Four fabulous new board members bring excitement and experience to Aliveness Board.

The Aliveness Project welcomes four newly elected board members to its Board of Directors. Each new board member brings passion, personal commitment, and professional expertise to Aliveness. Each board member was interviewed and elected by the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC). Learn more about each new board member:  

Andy Birkey currently serves as Director of Research and Communications for Minnesota Housing Partnership. Andy drives MHP’s communications and research efforts to ensure communities have the information they need to improve the quality and affordability of housing. Prior to MHP, Andy served as Director of Communications for the Minnesota AIDS Project where he oversaw all aspects of communications, and Senior Reporter for the American Independent News Network where his data-driven reporting on LGBT equity, health care, and civil rights won numerous local and national awards. His leadership experience includes the Queer Student Cultural Center, Rainbow Health Initiative, TC Jacks LGBTQ Football Club, the Red Ribbon Ride, and The Column.

Adam Fairbanks helps organizations define, prioritize, and articulate their goals, and works with them to successfully implement their priorities. He specializes in collaborations with Native American tribes to conceive, plan, and set up reimbursable healthcare services.  Adam has played a key role in developing multiple tribally operated and culturally specific medication-assisted treatment/behavioral health facilities in the State of Minnesota.  He provides end-to-end consulting services- defining the specifications of clinic infrastructure, developing staffing requirements, and collaborating with agencies to establish workable policies & procedures that are in accordance with Native values and tribal philosophies.  His expertise enables tribes to maximize revenue while delivering quality care that substantially improves the well-being of Native Communities.

Mary Jo Kasten is a physician at Mayo Clinic.  She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine.  She has been privileged to work caring for HIV patients for 30+ years.  She is a founding member of the Mayo Clinic HIV group and continues to work on a regular basis in the HIV clinic at Mayo.  She is a passionate HIV educator of her primary care colleagues, students, residents, and trainees.

Shanasha Whitson was born and raised in Minnesota. She is a licensed social worker and has worked in the field since 2006. Shanasha has worked as a medical case manager, a housing case manager, a behavioral therapist, a social worker, a domestic abuse advocate, a housing coordinator, a liaison for technical assistance, a contributing editor for community planning health improvement plan, and working with city governments to implement community development projects. Shanasha has worked with seniors, PLWH, IPV, youth, African-born individuals, African American men and women, communities in recovery, those formerly incarcerated, youth and the LGBTQ+ community.

If you have any questions for the Board of Directors or curious about how to get involved please contact Matt Toburen, Executive Director

More Resources from Aliveness:


Grand Opening Pharmacy & Clinic


Say Hello to New Members of Our Team!

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