Dr. Heather Murphy, assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at Temple University College of Public Health, received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct research in Uganda and India as part of a multi-team project that aims to build a knowledge base for sanitation and environmental pathogens.
[Photo: Dr. Heather Murphy]
The research is part of the Global Water Pathogen Project, a collaboration between researchers at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Michigan State University, overseen by Dr. Joan Rose, Homer Nowlin Endowed Chair in Water Research at MSU. The project involves nearly 200 researchers around the country. Dr. Murphy’s work abroad focuses on Knowledge to Practice (K2P) — in both Uganda and India, she and a team of stakeholders on the ground will explore how they can best apply the information gathered through the GWPP to sanitation policy, guidelines, and practices.
They hope the research leads to a series of tools: mobile apps, visualization tools, and materials for advocacy purposes. After two years of work in Uganda, Dr. Murphy will test how versatile the tools are for decision-making in one context and how they can be translated from one country to another.
“Roughly 2.5 billion people in the world don’t have access to improved sanitation,” said Dr. Murphy, who will travel to Uganda at the end of June. “They don’t have access to a toilet or a latrine, which has consequences on safe drinking water and environments. These issues aren’t often talked about, but they’re preventable.”