UW Global Innovation grant awarded to iSchool's Lefthand-Begay

Clarita Lefthand-Begay

The University of Washington’s Global Innovation Fund (GIF) recently awarded iSchool Assistant Professor Clarita Lefthand-Begay seed funding for her research project, “A Cross Cultural Comparison of Water Insecurity Impacts on the Health and Culture of Indigenous Peoples: Water, Place, and Culture.” Lefthand-Begay will collaborate with researchers from the School of Social Work, the Intellectual House, and the UW EDGE Center.

According to her GIF application, the project will “examine the state of water quality, quantity and accessibility and how these factors influence the culture and health of three indigenous communities: two in the United States, and one in Nepal, a central Himalayan country in South Asia.”

Lefthand-Begay is a citizen of the Diné Nation and joined the iSchool in October 2016. She is an environmental health scientist who has spent her career working on water-security issues facing tribes. Her research shows that Indigenous peoples worldwide experience inadequate access to safe drinking water. It is believed that this situation impacts their health and way of life.

Through the GIF grant and matching funds, Lefthand-Begay expects to build a global network of indigenous peoples, researchers and scholars to focus on water security research. They will disseminate research findings through conferences, workshops and talking circles to influence policy and position the UW as a leader in water security research.

The Global Innovation Fund seeds initiatives and programs developing cross-college and cross-continent collaborations that enhance the University of Washington’s global reach. Awards provide initial funding for faculty research proposals, leading-edge student experiences, and collaborations aligned with the UW’s strategic initiatives and regional priorities.