Valerie M. Gifford
Valerie Gifford was welcomed in August 2019 by the UAF Student Health and Counseling Center as the new Director. Originally from Wyoming, Dr. Gifford relocated to Alaska in 1994. The majority of her time in Alaska has been committed to living and providing services in rural communities. Dr. Gifford earned her Bachelor’s of Social Work degree from UAF, Master’s of Social Work degree from Wurweiler School of School Work at Yeshiva University, and her Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology with a Rural and Indigenous Emphasis from UAF. In addition to her work with UAF Student Health and Counseling, Dr. Gifford serves on UAF’s faculty for the School of Education’s Counseling Program and the College of Liberal Arts’ Psychology Department. She is licensed in Alaska as a psychologist and clinical social worker.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Associate Director for Counseling Services
Stacey is the Associate Director for Counseling and has been with UAF Student Health and Counseling since 2013. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington and obtained her clinical licensure shortly thereafter. Stacey has twenty years of experience working in the mental health field and is formally trained as a Cognitive Behavior Therapist with a specialty in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. She started her career working with incarcerated youth and young adults in Seattle, and later moved on to Harborview Medical Center's inpatient psychiatry. In 2009, Stacey relocated to Fairbanks where she worked with active duty members and their families on Eielson Air Force Base. Believing that the relationship is a fundamental part of therapy, Stacey builds upon strengths and resilience to assist with change and achieving personal goals. She has experience with crisis intervention, mood disorders, anxiety, interpersonal relationships and adjustment concerns. Stacey is holistic in her approach, utilizing self-awareness and mindfulness as a foundation for practice.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Kiana has been with Student Health & Counseling since 2018 and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Trinity Christian College and her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, IL. Kiana has more than 15 years of experience in the field of mental health and is licensed in both Alaska and California. Kiana most often uses an integrative, eclectic and holistic approach to mental health that focuses on the person in the room and how that person is affected and influenced by the world around them. She also utilizes cognitive behavioral techniques, solution-focused and family systems therapy. Kiana’s biggest passion in counseling is working with those experiencing grief and loss, walking alongside them on their journey and holding space for them to express all the nuances of the grief process. Her interests also include working through college adjustment, relationship issues, self-esteem, life transitions, stress management, working with Alaska Native populations and building resiliency. Kiana was born in Fairbanks and spent her childhood in a small village north of the Arctic Circle. In her spare time, she enjoys interior design, gardening, music, reading, writing, travel and photography.
Licensed Master Social Worker
Sarah Jensen, Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), is a Counselor at the Student Health & Counseling Center where she provides individual psychotherapy and counseling to UAF students and facilitates workshops for students, faculty, and staff. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from University of Rochester and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Bridgewater State University. Her specialties and areas of interest include phase-of-life transitions and adjustment, anxiety, depression, trauma, suicide assessment and prevention, and body image concerns. In her clinical work, she utilizes an eclectic approach, often combining aspects of mindfulness, alternative and contemplative practices, cognitive- behavioral therapy, and existential-humanistic therapy. Utilizing a strengths-based perspective with her clients, she aims to provide person-centered, holistic, and culturally-sensitive care. Sarah is currently working toward clinical licensure and in September 2021 she will be a candidate for licensure in clinical social work. In her free time, Sarah enjoys a great many hobbies but she is most passionate about herbalism, travel, and functional fitness.
Omar Gomez Salgado
Omar received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and his master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). He is a doctoral candidate enrolled in the Clinical-Community Psychology Doctoral program emphasized in rural and indigenous communities, offered jointly by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and UAA. His clinical training began at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA on a randomized control trial investigating the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for adolescents at risk for suicide. There, he conducted evaluations with adolescents and parents/legal guardians in English and Spanish. Upon moving to Fairbanks to pursue his doctoral degree, he has provided behavioral health services across various treatment settings in Fairbanks and rural Alaska. Over the past two years, he has served as a clinical supervisor and adjunct instructor for students enrolled in the UAF Counseling Program, teaching internship courses, multicultural counseling, and research methods. He is enthusiastic about the opportunity to find creative ways at UAF's Student Health and Counseling Center to support UAF students' wellness so that they can reach their academic, professional and personal aspirations.
Sabrina received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Liberty University and is currently working to finish her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health at the University of Fairbanks Alaska. As a student-clinician, Sabrina is continuing to form her approach and utilizes a holistic model that examines the connections between physical, spiritual, and mental well-being. She believes in a collaborative therapeutic relationship that empowers clients to use their strengths and resources while examining life themes such as meaning and purpose. Sabrina’s interests include exploring authenticity and identity, grief and loss, trauma, life transitions, and relationship issues.
Eri is a master’s degree student in counseling and has just joined the UAF Student Health and Counseling team this semester (Fall 2021). She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Weber State University in Ogden, UT, and has been learning to become a counselor at UAF since 2019. Eri is originally from Japan and is fluent in Japanese and familiar with Japanese culture. She is also a U.S. Army veteran having experienced deployment to Afghanistan. She has passion for counseling with a multicultural approach for diverse populations and counseling for military populations, including active duty, veterans, and their families.