Superfund Research Program
Community Engagement Core
Project Summary (2017-2020)
The University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) Center is focused on the health and environmental impacts of metal mining. The interface between mining and public health is one with urgent need of innovative solutions at the community level. The UA SRP's Community Engagement Core (CEC) has developed extensive experience working with communities throughout Arizona and Northern Mexico. In this renewal, they will expand their efforts to include Native American communities that are impacted by mining.
The CEC works to deliver community-engaged science-based information to affected community stakeholders so they can become active players in understanding and making informed decisions on health issues related to mining. The CEC provides a platform for community stakeholders to influence and potentially participate in the science that the UA SRP Center is conducting to maintain the relevance of the research to the community concerns. An evaluation component has also been woven throughout their activities to allow quantitative and qualitative measurements of success and lessons-learned to optimize the usefulness of their work.
The CEC fills an existing gap in Native American participation in mining issues that impact their communities. UA SRP partners in this effort will include local communities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and the mining industry. The objectives of UA SRP's CEC are to:
- Engage Native American groups in health and environmental research related to mining, which includes incorporating them in the design and implementation of projects as well as development of innovative mitigation strategies to decrease risks identified;
- Build stakeholder capacity by working with Tribal Community Colleges and Universities to create and implement educational modules focused on the mining process and its social and environmental impacts to supplement existing STEM curricula and build a cadre of STEM-focused higher education students; and
- Assist in the outreach and administration of the University of Arizona's Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining, a center that the UA SRP initiated that has components of community training and outreach on issues related to environmentally and socially responsible mining.
The UA SRP Center serves to heighten the participation of underrepresented minorities along the continuum of scientific research, and ultimately to addressing environmental and health issues.