Katherine joined NWRC’s Community Programs department in April of this year and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as Tribal Program Specialist. A member of the Nooksack Tribe, where she previously served as General Manager and overseer of government operations, Romero fosters ongoing collaboration with the six local tribes we serve. Romero commented, “My goal is to provide meaningful and decision-useful information to tribal leadership to plan for the future and make policies and programs to enhance the quality of life in our tribal communities, specifically for tribal elders. Statistics show that our tribal elders are living longer; are we prepared for the increase in the tribal elder population? We will begin to see illnesses and challenges we haven’t seen before, such as dementias and other brain health issues. In indigenous communities, family and community members often care for our elders. We will need more information, education, awareness, and training on dementia and brain care so that our loved ones can live a better quality of life and continue to share their wisdom and knowledge.”
Romero holds a BA in Human Services and a Master of Public Administration in Tribal Governance. She is working on her Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) with her research focused on brain care in indigenous communities. Romero states, “This research can provide the information needed to develop policies and programs to implement supports to not only help family caregivers, but also inform and educate the community, the health care providers, and tribal leadership about dementia/brain care, and how to create a dementia friendly community that honors our tribal elders- our knowledge keepers. How can we best care for them to preserve their wisdom and knowledge for future generations?”
Romero is currently modifying the Savvy Caregiving model to be more tribally focused and culturally appropriate for Indigenous communities. She is passionate about reducing barriers to services for our most vulnerable populations and maintaining good relationships with the Lummi, Nooksack, Samish, Sauk Suiattle, Swinomish, and Upper Skagit tribes.