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Alumni: Where Are They Now

The Center for Global Safe WASH is always interested in the career success of our WASH graduate students at the Rollins School of Public Health.

In this section, we highlight the career activities and accomplishments of a few of our many students who either concentrated on WASH or earned a Graduate Certificate in WASH over the past several years.  So…where are they now??


Aniruddha Deshpande, MPH

RSPH Department and Year: Global Epidemiology, 2016
CGSW Mentor/Advisor: Karen Levy
MPH Thesis: Heavy Rainfall Events and Diarrheal Diseases: The Role of Urban/Rural Geography

Where is he now? Research scientist, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington

Aniruddha (Ani) Deshpande, MPH, is a research scientist on the Local Burden of Disease project at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. His research focuses on mapping access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) using model-based geostatistics. Previously he has completed work on emerging infectious diseases with pandemic potential and understanding the impact of rainfall on diarrheal diseases in urban versus rural settings. Aniruddha received his MPH in Global Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and a BS in Biology and Philosophy at Emory University. He has previously worked at the Global Immunization Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (CGSW) at Emory University. His research interests include WASH, climate change, infectious disease modeling, epidemiological methods, spatial statistics, and impact evaluation.

The WASH certificate program introduced me to the fascinating interactions between the environment and infectious diseases. Through classes with Dr. Christine Moe and Dr. Karen Levy, I was able to solidify my knowledge in waterborne disease epidemiology but also expand my skills to tackle a wide variety of research questions. The certificate program encouraged me to explore classes in quantitative methods beyond the core MPH requirement which allowed me to gain experience in spatial analysis and survey design — skills critical for my current role. Due to the strong WASH focused research network present at Emory, I have developed subject-matter expertise and a strong personal research interest in water and health.”

Conner Wingerter, MPH

RSPH Department and Year: Global Health, 2017
CGSW Mentor/Advisor: Joanne McGriff
MPH Thesis: The State of Sanitation in Humanitarian Emergencies: A Systematic Review of Global WASH Cluster Needs Assessments

Where is he now? WASH Project Manager—Beni, Nord Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Medair

Conner manages Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) projects in conflict-affected areas of DR Congo’s Nord Kivu Province. The projects primarily intervene in health facilities to reduce nosocomial infections through the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure at health facilities, medical waste management, and hygiene training and supervision for nurses and hygienists. With the recent and ongoing Ebola outbreak in Nord Kivu, the scope of Conner’s work with Medair has grown to include emergency WASH projects for the prevention of Ebola in communities and schools, as well as supporting health facilities to safely isolate suspected Ebola cases and disinfect isolation areas following contact with a suspected Ebola case.

(photo copyright: © Medair / Pete Harrison)


Em Maier

Em Maier, BS, B.Phil, MPH

RSPH Department and Year: Global Epidemiology, 2016
CGSW Mentor/Advisor: Julie Clennon
MPH Thesis: HIV Community-Based Organizations’ Readiness and Self-Perceptions Regarding Their Role in PrEP Implementation

Where is she now? Epidemiologist at Macomb County Health Department

I work as the sole epidemiologist for the county just northeast of Detroit, as part of a Health Planning team. As the only data analyst and epidemiologist here, I’m responsible for health surveillance, data management and analysis. This ranges from outbreak investigations to creating and leading a multi-pronged opiate strategy, which encompasses building a surveillance system, community engagement, and prescriber education. As part of the Health Planning team, I work on cross-cutting projects for the department: developing a performance management dashboard, overseeing research projects and policies, coordinating state and national accreditation, and providing monitoring and evaluation assistance to grants. I also work on spatial analysis for the department, both for longitudinal reports, as well as creating interactive storymaps or data visualizations for specific programs or events. During my time here, I also contribute to two local public health organizations: the Southeastern Michigan Epidemiology Committee meetings, and serving as the President for the Michigan Public Health Association Epidemiology Section, which provides mentorship, professional development, and an annual scientific conference.


Bethany Caruso

Bethany A. Caruso, PhD, MPH

RSPH department and year:  Global Health, 2009 (MPH) Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, 2015 (PhD)
CGSW Mentor/Advisor: Juan Leon, Thesis Advisor
MPH Thesis:  “Maternal behavior and experience, care access, and agency as determinants of child diarrhea in Bolivia”
PhD Dissertation: “Sanitation Insecurity:Definition, Measurement, and Associations with Women’s Mental Health in Rural Orissa, India” (Hannah Cooper, PhD Dissertation Advisor) Committee Members: Thomas Clasen, Craig Hadley, Kathryn Yount, Regine Haardoerfer)

Where is she now?   Bethany Caruso is a FIRST (Fellowship in Research and Science Teaching) post-doctoral fellow in the Environmental Health Department. She is interested in how gender influences physical, mental and social health outcomes in the face of compromised water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) environments. Dr. Caruso’s doctoral research explored how women’s urination, defecation and menstruation experiences impact their health and well being in rural Orissa India. Using mixed methods approaches, her research explored women’s experiences of sanitation in order to understand these as potential exposures to negative mental health outcomes.

