Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

Basic sanitation facilities, clean water supplies, and hygienic behaviors are foundations of public health. Hundreds of millions still lack basic access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), which is responsible for diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, soil-transmitted helminth infections, trachoma, schistosomiasis, and poor growth and nutrition. Diarrheal diseases are one of the leading causes of under-five mortality in the world and WASH insecurity disproportionately impacts the urban and rural poor, as well as women and girls.

Emory is a global leader in the field of WASH. Faculty in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health have substantial expertise in environmental reservoirs and transmission pathways of water- and soil-borne pathogens, and development and evaluation of interventions to improve WASH conditions. The Rollins School of Public Health is home to the Center for Global Safe WASH (CGSW), founded in 2004 through the support and generosity of Dr. Eugene J. and Rose Gangarosa. Emory is also a founding member of the Atlanta Consortium for Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, a group of academic (Emory, Georgia Institute of Technology), non-profit (CARE USA, Carter Center), and government (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) partners with a significant history of collaboration on major projects and WASH research.

Students at Rollins have many opportunities to pursue WASH-related research and practicum projects outside the classroom by working with faculty and partner organizations to implement, maintain, and evaluated WASH-related programs in both domestic and international contexts. They can apply myriad methodological disciplines and methods, including infectious disease and spatial epidemiology, implementation science, risk assessment, behavioral science, quantitative and qualitative methods, impact evaluation, and microbiology. Emory is the only School of Public Health to offer a Certificate in WASH studies, a rigorous, self-guided certificate program that aims to increase the competitiveness of RSPH students for WASH-related careers.

Examples of departmental research on WASH:

  • Measuring the Impact of WASH in Schools (WinS) in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  • Assessing the health impact of water filters and improved cook stoves on diarrhea in Western Province, Rwanda

  • Evaluation of Salmonella in Produce Irrigation Source Water in Southern Georgia
  • Examining the climate drivers of diarrheal diseases in Ecuador and China

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Faculty and Research Interests

Tom Clasen, PhD, JD, Professor and Rose Salamone Gangarosa Chair, Sanitation and Safe Water Evaluation, global health, health outcomes, infectious disease, safe water, sanitation

Matt Freeman, PhD, Professor
Uptake and adoption, sustainability, and health impacts of water, sanitation, hygiene behaviors and technologies

Maya Nadimpalli, PhD, Assistant Professor
Antibiotic resistance, community based research, food safety, safe water, sanitation and hygeine, surveillance, vector-borne/zoonotic diseases

Marlene Wolfe, PhD, Assistant Professor
Environmental microbioligy and epidemiology, sustainability, low-resource communities, population health, evaluation

Robert Breiman, MD (Global Health)

Bethany Caruso, PhD (Global Health)

Juan Leon, PhD (Global Health)

Christine Moe, PhD (Global Health)

Lance Waller, PhD (Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Joe Brown, PhD (Georgia Tech, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Vincent Hill, PhD (CDC)

Flemming Konradsen, PhD (University of Copenhagen)

Mia Mattiolo, PhD (CDC)

Justin Remais, PhD (University of California, Berkeley)

Jonathan Yoder, MPH (CDC)

Graduate Certification in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: http://www.sph.emory.edu/wash/

EH 548 Research Methods for Studies of Water & Health Spring
EH 549 Critical Analysis of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Research Fall
EH 582/GH 582 Global Climate Change: Health Impacts & Response Fall
EH 571 Global Environmental Health Policy: Power, Science and Justice Spring
EH 590R Design, Delivery, and Assessment of WASH in School Programs Spring
EHS 750 Environmental Determinants of Infectious Diseases Spring
GH 516 Global Perspectives in Parasitic Diseases Fall
GH 529 Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries Fall
GH 580 Environmental Microbiology: Control of Food and Waterborne Diseases Spring
CE 4110 Water Quality Engineering*
GH 560 Monitoring and Evaluation of Global Health Programs Fall
CEE 4803* Environmental Technology in the Developing World Spring

