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University of New Mexico

Superfund Research Program

Research Translation Core

Project Leader: Melissa Gonzales
Co-Investigators: David Begay, Christopher L. Shuey (Southwest Research and Information Center), Nancy Maryboy (Indigenous Education Institute)
Grant Number: P42ES025589
Funding Period: 2017-2022

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Project Summary (2017-2022)

The Research Translation Core (RTC) of the University of New Mexico Metal Exposure and Toxicity Assessment on Tribal Lands in the Southwest Superfund Research Program Center (UNM METALS) utilizes a unique network to facilitate the multidirectional translation of information among UNM METALS partners. Translation will take place among UNM METALS researchers and trainees, and with impacted Native American communities; local, regional, and national governmental partners; other Superfund Research Programs; and important end-users to address real and immediate concerns related to mixed metals exposures from abandoned uranium mining sites.

The Core’s hypothesis is that increased multidirectional translation and communication supports more informed prevention, research, and policy decisions. The RTC aims to


  1. Establish research translation forums among UNM METALS researchers, trainees, and cores to identify and translate research products within METALS and the broader SRP network;
  2. Expand the communication interface across a network of agencies at the tribal, state, and national levels with shared information needs on the health effects and risk reduction strategies for metals mixtures exposures;
  3. Develop and apply unique multi-directional research translation frameworks to provide timely and understandable information to community partners and other important end users, enabling them to engage in setting policy and future research directions; and
  4. Ensure technologies and methods developed through UNM METALS are made available through direct training of partners and, when appropriate, through commercialization supported through UNM’s technology transfer office.


The unique perspective of the RTC leadership on translating findings to indigenous communities and perspectives of tribes to regulators, clinicians, and scientists influences the way research is designed and conducted with Native communities, and fulfills the need for collecting data on exposures and health impacts of abandoned uranium mines (AUMs) on indigenous communities.

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