Community Driven University Partnerships to Assess Exposures and Risk Perceptions of Diné Communities following the Gold King Mine Spill

Thursday, October 21 at 11:00AM (MDT): Dr. Karletta Chief


On August 5, 2015, 3 million gallons of acid mine drainage was released from the Gold King Mine, eventually reaching the San Juan River – the lifeblood of the Navajo Nation. This talk will share the experiences of building community and university partnerships to quickly develop and implement a community-based risk assessment in the wake of this environmental disaster. Central to this effort has been the development of a network of Diné community partners from the affected chapters that have guided the university researchers in designing and implementing a culturally appropriate study that addresses the community’s concerns. A key focus has been on building capacity for assessing environmental exposures through training of Diné tribal college students, environmental interns, and community health representatives. To date nearly a hundred students (half Diné) and 25 community members have collaborated and participated in data collection, interpretation, and dissemination. Given the potential for future catastrophic mine spills in the Western United States, findings will be used to develop a model of community capacity-building aimed at empowering affected communities to collect samples, minimize impacts, and engage in informed-decision making.

Watch the zoom recording here. Password: L9g$Z$JM

2021 – Dr. Karletta Chief