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By Karen Levy
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Excerpted from Rollins Magazine – Spring 2022 Issue:
Where are the women?
Dr. Sheela Sinharoy 17G asked herself that in October 2016 at her first water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conference in Chapel Hill, N.C. She felt out of place, which never happened within her field of nutrition and health sciences.
At the coffee table between sessions, Sinharoy looked for someone who looked like her. “I personally feel safer going up to a woman, and I realized that I had to actively look for a woman to talk to,” recalls the assistant professor of global health. “I never would have had to do that at a nutrition conference.” And she needed to look no further than the conference presentations to see that women and girls were left out of most WASH research.
Her experience reflected the historical disconnect in WASH research: the people doing it don’t look like the biggest stakeholders. WASH research began in engineering, when that field was dominated by men. Their studies and interventions often missed or neglected women’s concerns—and those are significant, given that women and girls worldwide are doing the washing, cleaning, caring for children, and preparing food. Each day worldwide UNICEF estimates women and girls spend 200 million hours collecting water. In some countries, women and girls experience restrictions on where and when they can defecate.
Rollins is addressing those concerns. Sinharoy is among seven female core faculty researchers at the only academic WASH center headed by a woman. They are teaching and leading research that centers women and gender in solving persistent issues of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. Many are balancing their careers with raising their own children, deepening their connection to families around the world, including those who struggle to secure safe water and sanitation.
Habib Yakubu is talented at straddling divides. That make him valuable in the fight against pandemics.
Though raised a Muslim, he attended a Christian school. Growing up in a low-income community without running water, he went on to study in Ghana, the United Kingdom and the U.S., earning his Master of Science in Public Health in Environmental Science and Engineering. He has led trainings and research in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, spearheaded advocacy efforts in his home country of Ghana, and simultaneously worked in low-income urban communities globally.
Currently the Associate Director of Research Projects at (CGSW) Emory University in Atlanta, Yakubu has recently used his 20-plus years of experience to unite community members and government leaders in health and the environment on a mission to track SARS-CoV-2 in sewage.
To read more click HERE
Assistant professor, Bethany Caruso, PhD, MPH, was among the speakers at a virtual event hosted by the journal Nature Water as part of the “Nature Water Talks” event series. Caruso will specifically speak to the ways in which water scarcity permeates women’s and girls’ lives. View Here.
A new Rollins-led review article published in PLOS Water is the most comprehensive synthesis to date of current evidence on water and sanitation and women’s and girls’ empowerment. Bethany A. Caruso, PhD, MPH, was lead author on the article, which was entirely Emory authored.
With women carrying much of the burden for WASH-related activities at a global scale, investigating the ways in which women’s and girls’ empowerment is impacted by WASH programing is critical in developing effective public health initiatives.
“Effective WASH programming could engage women to understand their needs and support them with the resources and agency to improve their circumstances,” says Caruso. “Yet, this review illuminates how poor water and sanitation conditions have resulted in myriad negative impacts on women, which continue to remain unaddressed. Women risk physical and sexual violence, experience illness and injury, compromise their mental wellbeing, limit hygiene and food and water intake, and suppress sanitation and menstrual hygiene needs because of inadequate WASH.”
To read more
A team of Emory researchers is partnering with Ceres Nanosciences on a $3 million project supported by a grant to Ceres from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to test wastewater for SARS-CoV-2.
The study will focus on underserved and vulnerable populations around the Atlanta community where the burden of COVID-19 may be under-recognized.
Using the Nanotrap® technology from Ceres Nanosciences (Ceres), a company based in Virginia that makes products to improve diagnostic testing, the Emory team will capture and concentrate the SARS-CoV-2 virus directly from sewage.
This allows rapid detection of the virus and can enable researchers to quickly inform municipal and public health authorities of the presence of the virus in specific geographic areas and trends in virus concentration that reflect trends in COVID-19 cases.
