Partnering to Improve Native American Health
Jani Ingram: PhD
Professor of Analytical Chemistry
College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences
Professor Jani Ingram strives to find solutions to cancer disparities among Native Americans while teaching the next generation of researchers who can, in turn, boost the health of their home communities.
A tribal member herself, Ingram’s research addresses how environmental exposure of uranium on Navajo communities affects drinking water, plants, soil, and livestock, and thus, how uranium may work as a carcinogen.
Ingram’s research team, which includes many of her students, have sampled wells and conducted surveys to determine how residents are using the water. The concern that uranium is present in the drinking water has prompted tribal members to ask the researchers if their own wells may be included in the study. The combination of water quality data and usage patterns helps the team of researchers advise tribal members on how to minimize their exposure to uranium.
“We have hard numbers now to help us identify how to find a better water situation for people in the reservation communities,” Ingram says. She and her students share their results via door-to-door visits on the reservation, and in public meetings at the chapter houses.
Ingram’s commitment to the Navajo community and Northern Arizona University stems from her passion for teaching and for helping students. She is involved in campus life and serves as the faculty adviser for the Baptist Student Ministries.
Receiving the Outstanding Faculty Award for her support of Native American students at Northern Arizona University in 2005, Ingram enjoys the opportunity to work with Native American students. “There is a lot of passion in these students,” Ingram says. She continues to work closely with the Navajo Nation in several research projects and presentations.