In addition to her doctoral work, Dr. Caruso has led or supported research in over 20 countries investigating how girls’ experiences managing menstruation at schools with poor WASH and social environments impact their health and education. One research effort she led in partnership with UNICEF to understand girls’ experiences in rural Cochabamba, Bolivia was named among the ‘Best of UNICEF Research’ by the UNICEF office of Research for 2014. A total of twelve research projects were recognized by external reviewers for “cutting-edge research that proves instrumental in advancing children’s rights.” This research was part of a larger research program that she designed and led from 2012-2013, which also included the Philippines, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. In 2014, Dr. Caruso entered into a follow-up partnership with UNICEF which aimed to expand global understanding of girls’ menstruation-related experiences in school and strengthen local capacity to carry out such research independently. To achieve this, Dr. Caruso designed and facilitated an online course to teach 14 UNICEF country offices and their collaborators (local research institutes, ministries of health and education, practitioners) what is known abut the topic and what gaps remain, basic qualitative research methods, tool development, ethical considerations when carrying out research with minors, how to train a field team, data collection and management, and basic analysis.  The partnership was extended through the first half of this year so Dr. Caruso and her research could team continue to support research activities of partner countries.  You can access Dr. Caruso’s publications here.

Gouthami Rao

Gouthami G. Rao, MPH

RSPH department and year:  Environmental Health, 2013
CGSW Mentor/Advisor: Karen Levy, PhD, Thesis Advisors
WASH Thesis:  In northern coastal Ecuador many communities rely on untreated surface water as their primary source of drinking water. We undertook a study to explore how microscale river hydrodynamics affect microbial water quality (specifically investigating E. coli concentrations) at community water collection locations on three rivers with varying stream velocity and turbidity profiles

Where is she now? Environmental Microbiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Since I was interested in WASH as an undergraduate at Emory, having the opportunity to work with WASH-focused faculty at Rollins School of Public Health was a great career-building experience. On several occasions I’ve received advice and support from staff and faculty on the direction of my WASH career, and till this day I’ve never been driven astray. Sometimes mentors know what’s best for you even when you don’t fully realize it yourself. It’s a valuable perspective to have. Taking WASH courses and receiving WASH training also enhanced my interest in pursuing a PhD in Environmental Health or Epidemiology.

Jacqui Hurd

Jacqueline Hurd, MPH

RSPH department and year:  Global Health, 2014
CGSW Mentor/Advisor: Monique Hennink and Christine Moe, Thesis Advisors
WASH Thesis:  “Pervasive Exposure to Fecal Contamination in Low-Income Neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana”

Where is she now? – Surveillance Epidemiologist, Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The WASH classes and CGSW faculty gave me the opportunity to discover my WASH expertise and interests. Furthermore, the Graduate Certificate in WASH prepared me to work at the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch with the essential tools I need to carry out Shigella surveillance.

Ledor Igboh

Ledor Igboh, MPH

RSPH department and year:  Global Environmental Health, 2014
CGSW Mentor/Advisor: Christine Moe, Thesis Advisor
WASH Thesis:  “Evaluation of the Sustainability and Impact on Water Quality of Decentralized Water Treatment Systems Installed by the General Electric (GE) Foundation in Six Government-run Hospitals in Ghana”

Where is she now? Global Program Management and Operations Fellow, Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Namibia / The Association of School and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)

Under the instruction and guidance of world-class professors like Dr. Christine Moe and other CGSW staff, I received exceptional training in WASH – related laboratory methods, recognizing and understanding of policies that shape the WASH landscape and the importance of using data for decision-making.  In addition, my WASH training prepared me to be able to identify leading etiological agents and their biological properties affecting disease transmission. I have also been trained to understand how waterborne disease surveillance systems operate, how the data from these systems are used, and identify strategies and health infrastructures for the control of waterborne diseases. Getting the self-guided Graduate Certificate in WASH sharpened my keen interest in the research, technical and operational aspects of public health, particularly in the area of WASH interventions.  My research experiences and training will ultimately allow me to apply the technical skills gained to my current position with the Division of Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Windhoek, Namibia – alongside other environmental health/public health professionals in the field.

Kate Robb

Katharine Robb, MPH

RSPH department and year:  Global Environmental Health, 2011
CGSW Mentor/Advisor: Karen Levy, Thesis Advisor
WASH Thesis:  ““Influences of Household Storage on E. Coli Concentrations in Drinking Water in Northern Coastal Ecuador”

Where is she now? – After graduating with my MPH, I served as a Public Health Program Associate and then Associate Director of Research Projects for 5 years at the Center for Global Safe WASH at Emory University.  In July 2016, I began my Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

My work and interest in WASH began as an internship on CARE’s Water Team during the first semester of my MPH.  Over my first year at Emory, my interest in WASH deepened as I learned about the variety of interdisciplinary approaches that are taken to address WASH issues – and how these approaches connected to the experience base I had and to the one I wanted to develop.   I believe that addressing the most pressing environmental health issues requires an interdisciplinary mindset.  My experience studying WASH at Emory—through coursework, internships and field experiences—exposed me to experts across disciplines applying their talents and knowledge toward evidence-based and sustainable WASH solutions.   In my staff position at Emory, I constantly found myself applying the skills and principles I learned throughout my MPH experience.  Through pursuit of my DrPH, I aim to further develop and expand these skills and complement them with leadership and management training.



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