Melissa Canaday has over 25 years of experience in community-based programming and activism. As the former Executive Director of the United Indians of Virginia (UIV), she was directly responsible for creating collaboration between Virginia tribes and several private, state and federal agencies. As the President of Omnicity, she leads the National Diabetes Prevention Program, among other programs, in several American Indian communities within Virginia. Her personal mission is to cultivate self-determination, healing and wholeness within the individual and the community.
She has served, and continues to serve, her community in many capacities. She has participated with the Virginia Council on Indians, the Virginia Indian Tribal Alliance for Life, and as a Board member for the Intertribal Women’s Circle. She currently is Chair of the Community Engagement Sub-committee on the Virginia Department of Health, Minority Health and Health Equity Advisory Committee.
Melissa currently is in residency for her Licensed Professional Counselor designation. Among her many human service activities, she works with homeless Veterans assisting them in employment placement and addressing their many barriers to employment. She interfaces with mental health professionals to develop and conduct assessments and individual treatment plans, where needed. Her training and skills in Motivational Interviewing and the Stages of Change serve her well when leading the National Diabetes Prevention workshops.
She is an often requested speaker on diversity issues and cultural competency as it relates to the Virginia American Indian community.
She received her Bachelors of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Baltimore, and her Masters of Education with a concentration in Community Counseling from the College of William and Mary.