TEI’s mission is to help Tribal Home Visiting Program grantees gather and use information to improve the health and well-being of children and families in their community. We provide technical assistance in program evaluation, performance measurement, continuous quality improvement, and dissemination.

Our community-engaged approach builds capacity while honoring local and cultural strengths and practices. We support evaluation that combines cultural and scientific rigor.

TEI builds capacity through a mix of grantee specific guidance and universal support. We partner with diverse tribal communities to develop knowledge about home visiting in tribal communities and beyond.

The TEI Team


The Tribal Evaluation Institute is funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services. TEI2 was awarded to James Bell Associates, Inc., in partnership with University of Colorado School of Public Health, Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health and Michigan Public Health Institute.

TEI Capacity Building Specialists


Brandie Buckless

Brandie is Bitterroot Salish from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation in Montana. She has been a TA Liaison since 2015 and works directly with seven grantees. Brandie has worked for the past 6 years on public health, evaluation, and community-based research projects with AIAN communities and organizations. She enjoys collaborating to build data use capacity in tribal communities and developing culturally relevant evaluation questions. Brandie received her MPH in community health promotion with a health disparities concentration from University of Minnesota.

Erin Geary

Erin has served as a TA Liaison since 2013. He leads TA efforts with four grantees and also oversees data system planning for the team. Erin has been using his evaluation and technical assistance expertise in his work with tribal child welfare and early childhood programs for the past decade. He is passionate about supporting tribal decision making and services through community led evaluation. Erin has a masters in social work degree from University of Minnesota Duluth and a Ph.D. from University of Utah, where he focused on understanding AIAN well-being.

Kate Lyon

As the Project Director, Kate leads the TEI team in all aspects of TA and works directly with two grantees. She has worked with the Tribal Home Visiting Program grantees since the beginning of the program in 2011. For the past 15 years Kate has collaborated with states, tribes, and community-based organizations to build evaluation capacity and conduct locally meaningful evaluation. She enjoys developing logic models and enjoys translating evaluation concepts into non-technical terms. Kate received her M.A. in applied anthropology from Northern Arizona University.

Julie Morales

Julie is Deputy Project Director and has worked closely with many tribal grantees since joining the project in 2011. For the past 16 years, Julie has designed and supported the evaluation efforts of community, state, and tribal intervention programs. She is committed to developing evaluation capacity through building strong relationships and applying practical research methods. She thrives on collaborating with tribal evaluators to craft meaningful local evaluations. Julie has a Ph.D. in child psychology with a focus on applied developmental psychology from University of Minnesota.

Erica Blue Roberts

Erica is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and works directly with six grantees. She is dedicated to promoting the use of culturally responsive evaluation in Indigenous communities in ways that include Indigenous ways of knowing and bi-directional learning. She enjoys learning from communities and helping them develop innovative evaluation designs grounded in their strengths and interests. Erica has a Ph.D. in behavioral and community health from University of Maryland and a masters of health science degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Melina Salvador

Melina began working with the Tribal Home Visiting Program as an evaluator for two grantees in 2011 and joined TEI in 2014. Melina is keen on qualitative methodology, collaboration and community engagement in research and evaluation. Her work has focused on the well-being of young people and families. She received her M.A. in Latin American studies from University of New Mexico and is currently a Ph.D. student in the joint University of California San Francisco/UC Berkeley Medical Anthropology program.