Don is an associate professor and Field Director for the Social Work program at Metropolitan State University. He teaches subjects from Human Behavior in the Social Environment to Comparative Racial and Ethnic Analysis. As Field Director he coordinates student internship placements with local public and private social service agencies.
Don was the Commissioner of Health and Human Services for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians from 1998-2000 and 2009-2012. He provided leadership for the Band’s healthcare clinics, public health and social service programs. He created the “Circle of Health” an insurance program for members living off reservation. He led the development of three assisted living facilities, the Aazhoomog clinic and the Bands Homelessness Plan, the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota. He advised the Chief Executive on local and national policy and funding issues related to health and human services. He served on the Tribal Self-Governance Advisory committee advising the Director of the Indian Health Service and the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes (MAST). Don is an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians.
Don worked for the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), as the Director of Multicultural Affairs for the Chemical and Mental Health Services Administration (CMHSA), reducing racial disparities statewide. 2007-2009
Don was the Director of the Chemical Health Division, the state’s substance abuse treatment and prevention system. He provided leadership and direction for policy, planning, grants, advocacy, program development, budgeting, legislative initiatives, and communication. He managed the states substance abuse block grant, the Consolidated Treatment Fund and led the effort to rewrite rules redefining treatment in Minnesota. As the single state authority for alcohol/drugs, he served on many taskforces and workgroups, provided testimony to various house and senate committees and attended community meetings statewide. He also was part of the state’s first Blueprint to end Homelessness. 2000-2007,
Don consulted for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) served as treasurer for the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), was a board member for the Minnesota Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS), the Minnesota Minority Health Advisory Group (MMHAC), the Minnesota Fathers and Family Network (MFFN), the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Rebuild Resource Center. He currently sits on the American Indian Family Center board.
Don has a Liberal Arts degree from Minneapolis Community College, a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Metropolitan State University and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Minnesota. He resides in Roseville, Minnesota with his family.