UA SBRP Supports Promotora Trainings at State and County Laboratories

March 11, 2009

In response to the recently awarded US EPA Pollution Prevention Grant and NASA Spacegrant Fellowship recipient, Theresa Foley (advisor, Eric Betterton) the UA SBRP Research Translation and Community Outreach Coordinators, Monica Ramirez and Denise Moreno Ramirez have been providing technical and linguistic translation of the air monitoring practices and laboratory methodologies being used to determine the levels of airborne metals in the heavily industrial southside of metropolitan Tucson to Promotoras (community advocates).

Ms. Foley is analyzing the metals data and collaborates with UA SBRP Coordinators, Monica Ramirez and Denise Moreno Ramirez, to translate her results and observations into a scientifically digestible format that is culturally sensitive and relevant for Mexican and Mexican American Promotoras in Tucson. So far, together, we have conducted the following three bilingual trainings:

  • Introduction to National Air Monitoring Standards and the Air Monitoring Station Mechanics and Function, SERI Office, October 6, 2008.
  • Tour of Filter Weighing Lab: Description of Collection and Archiving of Air Monitoring Station Filters, PDEQ Air Monitoring Laboratory, November 21, 2008
  • Explanation of Air Filter and Metal Analysis, PDEQ Laboratory, March 19, 2009

NASA Spacegrant fellow, Theresa Foley, is working with the UA SBRP, US EPA, PDEQ and Sonora Environmental Research Institute, Inc (SERI), to analyze and translate airborne metals data into useful information. She has organized trainings to explain and educate Tucson Promotoras regarding the air monitoring practices and laboratory methodologies being used by the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) Air Division. PDEQ currently monitors beryllium at six PM10 monitoring sites located in the Sunnyside Unified School District in South Tucson. SERI has obtained funding to analyze the same PM10 samples for seven additional metals:  lead, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, manganese, and nickel.

By providing new and unique trainings, Promotoras have the opportunity to increase their knowledge base and fundamental science understanding in the diverse disciplines that fall under the theme of environmental science. More specifically, these specific air monitoring trainings are explaining the scientific methodologies used by state and county laboratories to meet national standards, which is increasing community member awareness and trust toward state and county laboratories and nationally established standards.

The UA SBRP is delighted to be participating in such a community service that goes beyond traditional science education and outreach.