“The collaboration between Ceres and Emory will generate robust evidence to support the CDC’s objective of developing a national wastewater surveillance system to give city, county and state decision makers important temporal and spatial information on COVID-19 cases in underserved communities,” says Christine Moe, PhD, Eugene J. Gangarosa Chair in Safe Water and Sanitation at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.
As principal investigator, Moe will be responsible for study design and implementation and will head the engagement with public health and community leaders.
Moe and Pengbo Liu, PhD, also in the Rollins School of Public Health, will co-lead the wastewater detection efforts. This study builds on their previous wastewater surveillance research on typhoid fever in Kolkata, India, COVID-19 in Accra, Ghana, COVID-19 on Emory University campuses, and an ongoing collaboration with the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management.
“We are excited to be partnering with Emory on this cutting-edge study. The Department of Watershed Management has played a large role in identifying sites, mapping sample locations, and collecting samples that allow for this joint partnership to progress,” stated Commissioner Mikita Browning.
“Through this testing, we have the opportunity to focus resources on public outreach, such as locations for rapid testing, vaccine availability, and transportation for those in underserved communities within the City of Atlanta.”
From Emory University, Leda Bassit, PhD, will serve as co-principal investigator and lead for the SARS-CoV-2 infectivity studies in wastewater and fecal specimens from COVID-19 cases.
The multidisciplinary team includes researchers from Emory’s School of Medicine, including Raymond Schinazi, Anuradha Rao, Steven Bosinger, Nadine Rouphael and Colleen Kraft, as well as researchers from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, including Anne Spaulding, Lance Waller and Yuke Wang.
This project has been funded in part by the NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxSM) initiative with federal funds from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. 75N92021C00012.
The Gangarosa family recently made a gift to AUB to establish the Gangarosa Family Endowed Chair for Safe Water and Sanitation. “All of us at AUB are deeply grateful to the Gangarosa family for this extraordinary gift that will support ongoing and critically important efforts at FHS to address issues related to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in the Global South, focusing especially on the needs of the Arab world,” said President Fadlo Khuri. The Gangarosa Chair at FHS will work closely with Dr. Christine Moe, the Eugene J. Gangarosa Professor of Safe Water and Sanitation and the director of the Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene at Emory University. “Gene and Rose Gangarosa have amazing vision, persistence, and generosity. They have planted ‘WASH seeds’ at several academic institutions which will grow and strengthen public health capacity in WASH research, training, and problem-solving for decades. We look forward to building our ties with AUB and FHS to tackle WASH challenges in the Middle East and the Global South,” said Moe. Gangarosa hopes that the Gangarosa Chair at AUB will lead eventually to the establishment of a WASH Center at AUB – and that it and the WASH Center at Emory University will be part of a network of WASH centers around the world helping to make “our global village a better place.
For more on this story, click here
Tools to support climate-smart sanitation decision-making for the urban poor
Wednesday, Aug. 26 2020
New tools enable tracking of waterborne pathogens through the sanitation chain, mapping of emissions, fecal exposure assessment, and examination of climate-resilient infrastructure. Users can run scenarios to visualize pathogen loading, allowing engineers and planners to examine the impact of infrastructure interventions and control measures on exposure and disease.
Station 2: SaniPath (Emory University). SaniPath identifies high-risk pathways of exposure to fecal contamination in the urban environment based on behavioral and environmental microbiology data collection.
Direct Link to join: https://msu.zoom.us/j/99627895611 ; Meeting ID: 996 2789 5611; Passcode: 759211
Salinity in drinking water: Good or bad for nutrition and health?
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 1
WASAG: Actions for Water and Nutrition Security
Claudia Ringler (IFPRI, WLE & WASAG): Introduction to the session
Jennie Barron (SLU & WASAG)/ WASAG Working Group on Water and Nutrition: The Why and the What!
Claire Chase (World Bank) Guidance on nutrition-sensitive irrigation and water resources development
Abu Mohammed Naser Titu (Emory University): Salinity in drinking water: Good or bad for nutrition and health?
