The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, or SEARHC, hired Debra O'Gara to be its director of planning and development.
O'Gara comes to SEARHC from the Central Council of the Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, where she served as a tribal court magistrate for child support. During three years with the Central Council in Juneau, O'Gara conducted hearings and issued orders concerning paternity, child support and enforcement of support orders. At the same time, she spent two years with the Alaska court system as a mediator of child guardianship issues and facilitator of family conferences.
Before moving to Juneau, O'Gara spent two years in New York City providing legal assistance to victims and survivors of domestic violence. She also spent 12 years with Puyallup Tribe of Indians in Tacoma, Wash., with her last five years as senior prosecutor and juvenile presenting officer and her first seven years as a staff attorney. She also spent two years as an assistant prosecutor for the Northwest Intertribal Court System in Edmonds, Wash.
O'Gara holds a law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law, which includes an environmental and natural resources law certificate and an ocean and coastal law certificate. She has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Washington, where she won the Office of Minority Affairs Student Recognition Award. She is an active member of the Alaska and Washington state bars. She also has bar admissions for several Northwest tribal courts.
Debra grew up in the Seattle area, but she spent the summers in Mountain Village, a Yup'ik village on the Yukon River where her mother was born and raised. Debra's Tlingít name is Djik Sook, and she is a Raven Frog of the Teeyhíttaan clan.