Welcome back to campus! Come and hear behavioral scientist, Dr. Bethany Caruso (Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University) at her upcoming talk, “Prioritizing Gender & Behavior to Enhance Understanding of Sanitation and Health”. Join us on Thursday, January 24th at 1:30PM in Poe Hall 420. This seminar is free and open to the public.
Nearly 900 million people are classified as open defecators, since they lack of access to any type of sanitation facility. Yet the number of people who actually defecate in the open is likely higher. What about those that have a toilet or latrine in their home that is suboptimal—do they use these sanitation facilities? Are their facilities meeting all of their sanitation-related needs? Or do they actually create new challenges for health and wellbeing? Dr. Bethany Caruso, a behavioral scientist at Emory University, will present findings from her research in rural Odisha, India. She will review her mixed-methods research that shows how women’s sanitation experiences are associated with negative mental health outcomes—including anxiety, depression, distress, and overall well-being—regardless of their access to a latrine. She will also discuss the development and ongoing impact evaluation of the Sundara Grama intervention, which aims to increase latrine use among all members of latrine-owning households. She will share baseline findings from the cluster randomized trial evaluating that intervention. The talk will conclude with reflections about how research from a social and behavioral lens illuminates how sanitation is not just a facility or structural system, but a suite of behaviors and experiences that also requires innovative programing to impact health and overall well-being.