Vivienne Nakakinda Wabwile (Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda) – Discussant – Q&A
Dr. Bethany Caruso was recently appointed Assistant Professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health. She received her BA from Wesleyan University, and completed her MPH in Global Health and PhD in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) at Emory University. From 2016-2019, Dr. Caruso received funding from the National Institutes of Public Health to complete a postdoc in the Environmental Health Department at RSPH, specifically as part of the Fellowship in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST) Program.
Dr. Caruso is a social and behavioral scientist with over a decade of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sectoral research experience in low and middle income settings. She employs mixed methods approaches to understand how compromised WASH conditions impact physical and mental health, behavior, education, and empowerment, with a specific focus on girls and women throughout their life course. Her work includes application of qualitative methods, measurement development, hierarchical modeling approaches, theory-based intervention design, and impact and process evaluation. Her work emphasizes translation to policy and practice through public scholarship and engagement with policy-makers. She has carried out fieldwork in Kenya, India, Bangladesh, and Bolivia, and has supported research in over a dozen additional countries.
Please see Dr. Caruso’s Google Scholar page for current publications.
The Sanitation Challenge for Ghana challenges Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies in Ghana to team up with their citizens, innovators and solvers to design and implement liquid waste management strategies to transform the livelihoods of Ghana’s urban centers. The most innovative prize of the private sector/non-state actor went to SaniPath for the innovative data collection and analysis tool being used by Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly with support from TREND/Emory CGSW to build capacity of Municipal Environmental Health and Planning Officers to systematically collect data to inform sanitation planning and investment. The award prize for SaniPath was $10,000. Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly won the 1st prize of 400,000 UK pounds in Municipal/Metropolitan category.
A few days ago, I, along with thousands of other Atlanta residents, was told that my water is not safe to drink. The Atlanta Department of Watershed issued a citywide boil water advisory due to a malfunction in the Hemphill Water Treatment plant.
Suddenly the rest of the city was joining me in thinking about their access to safe water, which is how I spend my days as an associate professor of environmental health at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. Usually my focus is on conditions in the developing world, but this time the concerns were in my backyard.
Unfortunately, after the boil water advisory is lifted, many people will have lost faith in their tap water, and will continue to purchase bottled water indefinitely. This has far-reaching consequences.
While counterintuitive, and probably not your first thought when we are under a citywide boil water advisory, buying bottled water will in fact reduce our collective access to safe water.
There are several reasons for this ………read more
Karen Levy, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.
Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS), an approach to urban sanitation that involves collaboration among many actors to ensure that everyone benefits from adequate sanitation service delivery outcomes. CWIS aims to help cities develop comprehensive approaches to sanitation improvement that encompass long-term planning, technical innovation, institutional reforms, and financial mobilization.
The concept of CWIS has been gaining traction among development practitioners. At World Water Week 2018 in Stockholm, the World Bank and other partners released an official Call to Action for all stakeholders to “embrace a radical shift in urban sanitation practices deemed necessary to achieve citywide inclusive sanitation.” This issue of Currents was compiled with help from the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Click here to view the CWIS Workshop Video.
To view 2018-2019 Seminars click HERE
The 2018-2019 CGSW Seminar Series kicked-off with a lecture co-sponsored by the Environmental Health Department. Dr. Diego Ramirez-Lovering of Monash University in Australia discussed his research which examines the contributory role that architecture and urbanism can play in addressing the significant challenges facing contemporary urban environments -climate change, resource limitations and rapid population growth with a key focus on the Global South. ” Alternative Interventions: Revitalizing Informal Settlements and Their Environments (RISE)” Revitalizing Informal Settlements and Their Environments (RISE) is an action-research program working at the intersections of health, environment, and water and sanitation. RISE is trialing a new water sensitive approach to water and sanitation management in 24 informal settlements across Makassar, Indonesia and Suva, Fiji.
