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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Arizona: Hopi Tribe Citizen Scientists Investigate Environmental Hazards

A program designed to interest high school students in careers in the environmental health sciences is an extension of a University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health research project to address toxic environmental exposures among the Hopi Tribe in Arizona.

Household exposures are major sources of environmental hazards encountered by many indigenous communities. The Hopi Environmental Health Project uses a community-based participatory research approach in collaboration with the Hopi Tribe to investigate household exposures to arsenic, uranium and particulate matter.

Working alongside the Hopi Tribe, researchers and students from the Center for Indigenous Environmental Health Research at the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health, aim to expand the tribe’s capacity to address areas of environmental concern that can inform programs and policy.

Drs. Robin Harris, professor of epidemiology and Mary Kay O’Rourke, professor emeritus from the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health, are co-principal investigators of the Hopi Environmental Health Project and developed the curriculum for the “Citizen Science” component of the study designed for students at Hopi High School in Keams Canyon, Arizona, located approximately 260 miles northwest of Phoenix.

The educational component of the project invites students to explore their own home environments through citizen science projects. Students evaluated radon in homes, household pests, arsenic content in drinking water, and solid waste from their homes.

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