Indigenous Environmental Health Research Workshop: Methods, Ethics and Practice to Collaborate with Communities

Returning Summer 2025 | Livestream, virtual

Indigenous Environmental Health Research Workshop

The next Indigenous Environmental Health Research Workshop will be Summer 2025. Sign up below to hear about registration opening! 

The Indigenous Environmental Health Research Workshop is a two-day interactive workshop of dialogue and hands-on sessions to provide an overview of Indigenous ways of knowing and community-driven methods in Indigenous Environmental Health Research. We encourage the involvement and contributions of Indigenous partners, communities and members.


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Jump to:  OverviewAudience and RequirementsInstructors  |  Fellowship |  Locations   |  Testimonials  |  Registration Fees  |  Additional Information

Training Overview

Summer 2025 dates: Livestream, online training Dates TBD; 10:00am - ~5:00pm EDT

In collaboration with the Superfund programs from MIT, Oregon State, the University of Arizona, and the University of New Mexico and Columbia University Northern Plains, this two-day interactive workshop integrates community-driven methods and Indigenous ways of knowing and their application to Indigenous Environmental Health Research studies. Led by a team with expertise grounded in community in the field of environmental health, this introductory workshop will integrate dialogue with hands-on sessions to put knowledge into practice. The sessions will provide an overview of Indigenous science, discuss the IRB process, introduce data sovereignty and allow for sharing of successful and meaningful community-based research with Indigenous People. 

By the end of the workshop, participants will be familiar with the following topics:

  • Indigenous ways of knowing
  • Data sovereignty
  • IRB process

Audience and Requirements

Investigators at all career stages are welcome to attend, and we particularly encourage trainees and early-stage investigators to participate.


Summer 2025 instructing team is still being finalized, but will be comparable to the 2023 lineup below.

Course Co-Directors

Yoshira Ornelas Van Horne, PhD, Assisant Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Dr. Ornelas Van Horne is an alumna of the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice Fellowship. Her research focuses on addressing unequal exposures to harmful contaminants that affect structurally marginalized communities. Dr. Ornelas Van Horne is committed to building health equity through community-driven research and is passionate about research translation and communication.

Ana Navas-Acien, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Research, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Dr. Navas-Acien is a physician-epidemiologist (MD, University of Granada, Spain '96) with a specialty in Preventive Medicine and Public Health (Hospital La Paz, Madrid '01) and a PhD in Epidemiology (Johns Hopkins University '05)


Karletta Chief, (Diné)  PhD, Hydrology and Water Sources, Professor & Extension Specialist in Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. She is the director of the Indigenous Resilience Center and lead for the NSF Indigenous Food, Energy, and Water Security and Sovereignty Training Program.

Thomas A. De Pree, PhD, ASERT-IRACDA postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (NIGMS K12 GM088021), key personnel in the Community Engagement Core (CEC) of the the UNM Metal Exposure and Toxicity Assessment on Tribal Lands in the Southwest (METALS) Superfund Research Program (P42ES025589), and an instructor in Environmental Science at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI). 

Jamie Donatuto, PhD, Dr. Donatuto is a Community Environmental Health Analyst for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, located in the beautiful Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. For 17 years, Jamie has been enacting investigations on behalf of the Tribe, including researching toxics in local traditional foods, tribal health - related impacts from climate change, launching an environmental health education program, and developing community - based indigenous health indicators

Joseph Hoover, PhD, MA, is an environmental scientist who addresses environmental exposure and health disparities using community engaged research methods and geospatial technology. His research emphasizes drinking water quality and access challenges experienced by Indigenous communities with additional interests in community engaged research methods and healthy homes. He employs a community-driven research approach to develop sustaining partnerships with communities, which includes project co-development and training.

Johnnye Lewis, PhD, MA, Director and Founder of the Community Environmental Health Program (CEHP) in the College of Pharmacy at UNM-HSC is also currently serving as the Co-Director of the Center for Native American Environmental Health Equity Research (Native EH Equity), a partnership that includes Crow, Sioux, and Navajo communities and agencies. Dr. Lewis is the Principal Investigator of the Navajo Birth Cohort Study/Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (NBCS/ECHO), which is a community-driven study on environmental exposures, birth outcomes, and child development on the Navajo Nation. In addition to these roles, she is also leading the UNM METALS Superfund Center, which is the first Superfund Research Center focused on indigenous communities.

