Environmental Health in Tribal Communities

Cheyenne Grabiec is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation studying Psychology at the University of Arizona with a minor in American Indian Studies.  He is an Environmental Health Sciences Transformative Research Undergraduate Experience (EHS-TRUE) intern through the University of Arizona’s Undergraduate Biology Research Program.  Cheyenne is currently working with Dr. Marti Lindsey, director of the SWEHSC CEC, for the next two years conducting environmental health research and projects.  

Cheyenne’s research and projects involve outreach events to engage tribal communities in Arizona through hands on methods, solutions and approaches of how to address the impact of environmental issues on human health. A vital application in any community experiencing environmental health issues is maintaining high involvement of tribal members, families, youth, students and elders to increase their knowledge of an existing issue.

In addition, collaborative bi-directional research projects are created between tribes and universities to tackle the various environmental impacts that occur in the Southwest and educate them on environmental health issues in their respective communities as well as helping to create bi-directional research projects between tribes and universities.  “I see the work that I am doing as a ladder.  The tribes and research entities are the two main posts of the ladder and the work I am doing at the SWEHSC CEC is the steps of that ladder.  

We are strengthening the ties between tribes of Southwest Arizona and University of Arizona researchers. The research that the tribes want done to the researchers here at the University of Arizona.  We are not doing research on tribes, but we are collaboratively doing research with tribes,” says Cheyenne on the work that he has been doing with the SWEHSC CEC.