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Dr. Clasen's Research Staff

Maryann Delea is a Senior Public Health Research Associate at Emory University currently working on a verification of sanitation outcomes in Bangladesh with Dr. Tom Clasen. She is also working with Dr. Matthew Freeman to design a project investigating the impact of an enhanced, demand-side sanitation and hygiene promotion model on trachoma and sustained behavior change in Ethiopia. Maryann has over eight years of experience in international public health, and is experienced in designing and managing international programs and research projects, providing technical guidance to ensure appropriate implementation of various infectious disease programs and research studies, developing and managing monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and conducting epidemiological investigations to identify and interrupt environmental drivers of infectious disease transmission. She has developed, evaluated, and implemented disease surveillance and preparedness activities for various infectious diseases, including emerging, reemerging, and neglected tropical diseases in 11 countries in Asia, Africa, and Central America. Maryann received her Master of Public Health in Global Environmental Health from the Rollins School of Public Health in 2007, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with minors in Medical Anthropology and Chemistry from Southern Methodist University in 2004.

Bethany Caruso is a post-doctoral fellow and a Research Manager for a WASH in schools program for girls supported by a joint collaboration between Emory and UNICEF (WinS4Girls). Broadly, Bethany is interested in the intersection between Women’s Health and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) in developing countries. Specifically, she hopes to focus her doctoral work on how adolescent girls manage menstruation given their social, cultural, and natural environments, and how menstrual management may influence their behaviors and developmental (educational, economic, social) outcomes.

Doctoral Students

Marieke Heijnen is a PhD candidate and research assistant in the Environmental Health group at LSHTM, focusing her research on shared sanitation facilities. Specifically, she has conducted a systematic review comparing shared sanitation facilities with individual household latrines, and analysed DHS and MICS surveys to assess the scope of shared sanitation globally and regionally. As part of her fieldwork she has conducted a cross-sectional survey in slums in Orissa, focusing on the users of shared and private sanitation. Prior to starting her PhD, Marieke worked at UNICEF Malawi and MSF-Holland. She has an MSc in Infectious Disease Control from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an MSc in Epidemiology from Maastricht University.

Fiona Majorin is a Ph.D. student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  She is currently working on a systematic review of interventions to improve the disposal of child faeces and research to describe child faeces disposal practices and identify determinants for the practices in Orissa, India.  Fiona has a BSc in Biology with honours in zoology from the University of Edinburgh (2009) and an MSc in the Control of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2012).

William E. Oswald is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University. His work focuses on the determinants of hygiene and sanitation-related behaviors and their impacts among marginalized populations in the developing world. His dissertation research examines the relationship between sanitation and the Neglected Tropical Diseases of trachoma and soil-transmitted helminth infections among children in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.

Heather Reese is a doctoral student in Environmental Health Sciences through the Laney Graduate School at Emory University.  She is currently working on an evaluation of the effectiveness of demand-driven rural water and sanitation to reduce diarrheal disease and respiratory infections in Orissa, India with Dr. Tom Clasen.  Heather received her Master of Public Health in Global Health, Infectious Disease in 2012 from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.  In 2007, she received a B.A. in Biology and Studio Arts from Swarthmore College.

Abu Mohd Naser Titu is a PhD student in Environmental Health Sciences at Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Naser’s research interests include evaluation of WASH interventions in low-income countries as well as chemical contamination of water. Naser has four years of experience working with International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) prior starting his PhD. He has worked with the WASH Benefits trial and has implemented another RCT evaluating the individual and combined impact of point-of-use chlorination and safe storage on childhood diarrhoea. He has explored the interaction of groundwater iron contamination and point-of-use chlorination. He’s also interested in evaluating the health consequences of groundwater salinization and arsenic contamination, particularly chronic disease outcomes. Naser received his MPH and MBBS degree in Bangladesh.

Belen Torondel joined the Environmental Health Group of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2009 and is currently a Lecturer in Environmental Health. Her work at LSHTM has involved studies of the health impact of environmental interventions such as water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion. One of her areas of expertise is to explore the association of pathogens and risk of infection associated with different hygiene and sanitation practices. She is currently managing a sanitation trial in India that aims to evaluate the health impact of a rural sanitation programme. She is also leading a study in India assessing the health impact of menstrual hygiene management practices in Indian women. She has extensive experience in the implementation and management of research environmental health projects in developing countries including Tanzania, Vietnam, India, and Bolivia.

Laura Divens Zambrano is a Ph.D. student in Environmental Health Sciences at Emory University. She is coordinating a large cluster-randomized controlled trial in Western Province, Rwanda to assess the impact of a two-pronged intervention (improved cookstoves and household-based advanced water filtration) on various exposure indicators and period prevalence of acute lower respiratory infection and diarrheal disease. This study also assesses intervention distribution relative to biomarkers of inflammation and specific disease processes. Prior to arriving at Emory, Laura acquired four years of clinical and research laboratory experience and worked as an international health analyst for Sub-Saharan Africa in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. She received her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from the George Washington University School of Public Health in 2010 and her B.A. in Biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2006. Research interests include infectious disease dynamics; infectious disease emergence; water and sanitation; and interactions between various environmental exposures and infectious disease processes.


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