June L. Lorenzo, (Laguna Pueblo/Diné) J.D PhD, lives and works in her home community of Paguate in Laguna Pueblo. She practices law and works with community organizations and Indigenous non-governmental organizations to address uranium mining legacy issues and resistance to new mining, and sacred landscape protection. She also advocates on related human rights issues in various international forums.

Rae O'Leary, (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa), MPH, Public Health Analyst, Missouri Breaks Research Industries Inc. Rae O’Leary is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and resident of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She conducts research and public health initiatives for Missouri Breaks in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. O’Leary holds degrees in Nursing and Respiratory Therapy. Her primary interest is to address social, behavioral, and environmental determinants of health at an individual and community level so being American Indian is no longer a risk factor for poor health.

Mallery Quetawki, (Zuni Pueblo) BS, Mallery Quetawki is a member of Zuni Pueblo, an indigenous community in western New Mexico. She received her BS in Biology with a minor in Art studio in 2009 from The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  She is currently the Artist-in-Residence with the Community Environmental Health Program (CEHP) at the University of New Mexico-College of Pharmacy. 

Diana Rohlman, PhD, Associate Research Professor who is studying the role of environmental health literacy in helping communities better frame and respond to environmental health hazards. In a project with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, environmental health literacy is evaluated as a method to interweave traditional ecological knowledge and western concepts of science. 

Patricia Saulis, (Maliseet/Wolastoqey) Former Executive Director of the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council. Currently a member of the Leadership Team of the RAD Network, which is part of the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership. 

Kirena Tsosie, (Diné), Community Water Specialist, Southwest Research and Information Center. Kirena works for a multi-cultural organization aiming to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations. Kirena earned her Masters in Water Resources from the University of New Mexico where her research thesis focused on a vulnerability assessment of water resources in the Greater Chaco area, New Mexico, utilizing traditional Navajo ecological knowledge.

Kathleen Mead Vandiver, PhD, created the MIT patented DNA and Protein models and the lesson materials for them. She is a Curriculum Advisor at MIT’s Edgerton Center in addition to being the Director of the Community Engagement Core for MIT’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) and MIT’s Superfund Research Program (SRP). 

Teracita 'Terry" Keyanna, of the Navajo Nation, Teracita "Terry" Keyanna is first and foremost a passionate advocate and dedicated volunteer in her community. Terry spends approximately 20 hours per week volunteering. She has over 20 years of experience in community service work. Terry received a certificate in Automotive Technology from UNM-Gallup. She has been studying Geospatial Information Technology and Environmental Science from the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute. Terry currently sits on the Executive board for the Red Water Pond Community Association, where she manages community improvement projects, and advocates for the Red Water Pond Community to find or develop plans for a repository for uranium waste that has contaminated the soil and caused chronic health issues for many members of her family and community, including herself. In this role, Terry has worked tirelessly to hold the US EPA, NN EPA, and The NRC accountable for the ongoing contamination of native lands and the indigenous peoples who still occupy them. She aims to continue raising awareness of these injustices and collaborating with other partners to ensure that her community achieves a safe and healthy environment for generations to come.

Sheldwin Yazzie, PhD, MPH, MS Sheldwin earned a doctorate degree in Exposure Science and a MS degree in Epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health; prior he also received a MPH at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. During his MPH studies, Sheldwin designed and developed an epidemiologic case-control study titled “Understanding Lung Cancer Risk among Navajo Former Uranium Miners”. For his dissertation, Sheldwin designed and developed an indoor radon prediction model for homes on the Navajo Nation. For this project, he designed a survey questionnaire for homes, collected indoor radon measurements, and geospatially mapped homes on the Navajo Nation. 

Ursula Knoki-Wilson, CNM, MSN, MPH of the Navajo Nation, serves as Community Relations Liaison Officer for the Office of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Chinle Service Unit, NAIHS, Chinle, AZ. She has also served as Chief of Nurse Midwifery Service within the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility from March 1996 to March 2013.

Indigenous Fellowship Program

We are NOT currently accepting fellowship applications.