*Courses available at Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Civil Engineering

Claire, Gursharan - "Feminine hygiene products: A possible source of phthalate exposure among pregnant African American women in Atlanta, GA." Advisor: Dana Barr

Head, Jennifer - “Plausibility evaluation of integrated WASH, health, and nutrition programming on childhood growth and maternal and child illness in Oromia, Ethiopia.” Advisor: Matt Freeman

Nath, Sereineat - "Assessing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Infrastructures and Practices among Healthcare Workers in Maternal and Neonatal Wards of Six Rural Health Centers, Cambodia." Advisor: Barry Ryan

Pennings, Breanna - "Household Determinants of Environmental Contamination in Northern Coastal Ecuador." Advisor: Karen Levy

Persons, Maggie - “Assessing the influence of social capital on water point sustainability in Rural Ethiopia.” Advisor: Matt Freeman

Pittluck, Rachel - "Factors influencing the implementation and adoption of water and sanitation interventions in urban slums in lowand middle income countries." Advisor: Tom Clasen

Prentice-Mott, Graeme - "Effect of various WASH indicators on prevalence of soil transmitted helminths in Kenyan students in schools participating in national de-worming project." Advisor: Tom Clasen

Thompson, Alesha - "Unregulated Heavy Metals in United States Public Water Systems: An Assessment of Contaminant Co-Occurrences and Health Health Risk." Advisor: Matthew Gribble

Twumasi, Abena - "We had to bring the water in pain": Water and sanitation challenges among pregnant and postpartum women in Odisha, India." Advisor: Matthew Freeman

Electronic Theses and Dissertations 

Khan, Azmeh - "Equity of WASH provision in the Kabarole District of Uganda."

Kieger, Claire - "An Assessment of Inadvertent Heavy Metal Exposure through Hand Hygiene Practices in Industrial Workers."

Mahtani, Amrita - "Assessing the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) of Sanitation Practitioners on the Sanitation and Hygiene Needs of Women and Girls in Rural Cambodia."

Still, Claire - "Gender Equity in water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions."

Templin, Lindsay - “Factors Impacting Uptake and Utilization of Klorfasil in Thomassique, Haiti, and Recommendations for the Development of a New Program Model.”

Center for Global Safe Water (Atlanta, Georgia): Conduct an analysis of data received from the Clean Greens III farm worker hand hygiene intervention project. Determine whether hand washing or SaniTwice hygiene interventions significantly reduced the level of fecal contamination on farm worker hands, and whether this reduction is sustained after hand harvesting three 5-gallon buckets of jalapeño peppers from the field.

Sankat Mochan Foundation (Varanasi, India): Conduct water quality testing on Ganges River using the IDEXX System for Coliform and E. coli. Advocate for environmentally sustainable and culturally appropriate waste water treatment for the city of Varanasi.

Water for People (Blantyre, Malawi): Increase dialogue in the partnership between the Hygiene Village Project and Water for People - Malawi. Enhance Water for People - Malawi's understanding of the sanitation needs, situation, and perceptions in Blantyre. Improve community involvement in Water for People's and its partners' water and sanitation programs in Blantyre, Malawi.

World Health Organization (Manila, Philippines): Administer hand hygiene practice and knowledge surveys to all available clinical and support staff during rural hospital site visits. Complete 20 sanitation facility observational checklists to quantify the quality of the facilities at each of the 20 rural hospitals in rural Mongolia. Offer detailed and constructive recommendations as well as outlining specific modifications that can be made to improve the health outcomes and facilities in rural hospitals in Mongolia.

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Waterborne Epidemiologist Fellow: Develop materials for public education on waterborne diseases at the Indiana State Department of Health. Investigate outbreaks and work on a statewide and interagency cooperative surveillance project on harmful algal blooms.

Emory University, Public Health Program Associate: Manage two international research projects on water and sanitation in developing countries. Duties involve field data collection (environmental sampling and surveys), logistics, study design, analysis and reporting.