University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) Research Translation Core (RTC) investigator, Dr. Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, has been making waves since returning home to take a faculty position at her alma mater, the University of Arizona, last year. Ramirez-Andreotta is a transdisciplinary environmental health scientist who specializes in the fate and transport of contaminants in plant-soil systems, research translation, and community engagement efforts. Within this last year, she has received a number of city, state, international, and foundation grants to support her burgeoning research program.
One of these grants is the Agnese Haury Foundation, Seed Grant. The Sonora Environmental Research Institute (SERI), Ramirez-Andreotta, and UA SRP investigator Dr. Eric Betterton were awarded $25,000 from the Agnese Nelms Haury Seed Grant Program for a project entitled, “Facilitating Community Action to Address Climate Change and Build Resiliency in Southern Metropolitan Tucson.” This project focuses on the mitigating the disproportionate impacts from climate change facing the marginalized, low-income communities of southern metropolitan Tucson. Through workshops, home visits, demonstration sites, and hands-on experiments, the program is working to build community leaders, to increase community understanding of climate change and sustainability, and to increase the resilience of the community by reducing vulnerability to extreme temperatures, one household at a time. On March 31, 2016, 20 promotoras (community health workers) completed a 10-day 40-hour Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Promotora Certificate training designed by this team. As part of the training, promotoras collected soil and water samples from 30 residential water harvesting systems and made approximately 50 home visits. UA SRP trainees Denise Moreno Ramirez and Melisa Bohlman worked with the promotoras on preparation of the soil samples for analysis. Coursework featured modules on energy use, conservation, and efficiency taught by UA SRP investigator Dr. Janick Artiola and discussions on heat and air quality pollutants by UA SRP investigator Dr. Eduardo Saez.