Doctoral student Maylynn Warne selected for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholars program

Maylynn Warne
Maylynn Warne

Maylynn Riding In Warne, Educational Foundations and Research Ph.D. student, has been selected to participate in one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s leadership programs.

These programs connect changemakers across the country—from every profession and field—to help them learn from and work with one another in creating more just and thriving communities.

Warne was selected for the Health Policy Research Scholars. Designed for doctoral students from historically marginalized backgrounds and underrepresented populations, Health Policy Research Scholars helps researchers from all fields apply their work to policies that advance equity and health while building a diverse field of leaders who reflect our changing national demographics.

As a member of the program’s newest cohort, Warne will focus on the development and evaluation of health education materials. Warne, a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma who lives in East Grand Forks, Minn., will receive an annual stipend of up to $30,000 for up to four years.

“I am beyond excited,” Warne said. “I could not believe I was selected out of hundreds of applicants. They chose me to refine my leadership and policy skills to become an agent of change, and to work towards health equity.

“I am so deeply honored to be a part of this new cohort with 59 amazing scholars from diverse disciplines.”

The award will support Warne as she works as a graduate research assistant with the National Indigenous Elder Justice Initiative (NIEJI) housed at the UND Center for Rural Health. In this role, she helps American Indian communities collect, analyze and report elder maltreatment data in a meaningful and culturally informed way.

Warne said she is specifically developing educational materials to prevent elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, some of which will soon be available via the NIEJI website.

She is also interested in using health education and data to support policy changes to promote wellness in Indigenous communities. To that end, she is adjunct faculty for Education, Health, & Behavior Studies at UND, and is teaching PHE 307: Methods and Materials in Health Education this semester.

Virginia Clinton-Lisell
Virginia Clinton-Lisell

Virginia Clinton-Lisell, assistant professor of education, health and behavior in the UND College of Education & Human Development, has been both a professor and advisor of Warne’s. She calls Warne a “great asset to the Educational Foundations and Research Ph.D. program.”

Clinton-Lisell said Warne’s path to UND came through volunteer community service where Warne learned about disparities in educational outcomes for American Indian youth compared to youth of other backgrounds. Having earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of Arizona, Warne considered how educational disparities and health disparities are linked for American Indians.

“Her background in public health and American Indian issues has provided great insight to her fellow students and our faculty,” Clinton-Lisell remarked.

Said Warne of her new professional cohort, “I am really looking forward to having lifelong friends and colleagues to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with as we strive for health equity for all people. I will leave this program with mentors, colleagues and a network of support as I work toward achieving equity for Indigenous people, as well as being better versed in issues affecting people of color.”

To learn more about Health Policy Research Scholars and RWJF’s other leadership programs, and to meet other participants, visit