We are excited to announce the launch of our Indigenous Fellowship Program, a partnership between Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, University of Arizona-Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies, University of New Mexico - METALS Superfund Research Center, Oregon State University- Superfund Research Program, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology- Superfund Research Center. This collaborative effort is designed to support Indigenous scholars, researchers, and healthcare professionals who are dedicated to promoting environmental health in their communities. As a fellowship recipient, you will have the unique opportunity to participate in a fully-funded virtual workshop that offers intensive training, mentorship, and resources to enhance your research skills and contribute to the improvement of Indigenous environmental health. Collaborate with leading Indigenous environmental health experts, build valuable connections with like-minded individuals, and gain hands-on experience in building a collaborative research process. We encourage all Indigenous scholars, researchers, and healthcare professionals to apply for this prestigious fellowship and become a part of our community of passionate and dedicated environmental health advocates. Apply now for the Indigenous Fellowship Program and make a real difference in the health of Indigenous communities. 


Applicants must self-identify as Indigenous.

Career goals: Applicants should be able to demonstrate a commitment to promoting environmental health with Indigenous communities and have a clear plan for how they will use the knowledge and skills gained from the workshop to advance their career goals.

Leadership potential: Applicants should demonstrate leadership potential and a strong desire to contribute to their communities through research and advocacy.

Professional experience: Applicants with relevant professional experience in environmental health, public health, or a related field will be given preference.

Communication skills: Applicants must possess excellent communication skills and be able to effectively collaborate with peers and mentors in a virtual environment.

Availability: Applicants must be available to participate in the virtual workshop on the scheduled dates and times.

Please note that these criteria are only potential guidelines and may be subject to change based on the specific needs and goals of the fellowship program.


Summer 2025: The Indigenous Environmental Health Research Workshop is a livestream, remote training that takes place over live, online video. Please note this training is not a self-paced, pre-recorded online training.


"This workshop emphasized the importance of utilizing data and incorporating diverse perspectives, both from indigenous and non-indigenous sources, as crucial tools for effectively addressing the challenges faced by indigenous communities in the USA." - Academic staff member at University of Sao Paulo, 2023

"This workshop approached a very complex topic by welcoming a range of perspectives and creating a very open and respectful dialogue about Indigenous environmental health. I learned so much and also found a new group of people who I can reach out to and continue to learn from." - Faculty member at University of Illinois at Chicago, 2023

"This workshop provides a key foundation to utilizing indigenous knowledge in the environmental health. Concepts learned here can help improve the impact of community based environmental health projects." - Faculty member at Western Carolina University, 2023

"Very interesting talks and firsthand perspectives of doing research in indigenous communities. I enjoyed hearing a different point of view and insights into conducting research in these communities." - Staff member at NIEHS, 2023

Registration Fees

Thanks to the generous support from the Superfund programs from Columbia, MIT, Oregon State, the University of Arizona, and the University of New Mexico, registration fees have been substantially reduced. Fellowships are available for Indigenous attendees.

  Early-Bird Rate Regular Rate Columbia Discount*
Student/Postdoc/Trainee $275 $375 10%
Faculty/Academic Staff/Non-Profit Organizations $375 $475 10%
Corporate/For-Profit Organizations $575 $675 N/A


Cancellations: Cancellation notices must be received via email at least 30 days prior to the training start date in order to receive a full refund, minus a $75 administrative fee. Cancellation notices received via email 14-29 days prior to the training will receive a 75% refund, minus a $75 administrative fee. Please email your cancellation notice to Due to workshop capacity and preparation, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees for cancellations <14days prior to the training.  

If you are unable to attend the training, we encourage you to send a substitute within the same registration category. Please inform us of the substitute via email at least one week prior to the training to include them on attendee communications, updated registration forms, and materials. Should the substitute fall within a different registration category your credit card will be credited/charged respectively. Please email substitute inquiries to In the event Columbia must cancel the event, your registration fee will be fully refunded.


The Indigenous Enviornmental Health Workshop and the Indigenous Fellowship Program are made possible by the financial and institutional support provided by:

Additional Information

The Indigenous Environmental Health Research Workshop is hosted by Columbia University's SHARP Program at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Jump to:  OverviewAudience and RequirementsInstructors  |  Fellowship |  Locations   |  Testimonials  |  Registration Fees  |  Additional Information