Dr. Karletta Chief is a Navajo hydrologist, University of Arizona (UA) Cooperative Extension specialist, and UA Superfund Research Program (SRP) Community Engagement Core Leader. Dr. Chief’s self-described research and extension goal is the empowerment of Native American communities through active participation in addressing water challenges, and in recognizing the health risks of climate change and environmental contaminants. As Dr. Chief explained, “In many of my programs, I work to bring relevant science to Native American communities in a culturally sensitive manner by providing hydrology expertise, transferring knowledge, assessing information needs, and developing applied science projects.”
Dr. Chief was recently awarded two fellowships to support her work. The Hampton Faculty Fellows Program, Spirit of Eagles American Indian/Alaska Native Leadership Initiative on Cancer, supports community-based participatory research opportunities to ultimately reduce cancer-related health disparities. The National Research Mentoring Network, Grantwriting Uncovered: Maximizing Strategy, Help, Opportunities, and Experiences” (GUMSHOE) Program, will provide Dr. Chief with training in grant preparation and will pair her with a mentor with proven grant writing success.
Dr. Chief’s work has also led to her recognition as a 2015 Native American, “40 Under 40”, by the National Center for American Enterprise Development (NCAIED). This award is given to individuals who have been nominated by members of their communities for a demonstration of leadership, initiative, and dedication to making a difference.
UA SRP Director Raina Maier offers praise of Dr. Chief’s unique skills: “She has created relationships with tribal nations all over the state of Arizona and beyond to address environmental health disparities. Her energy and drive are amazing and the network she has developed in just a few years is truly impressive.”