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Faculty Research in Action

Championing for Clean Water

Christine Moe, director of the Emory Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene at Rollins and Eugene J. Gangarosa Professor of Safe Water, is committed to improving developing nations’ access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

Among Moe’s various projects is an innovative program she is working on in Bolivia that develops low-cost sanitation models, generates demand for sanitation in local communities, and establishes small businesses to provide improved sanitation services. This program won the 2006 World Bank Development Marketplace Global Competition.

Moe’s research is critical. Almost half of the world’s population—2.4 billion people—lack safe water. Of those, up to 3 million die each year, including 6,000 children daily, as a result of inadequate sanitation, insufficient hygiene, and contaminated food and water. Moe says public health leaders must give greater attention to proper methods for the disposal of human waste. “It’s a matter of health, but also a matter of human dignity.”

Defeating Diabetes

Epidemiologist K.M. Venkat Narayan is using his expertise to fight diabetes on a global scale. He teaches epidemiology at Rollins and serves as an adjunct professor at Emory’s school of medicine. A strong believer in collaboration, Narayan is part of the team leading the work being done by the Global Diabetes Research Center—a combined effort between Rollins and the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation.

Among the center’s efforts are conductiong a national representative survey study of 100,000 people to help explain regional differences in diabetes and a study of metabolic differences in pregnant women and how those differences may affect their children, both in India and in the United States. Narayan and researchers are also looking to prevent and treat diabetes through lifestyle intervention (including efforts here in Atlanta) and are taking a particularly close look at the South Asian population, both in and outside of the U.S.    

Diabetes is a major public health threat. In the United States alone, 21 million people suffer from the disease. And according to CDC estimates, that number will rise to 48 million by 2050.

"Whatever we do," says Narayan, "the fruits of our research have to be available to people everywhere."