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Your Environment. Your Health.

Center for Native American Environmental Health Equity Research

Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research

Man sitting beside lake

Center Directors
Johnnye Lewis, Ph.D.
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
College of Pharmacy

Debra Mackenzie
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
College of Pharmacy

Joseph Hoover, Ph.D.
Montana State University Billings

University of New Mexico Health Science Center

Project Location
New Mexico

Community Partners
Navajo Nation
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (Missouri Breaks)
Southwest Research & Information Center
Crow Environmental Health Steering Committee & Little Big Horn Tribal College

Academic Partners
Montana State University

Overall Center Goal

The Center for Native American Environmental Health Equity Research develops an understanding of the emerging plastic degradation contaminant profiles and evaluates constituents and distribution of microplastics and other degradation products, along with emissions from extractive industries, that could add to these classes of chemicals, in both stationary and mobile exposure assessments.

Researchers monitor grazing patterns of livestock and their resulting exposures through air and consumption of plants and water, as well as stationary in-home and mobile monitoring on people during their normal activities. The monitoring is to evaluate exposure components and pathways contributing the greatest risk. The ultimate goal is to develop mitigation strategies at individual and tribal levels to inform decisions and policies to reduce the risks linked to increasing cancer and other chronic disease disparities in these communities.

The resulting fine-scale predictive models, ground-truthed through monitoring, and the integration of multiple exposure streams provides a resource to not only inform policy, but aid clinicians in identifying early risks to develop prevention strategies as well.

Specific Aims

  1. Assess the components and distribution of microplastics and degradation products resulting from disparities in solid waste disposal practices, and their combined contributions to identified metal mixture exposures.
  2. Assess the exposure and health outcome relationships for degradation products and microplastics alone and in combination with identified metals.
  3. Build community capacity for research through effective communication, engagement in research design and data collection, and presentations at scientific meetings.
  4. Integrating results from aims 1 and 2, model mixture exposures and outcomes to prioritize risk and design effective mitigation strategies.

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