Open Board Positions
WESTERN REGION NOMINATIONS
3 Year Term
Tara Schaefer-Nygaard, LCSW (Minot State University -BSW,
Northwest Nazarene University -MSW
Tara Schaefer-Nygaard is a Minot, ND native and has worked in the social work field for 20 years. She is a certified Resilience Trainer teaching the four module Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) program and is able to utilize this in individual therapy sessions. Prior to working independently, she worked with Active Duty Air Force members as an embedded clinician and lead social worker for the team. With a primary focus to enhance resiliency of Air Force members and their family. Tara also worked in various capacities as an LMSW and LSW including; child welfare, special needs adoptions, home and community based services, infant development and therapy. Tara has a desire to strengthen new social workers confidence in their abilities and aid in facilitating strong ethical and moral guidance in a field with consistently changing policies. Tara and her husband have 5 adult children whom they enjoy spending time with and they are awaiting their first grandchild this July. When Tara isn’t busy with her work; she loves to spend time with her family.
EASTERN REGION NOMINATIONS
3 Year Term
Heather A Gibbens, MSW, LCSW, LMAC (University of North Dakota, Florida State University)
Heather has extensive experience in administrative and direct support roles in the behavioral health field, working as a Direct Support Professional, Case Manager, Residential Manager and Director of Operations for various behavioral health organizations in North Dakota, including Heartview Foundation, REM, Lake Region Corporation and Evolution Counseling.
Heather has experience working with individuals of all ages and strongly believes in the Solution Focused approach to therapy. She strives to meet the clients where they are and help them work toward improvements in relationships, thinking patterns, moods and behaviors. Heather also utilizes other treatment modalities, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, depending on the individual needs of the client.
SOUTHEAST REGION REPRESENTATIVE
3 Year Term
Kristen M Fischer, MSW, LMSW, NSW-C (University of North Dakota, Loyola University Chicago)
Kristen is a Certified Nephrology Social Worker who has worked at Sanford Health in Fargo, ND for over 20 years, and currently serves as a kidney transplant recipient social worker, providing consultation and outreach. Kristen has also served on the Sanford Clinical Ethics Committee for many years, participating in Ethics Consultations, policy development, staff education and local, and national conferences. Most recently she’s led efforts to address Moral Distress at Sanford Health, assisting providers and staff with processing, coping with, and resolving the moral distress they experience in their daily work, including during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
As a consultant, Kristen provides guidance to organizations regarding staff support, developing ethics frameworks and policies, patient advocacy, team communication and moral distress. She does public speaking on a local, regional and national level on many topics related to patient care and biomedical/professional ethics.
Kristen is passionate about helping patients learn to understand and adapt during their healthcare journeys. She also enjoys opportunities to engage with social work colleagues, providing support and a sense of community, as well as learning from each others’ experiences and perspectives.
BSW STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE
1 Year Term
Lucas Walz, Minot State University
Lucas is an ambitious student and is driven to be a force for positive change in his community. Lucas was born and raised in Bismarck, ND and in recent years has taken a keen interest in public policy / local government. Although Lucas lacks prior work experience in the field of Social Work he has a strong work ethic and is willing and committed to learning. Lucas is applying to be the BSW student representative for the ND chapter of the NASW. The opportunity to work with professionals in the field provides a swath of valuable experience and Lucas aims to play a role in advancing the overall goals of the organization. Lucas is a strong communicator, a considerate team member, and is committed to macro-level change instituted through the continued efforts of the organization. Lucas, above all, is passionate about the work and is committed to doing whatever is within his power to create a more equitable environment.
Elizabeth Muralt, North Dakota State University and Minot State University
Advocacy and making a difference for others is special to me using my knowledge and experiences seriously and passionately. I became a certified peer support specialist dedicated to help individuals of different backgrounds helping completing desired outcomes to better their futures. I have also spent most of my employment in my adult life centering around ways to work with similar people of these backgrounds within my community. I have also worked at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Treatment Facility, Staff Leader, Direct Support Professional. I have also been honored to serve apart of the North Dakota Youth Leadership Board that was formed and allied with Nexus- Path. I had amazing opportunities of speaking on panel presentations sharing my personal experiences with the child-welfare system and how I overcame different adversities within my past amongst service providers, foster-youth and parents. I was fortunate enough to become a youth ambassador and spoke at the National Chafee Independent Living Conference in Washington D.C. I spoke at the Family First Conference in Bismarck, ND and was selected to help change policy by implementing ideas, programs and strategies and advocating for foster youth for North Dakota's 5 year plan & program improvement planning. I also served on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Council which is a North Dakota based group that advocates for juveniles and working on how to support youth whom come from challenging pasts and how to generate different policies, systems and programs as part of intervention and different strategies to best assist them to succeed in terms of the criminal justice system and rehabilitation into becoming outstanding citizens in our community.
MSW STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE
1 Year Term