The proposed study - the Dine Network for Environmental Health (DiNEH) Project - is an outgrowth of on-going collaborations to address the long-term public health and environmental effects of more than 50 years of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation. The DiNEH Project was developed at the request of the Eastern Navajo Health Board (ENHB, or """"""""the Health Board""""""""), which has long been concerned about the possible role of environmental agents in the high rates of kidney disease observed in the local population. The DiNEH collaboration includes, in addition to ENHB, the Crownpoint Service Unit (CSU) of the Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS), the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC), and the primary applicant for this grant, the Community Environmental Health Program of the University of New Mexico (UNM-CEHP). Goals of the DiNEH Project are to educate community members and leaders about the possible role of water-borne agents in disease causation, increase community capacity to carry out environmental health studies and influence public policies to promote safe drinking water, and increase communication among project participants and other groups in the region to address environmental health concerns related to uranium development. The DiNEH Project will benefit 20 Chapters in the Eastern Agency by identifying safe and unsafe water sources, as well as examining the poorly understood interplay between toxicant exposures and behavioral and cultural factors. The information generated from water resource investigation is critical not only for public health assessment, but will also facilitate community water resource planning required in land-use plans now being developed by all Navajo Chapter governments. Participating Chapters will build community knowledge and skills by participating in water quality assessments and developing policies and plans for alternative water supplies to replace those found to be unsafe for human consumption. Health Board members will increase their bilingual (i.e., English and Navajo) language competencies in the environmental health sciences while improving and expanding the Board's internal structures to plan, develop and implement future environmental health and biomedical studies. The DiNEH Project addresses the commitments of NIEHS and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to multidisciplinary research that seeks to minimize and prevent adverse health effects from environmental exposures. The project will have a significant impact on public health and policy by reducing exposures to waterborne toxicants in a vulnerable population that already experiences high rates of chronic kidney disease. Its results will be generalizable throughout the Navajo Nation and to other land-based communities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LWJ-B (EJ))
Program Officer
Srinivasan, Shobha
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University of New Mexico
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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