Community Engagement Core

Problem: 

The University of Arizona Superfund Research Program is focused on the health and environmental impacts of mining, an industry that is projected to undergo unprecedented growth in the coming decades. The interface between mining and public health is one with urgent need of innovative solutions which must begin at the community level. The legacy of mining is etched into the landscape and history of both Arizona and Sonora (Mexico). It is part of the culture, economy, and environment. The mining history, demographics, discrimination, and increased health and safety risks experienced by Hispanic and Native American residents and miners suggest that education on mining and mining impacts are needed in these targeted communities.

Significance: 

Fostering community engagement through academia has the potential to empower individuals or groups, demonstrate research relevance, and improve mutual understanding. The overall goal of the CEC is to apply research outcomes from the UA SRP to empower underrepresented populations to address health and environmental challenges. We have extensive experience working with target communities impacted by mining in Arizona, especially Native American communities. Our aims have been developed to identify and engage community stakeholders using dynamic approaches to both learn from these stakeholders and in return to convey new knowledge to empower communities to improve their lives.

Specific Aims: 

Aim 1. Community-Engaged Research
Engage Native American groups (Navajo and Tohono O’odham) in health and environmental research related to metal mining through community-led and implemented projects as well as development of innovative prevention / intervention strategies to decrease risks identified. Ongoing Activity

Aim 2. Training, Education, and Capacity Building
Partner with Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) to design and implement educational modules on mining processes and on the sociocultural and environmental impacts of mining to supplement existing TCU science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula, with the goal of supporting the Native American STEM pipeline to four-year institutions. Ongoing Activity

Aim 3. Center Support
Assist in the outreach efforts to Native American groups by the University of Arizona Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining which has components of community training and outreach on issues related to environmentally and socially responsible mining. Ongoing Activity

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