Vice President

Greg Tafoya (MPH), Vice President.

Greg’s role is to serve as a primary point of contact for engagement with the extreme sports industry partners, and also serve as a member of the evaluation-consultation team for community teams seeking to implement this challenging program.

Greg was raised in Kha’p’o Owingeh, or Santa Clara Pueblo where he is an enrolled tribal member and also of Sac & Fox Nation descent. Growing up in the Espanola Valley of northern New Mexico during the late 1970’s through 1980’s, he experienced firsthand devastating heroin temptation, addiction and loss. To deal with risks, he began skateboarding and bicycling as outlets, finding that an active lifestyle would lead him to embrace other adventures like surfing and snowboarding. Over the years, he observed that board-sports required advanced thought processing (i.e. rapid physics and math calculations), decision-making (i.e. instantaneous action-to-consequence lessons) and lessons in resilience (i.e. learning to overcome personal challenges and rewards from bonding) – traits found with many extreme sport athletes. He further observed that culture, identity and extreme sport promoted protective factors through pride and self-regulation. He believes lifelong outcomes resonate with tribal youth in particular because board-sports involve philosophical concepts of riding on, over and through challenges which translates to life.

While he was a graduate student he developed the RezRIDERS curriculum based on his risky youth, professional snowboard instructor and scientific career experiences. Greg has a Master’s of Public Health degree from the University of New Mexico-School of Medicine with concentration in community health interventions graduating with distinction, and also has an extensive background in molecular biology. Since 2003, he has worked youth and adult snowboarding programs working toward creation of the RezRIDERS 501c3 organization; with ultimate goal of helping youth achieve any goal they dream of, supporting adults willing to serve as mentors, and offer a program that returns outcomes directly back to communities through action oriented solutions that are youth-driven.