Building a Culture of Health in the Green

Dr. Monica Ramírez-Andreotta, Associate Professor of Environmental Science received an NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences Science Education Partnership Award (Award # R25GM146227) titled "Building a culture of health in the green: Participatory learning and action to address air and soil quality in rural underserved communities”.

This project will engage with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASDR), and will work in collaboration with the Hayden/Winkelman Superintendent, Concerned Citizens and Retired Miners Coalition of Superior, AZ, and University of Arizona Gila County Cooperative Extension. In addition, Dr. Sanlyn Buxner, Associate Research Professor of Science Education from the College of Education’s Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies will as the external evaluator. New partnerships will be nurtured, and the project will run from 2022 to 2027.

The goal of this project is to create and pilot a national model of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education that engages adults and 7th to 12th graders and provides them with the tools, skills and support to document, reflect upon and communicate issues of concern; collect environmental samples; and make sense of data so that their results can inform actions at the local, regional and even national level through data visualization and environmental communication.

Arid and semiarid environments account for about 40 percent of the global land area and are inhabited by one third of the world’s population. These populations are vulnerable to climate change and contaminant exposure via particulate matter (PM, e.g., dust) inhalation. This research will lead to a deeper understanding of how the democratization of science impacts environmental health literacy (EHL) as well as individual and community’s self-efficacy in rural, historically underserved environmental justice communities.

Home gardens, community gardens, recreational, and residential spaces will serve as hubs for environmental health education with the objective of understanding how: (1) advisory boards can foster the development of critical thinking and communication skills; (2) a summer certification program can increase EHL; (3) an equity centered community design approach to data sharing strategies can build a participant’s EHL; (4) to successfully broaden participation in STEAM learning by historically underrepresented individuals living in environmentally compromised spaces.

For this project, we are hiring 3 Community Outreach Specialists, please see job posting and share with others!

For more information, and to get involved with STEAM in Action, visit our website: