Christina C. Bell Andrews, JD, MPH, has been appointed executive director of the Wassaja Carlos Montezuma Center for Native American Health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, effective May 30.
Andrews will oversee the administrative functions of the Wassaja Center, expand the research and education portfolio, foster community engagement and development efforts, and establish relationships with Native American tribes. She also will serve as a liaison between the university’s Native American health programs and senior leadership.
“It is an honor and privilege to join the Wassaja Center,” Andrews said. “Having years of experience working with many tribes across the United States, it’s clear to me that this position is critical to provide representation for Native people at the highest level of this institution. I look forward to this endeavor to engage the tribes and Native American programs to address social and health issues of our resilient Native American families."
Andrews is Hia-Ced O'odham and a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Her professional experience has been in government, health and human services, and education at the tribal, state, and federal levels.
Prior to joining the Wassaja Center, Andrews served on the university’s Community Action Council Committee of the American Indian Research Center for Health, where she ensured that tribal and urban American Indian/Alaskan Native people had meaningful participation in the development of relevant programs and priorities.
She also served as a site manager for the Child Welfare and Juvenile Law Tribal-State Justice Partnerships program at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, working primarily with tribes and tribal courts as well as other types of courts, including dependency, delinquency, juvenile drug and dual status courts.
“In filling the executive director position at the Wassaja Center, I am excited for this opportunity for the university to further engage with tribes, especially in the health care arena,” said N. Levi Esquerra, senior vice president for Native American advancement and tribal engagement at the university. “Having someone with Christina’s background will provide the opportunity for vital new partnerships around tribal health matters.”
Andrews graduated from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where she earned her juris doctorate degree and a certificate in federal Indian law. Prior to that, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Portuguese, a master’s in English, and a master’s in public health in policy and management from the University of Arizona. In addition, Andrews earned a master’s in business administration in international business from the University of Phoenix. She was a Udall intern at the office of Congressman Raul Grijalva.
"We are thrilled to welcome Christina as the new executive director of the Wassaja Center,” said Kristen Rundell, MD, chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. “With her extensive experience and vision, Christina brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and innovation to our department. As a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation and a respected leader in the Native American community, Christina will play a crucial role in advancing our mission to improve the health and well-being of Native American communities in Arizona and beyond."