Monica Ramirez
Improving Environmental Health Literacy at Mining Sites: Framing Community Perspectives via a Citizen Social Science Program
Mining operations pose a potential risk to human health and the environment. Climate change will only exacerbate the risks posed by mining in arid and semi-arid environments like the desert Southwest. When combining the issues associated with mine-site rehabilitation and sustainability, the most critical issue that arises is generating a standard for determining the ‘acceptable’ rehabilitation of the land and how to reduce environmental health threats. Understanding the current state of environmental health literacy, the needs of community members neighboring mining areas, and the community’s perspective on the extent of health, social, cultural and biophysical disruption from mining activities must be properly addressed to conduct and improve environmental health promotion programs. The aims are to build community-academic partnerships in mining communities in Pima County and the Tohono O’odham Nation and capture the voice of communities via the community based participatory research method known as photovoice.
Type de projet
Projet OHM
OHM(s) concerné(s)
  • Pima County
Écologie, Écologie de la santé, Santé publique, Sociologie


I am a new assistant professor of Soil, Water and Environmental Science (SWES) with a join appointment in the College of Public Health’s Division of Community, Environment and Policy at the University of Arizona. I am trained across various fields and I am a transdisciplinary researcher in the purest sense. I received a B.A. degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a B.A. degree in Studio Art (Photography), and a master’s of Public Administration from Columbia University. I received my Ph.D. from the UA in SWES (with a minor in Art) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with a medical sociologist in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at Northeastern University.
The goals of my research program include: 1) developing a fundamental understanding of the fate and transport of contaminants in the environment, with a primary focus on plant-soil systems; and 2) designing effective risk communication and data report-back strategies to improve environmental health literacy and education. The foci of my research program include: assessing the environmental health of residential and community gardens and food products; monitoring and improving soil and air quality through phytotechnologies; and building citizen science programs and low-cost environmental monitoring tools to increase public participation in environmental health research. I have been successful in reaching underserved populations and have previously facilitated community-academic partnerships in Arizona and Massachusetts.