity Development, Remote Maintenance Worker (circuit rider), State Revolving Fund, and Village Safe Water programs. Since 2001, Carrie’s career has focused primarily on provision of safe drinking water. In her current position, she is responsible for administering more than $100 million per year in grants and loans to water and wastewater utilities for infrastructure improvements. A significant portion of these resources are dedicated to improving sanitation in rural Alaskan communities that face significant barriers including geography, climate, economics and capacity. Carrie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Ecology and Conservation from the University of Idaho.

Michael Bruce

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Robert Chambers

US Department of Agriculture –
Rural Development

Aaron Dotson

University of Alaska Anchorage

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Aaron Dotson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage and Director of the University’s Environmental Engineering Laboratory, and an Affiliate Professor with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Aaron earned his Civil Engineering degree at the University of Arizona and received a Master of Science and Doctorate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Arizona State University. His teaching interests include physical and chemical treatment processes of water and wastewater and environmental engineering and design. Aaron is a member of Engineers Without Borders and is UAA’s student chapter facility mentor. He is a member of the American Water Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers.

Chris Fehrman

Indian Health Service

Brian Lefferts

Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation

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Brian Lefferts is a Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service and the Director of Environmental Health & Engineering (OEHE). He has been with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) in Bethel, AK for 12 years. His experience began at YKHC as a field environmental health specialist, where he worked with communities to improve environmental conditions affecting human health. He has served as the Injury Control & Emergency Medical Services (ICEMS) manager, Remote Maintenance Worker Program manager, Hospital Facilities Director. He has served as Director of OEHE since 2010.

Brian’s management, environmental health knowledge, and passion for preventing illnesses are the foundation for his crusade to improve the quality of life of the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta by ensuring universal access to an affordable, sustainable water and sewer service. In his time at YKHC, Brian has led several diverse projects and initiatives that improved the efficiency and effectiveness of the services provided by YKHC and furthered the corporate mission “working together to achieve excellent health.”

Maya Ramaswamy

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Cheryl Rosa

US Arctic Research Commission

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Dr. Cheryl Rosa is Deputy Director and Anchorage-based Alaska Director of the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC), an independent federal agency of Presidential appointees that advises the White House and Congress on Arctic research matters and works with executive branch agencies to establish and execute a national Arctic research plan. The Commission also facilitates cooperation with local and state governments and recommends means for developing international scientific cooperation in the Arctic.

Dr. Rosa is trained as a Wildlife Veterinarian and Wildlife Biologist and has worked with subsistence communities on the North Slope and in the Russian Far East on a wide range of studies involving wildlife health and zoonotic disease, marine mammal stranding response, subsistence food safety and oil spill/offshore discharge research. She is a member of the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee, as well as numerous other federal and non-federal boards and steering committees.

Presently, she is involved in running USARC’s Alaska Rural Water and Sanitation Working Group, the Arctic Renewable Energy Working Group and the Arctic Mental Health Working Group.

She received a PhD in Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University and a BS in Animal Science and a BS in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Jacqualine Schaeffer

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Caitlin Turberville

US Arctic Research Commission

Dennis Wagner

Environmental Protection Agency

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Dennis Wagner is the Infrastructure Programs Manager for EPA Region 10 in the Alaska Operations Office. The three programs he manages provide water and wastewater infrastructure funding to Tribes and rural Alaskan communities. He received a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska and a MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Prior to working for EPA he was a project engineer with the Indian Health Service in Alaska and in the lower 48.

John Warren

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

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John was born in Seward, Alaska and raised in Anchorage. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1988.

As the Director of Standards and Innovation, John oversees the development of design and construction standards and is responsible for research and development of new technology. John has over 32 years of engineering experience throughout all regions of Alaska including projects with major oil companies, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and the National Science Foundation. He previously worked as Vice President and Engineering Manager at Larsen Consulting Group, and later at CE2 Engineers, Incorporated. Prior to his consulting experience, John worked for the United States Public Health Service/Indian Health Service as a Construction Engineer, Design Engineer, and Engineer Consultant.

John has received state and national awards and commendations for his work in engineering design and construction. He has contributed a number of publications on engineering design and climate change in the north. These and other publications are available on ResearchGate.

John has been with ANTHC since 2000 and has served in the positions of Senior Consultant, Engineering Support Services Manager, Engineering Services Director and since 2016 as Director of Standards and Innovation. His work at ANTHC has focused on improving the quality of the projects and facilities ANTHC delivers.  

Tom Wolf

Denali Commission

Sarah Yoder

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services


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