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
- Project Summary
The University of New Mexico (UNM) Metal Exposure and Toxicity Assessment on Tribal Lands in the Southwest (METALS) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center Research Translation Core (RTC) supports linkages between METALS research and stakeholder needs to enhance translational research for reducing real and immediate environmental health risks posed by mixed metals exposures from abandoned mining sites. To support this goal UNM METALS provides regular updates to joint meetings of United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), communities, METALS researchers, and the Navajo Nation Trustee for the settlement to cleanup orphan mines. METALS also shares findings with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals Tribal Superfund Working Group, the Dine Uranium Remediation Advisory Commission, the Navajo Health, Education, and Human Services committee, the Pueblo of Laguna Environment and Natural Resources Department, and other stakeholder organizations. In collaboration with the Community Engagement Core (CEC), the RTC conducted the second annual two-day Indigenous Cultural Training for METALS members and trainees at UNM in 2019. This training is designed to promote culturally appropriate translational research supporting the integration of academic research and tribal community stakeholder concerns. The RTC team have also bridged cultural perspectives and research outcomes via translating science through art. This approach was highlighted at numerous venues to support a pipeline of future STEM trainees interested in METALS research and to support community health initiatives. The RTC communicates with tribal community and policy stakeholders through in-person progress updates, listening sessions, and articles in tribal newspapers. The RTC communicates with SRP/NIEHS staff, regulators, community partners, and a broader audience through a web site, Twitter account, scientific meetings, and digital newsletters.