Dr. Christopher Sistrunk from City of Hope, Beckman Research Institute entitled Safe to Drink: How Drinking Water in the US can be Hazardous to Your Health. This presentation gave a glimpse into how drinking water deemed safe to drink by the US EPA, may actually lead to chronic illnesses through changes in epigenetics. This lecture will be available on our seminar series page at the end of the year.
On October 5, 2018, Dr. Christoper Manganiello and Jessica Sterling of the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper return to discuss the Supreme Court verdict on the transboundary “water wars” between Georgia, Alabama and Florida. The lecture will be held in the Claudia Nance Rollins Building, Room 1000 from 12-1 pm.
For World Toilet Day 2018, Emory’s own SANIPATH team of researchers will present their work on fecal exposure pathways and Ga Tech Alumnus and Wish for WASH founder Jasmine Burton will present on innovative solutions for increasing sanitation access. Wish for WASH is a social impact organization that seeks to bring innovation to sanitation through culturally-specific research, design, and education because #EVERYBODYPOOPS. More info and details soon.
From the blog post by Habib Yakubu, CGSW Fellow
For the original article click here
My work takes me to low-income urban communities all over the world, from India to Ghana, wherever possible fecal contamination could lead to the rise of diseases that sicken or kill. That’s because I work on the SaniPath project, an assessment which aims to increase the evidence base available to sanitation policy makers and implementers in low-income urban communities. It is designed to assess public health risks related to poor sanitation and to help prioritize sanitation investments based on the exposures that have the greatest public health impact…..For more, click here
To watch the entire presentation, click here! The presentation starts at 9:00 min
An interactive session of presentations and discussions about the water situation in Puerto Rico featuring:
Carl A. Soderberg, P.E. – Graduate of Georgia Tech and a licensed engineer in Puerto Rico who has has spent 48 yrs. in environmental protection, including 20 yrs. as Director of the EPA Caribbean Division and 16 yrs. in the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board. Mr. Soderberg will discuss the water resources issues in Puerto Rico, including fresh water availability, assimilation capacity of rivers and streams, water hyacinths and many more characteristics of water in Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria.
Juan Villeta-Trigo, Ph.D.(c) – Economist with forensic experience in courts. One of the founding members of the Puerto Rico Water and Health Institute at the School of Environmental Affairs of the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico; and one of the founders and Past President of the Puerto Rico Economists Association. Mr. Villeta-Trigo will discuss the economic costs of the 2015 drought in Puerto Rico. He will address the scarcity of water, its challenges and opportunities.
Ashley Andujar, MHSA – CDC Health Communications Specialist who was deployed to Puerto Rico after the emergency to coordinate health communication messaging regarding waterborne disease risks.
Dr. Edwards is an expert on water treatment and corrosion. His research team exposed lead contamination of public drinking water supplies in Washington, DC and Flint, MI. Edwards was named a MacArthur Genius in 2007, was awarded the Walter Huber Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2003, the State of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 2006, and the Praxis Award in Professional Ethics from Villanova University in 2010. Time magazine dubbed him “The Plumbing Professor” and featured him as one of the United States’ most innovative scientists in 2004. In 2013, Edwards was the 9th recipient (in a quarter century) of the IEEE Barus Award for “courageously defending the public interest at great personal risk.”
Dr. Edwards delivered an inspiring and provocative talk today as the Distinguished Lecturer in Environmental Health for 2016. He told the story of his involvement in exposing both the Flint and DC water crises, to a packed crowd at Rollins School of Public Health Auditorium. To watch the entire presentation, please click here.
World Water Day 2015: Flint Water: What Happens When Regulations Fail?
World Toilet Day 2015 – Cop a Squat and lecture & panel discussion with visiting sanitation experts from SWA, WHO, World Bank moderated by Susan Davis, Improve International
World Water Day 2014 – GREEN WATER: Examining Health, Human Rights, and Business Impacts of Water Privatization
World Water Day 2013 – Water, Sanitation, Hygiene: Transforming Lives