“Ethnically diverse populations are disproportionately exposed to hazardous environmental materials by virtue of living in close proximity to contaminated areas. Specifically, one-half of the uranium (U) in the United States is found on American Indian (AI) lands where mining, milling, processing, and waste storage commonly occurs.” 

Christine Samuel-Nakamura worked for multiple years in several Indian Health Service (IHS) and tribal hospitals/clinics as a nationally board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). A portion of her clinical work focused on chronic health conditions such as diabetes, renal failure, autoimmune disorders, and cancer. Her clinical work with these chronic health conditions led her to contemplate whether there is a connection between these chronic conditions and the community environment. These hypotheses ultimately led to her research question and work examining environmental contamination from U and other heavy metals. Dr. Samuel-Nakamura received her doctorate from UCLA and her dissertation study focused on U and associated heavy metals in the food chain on the Diné (Navajo) reservation. Her postdoctoral work examined U and heavy metals in a common AI herbal tea plant. Before joining the UCLA SON, Dr. Samuel-Nakamura was a Lecturer in the UCLA Interdepartmental Program in American Indian Studies (IDP-AIS). She is a member of the Diné Nation.

Areas of Scholarly Expertise and Interest

Community environmental health research, heavy metal contamination, AI health, behavioral health, healthcare, and research.

Faculty Experience and Clinical Research

Faculty: AIS, AI Healthcare, AI Research and Ethics, Environmental Research.

Clinical:  Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, Diabetes, Rural Healthcare, Tribal Health and Healthcare, Student Health.


N209 Diversity in Health (S15)

AIS 168/268 Healthcare for American Indians (F15)

AIS 187/201 Health and the Environment in American Indian Communities (W16, W17)

AIS 187/201 Health Related Research-Methods and Ethics (S16, F16)

Professional Activities

03/2015-present          Western Institute of Nursing

11/2007-present          California Association for Nurse Practitioners

04/1999-present          Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society

05/1997-present          Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society


University of New Mexico, BSN

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), FNP, Neuropsychiatry subspecialty, MSN


UCLA, Postdoctoral Fellowship

Honors & Awards

2015Nominee UCLA Chancellor's Award for Postdoctoral Research

2014Outstanding Student Award, 25th Annual Native Health Research Conference

2014Native Research Network, Inc. F31 Grant Award NIH NINR/NIEHS

2012-2014Uranium in food grown in an American Indian community. T42 UCLA National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Trainee Southern California Education Research Center (SCERC)

2012-2013Uranium in food grown in an American Indian community, UCLA Institute of American Cultures (IAC) Grant

2011-2013Uranium in food grown in an American Indian community. Office of the Navajo Nation Scholarship & Financial Assistance Dissertation, Navajo Nation Grant recipient

2008-2010Scholarship Recipient


Samuel-Nakamura, C., Robbins, W., & Hodge, F. (2017). Uranium and associated heavy metals in Ovis Aries in a mining impacted area in northwestern New Mexico.   International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(8), 848. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14080848.

Samuel-Nakamura, C., Leads, P., Cobbs, S., Nguyen Truax., F., & Hodge, F. (2017).  Environmental contexts of vulnerable populations:  Implications for nursing practice, research and education.  Californian Journal of Health Promotion 15(2), 75-78..

Samuel-Nakamura, C., Hodge, F. S., Valentine, J. L., & Robbins, W. (2017). Heavy metal contamination in Thelesperma megapotamicum. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences, 9(3), 14-22.

Samuel-Nakamura, C., & Hodge, F. S. (2016). Modifiable and Non-Modifiable Factors Associated with HPV Vaccine Decision-Making among American Indian Women College Students. American Indian Culture & Research Journal40(4), 71-81.

Hodge F.S., Itty T., Cardoza B., Samuel-Nakamura C. (2011). Disparities in HPV vaccine readiness among American Indian college students: Factors influencing HPV Vaccine Decision-making. Ethnicity & Disease21(4), 415-420.