Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben (Oglala Lakota) is a nationally recognized engineer in wastewater epidemiology. Dr. Conroy-Ben was working with Tribal communities to examine evidence of substance abuse in their wastewater when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and soon realized that her research could be applied to this crisis. She leads two federal grants, one from the National Science Foundation and one from the National Institutes of Health. One is aimed at analyzing wastewater infrastructure on reservations, while the other uses wastewater epidemiology to measure coronavirus levels in tribal communities where the pandemic has taken an outsized toll. She was also part of the team that created the Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Tribal Coordination Center, a network hub for collaboration among tribal leaders, wastewater engineers, and health administrators.

Learn more at The University of Arizona.