Denise Moreno Ramírez

Associate Producer & Main Character
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Toxicology and Zuckerman College of Public Health
Portrait of Denise Moreno Ramirez


Panel: Voices Unheard in Environmental Justice

Sunday, March 12, 4 p.m.

Surround Stage

PANEL: Voices Unheard in Environmental Justice
with Denise Moreno Ramírez, Sandra Westdahl and Elena Lopez

Watch the discussion on YOUTUBE:


In the early 1980s, high levels of a cancer-causing solvent called trichloroethylene, or TCE, were found in the groundwater in south Tucson. For decades, community members have fought to get the TCE plume cleaned up and now another contaminant of emerging concern, PFAS, poses a new threat to the groundwater.

Landmark Stories documents one University of Arizona researcher’s work to listen, share, and preserve the voices of a community fighting for environmental justice.

Join the producer, story animator, and researcher behind the environmental justice documentary for a sneak preview of the film and a discussion on the responsibility filmmakers and scientists have to work collaboratively with communities to amplify and empower unheard voices in science.

Landmark Stories is an award-winning documentary team placed within the national Experiment Station system, a federally supported effort to facilitate and disseminate scientific innovation. Their films help bring science and its impact on communities to broader audiences.


Denise Moreno Ramírez is a next generation interdisciplinary scientist and a community-engaged researcher who has worked in Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico for 20 years to address environmental justice issues.

Denise is a Mexican Indigenous Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Toxicology and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at The University of Arizona (UA). Her research focuses on understanding how volatile organic compounds interact in workplace air and impact low-wage, minority workers in small business beauty salons and auto shops in Tucson, Arizona. In this training position, she focuses on strengthening and expanding her skills in exposure science, biostatistical modeling, and qualitative methods. 

Overall, she wants to disrupt the traditional notion of who has the privilege to implement projects in environmental justice communities. Before this position, Denise obtained her Ph.D. from the UA Department of Environmental Science and the School of Anthropology. She implemented a community-engaged oral history project where she preserved the personal histories of 22 individuals living and working near two Superfund sites in Arizona. Her project culminated in the digital archive, Voices Unheard: Arizona’s Environmental History. 

She is currently an Agents of Change in Environmental Justice fellow and a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences T32 Postdoctoral fellow and was a 2016-2020 Superfund Research Center Trainee.