IRB Chair and Human Research Subjects Protections Administrator
Rev. Saunkeah is Kiowa. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma (OU) College of Nursing in 1978 and received a master’s in health care ethics from Creighton University in 2014. Rev. Saunkeah has a long history in clinical research, primarily in the field of cardiac pacing and electrophysiology, at the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida. He has worked in the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health for 20 years in several capacities, including Certified Diabetes Educator, Diabetes Program Manager, Director of the Chickasaw Nation Special Diabetes Program for Indians grants, and, currently, Manager of the Section of Research and Population Health.
Rev. Saunkeah has served on the Chickasaw Nation Institutional Review Board (IRB) for many years and is presently IRB Chair and Human Research Subjects Protections Administrator. He is a Tribal Representative on the national Indian Health Service IRB, a Certified IRB Professional (CIP), and an adjunct faculty member for the Department of Health Promotion Sciences at the OU College of Public Health. Rev. Saunkeah was appointed in 2016 to serve a two-year term as the Oklahoma Area Delegate to the NIH Tribal Advisory Committee for Research (NIH TAC). His primary interests are promoting tribal public health, creating tribal research infrastructure, strengthening research protections in tribal communities, and exploring the application of research and public health ethics principles within the context of tribal culture and sovereignty.
Rev. Saunkeah is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church.