All Publications

  • Shifting terrains: Understanding residential contaminants after flood disasters SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT Cutts, B. B., Vila, O., Bray, L. A., Harris, A., Hornsby, G., Goins, H., McLean, S., Crites, M., Allen, A., McMenamin, N., Harlee, T. 2024; 907: 167577


    Flood disasters can induce the mass transport of soils and sediments. This has the potential to distribute contaminants and present novel combinations to new locations - including residential neighborhoods. Even when soil contaminants cannot be directly attributed to the disaster, data on bacterial and heavy metal(loids) can facilitate an environmentally just recovery by enabling reconstruction decisions that fill data gaps to minimize future exposure. These data-gathering interventions may be especially useful in poor, rural, and racially diverse communities where there is a high probability of exposure to multiple hazards and a potential dependency on the financial resources of disaster aid as a means of reducing chronic exposures to other environmental pollutants. At the same time, entering these post-disasters spaces is ethically complex. To acknowledge this complexity, we pilot a framework for work that gathers social-ecological hazard information while retaining a fair-minded approach to transdisciplinary work. Assembled a transdisciplinary team to recruit participants from 90 households subjected to flooding in the southeastern US. Participating households agreed to interviews to elicit flood experience and environmental health concerns, soil sampling for fecal bacteria (E. coli) and soil sampling for selected heavy metals and metalloids (Pb, As, Cd) at their flooded residence. Soil sampling found a wide range of E. coli concentrations in soil (0.4-1115.7 CFU/ dry gram). Heavy metal(loid)s were detected at most residences (As 97.9 %; Ca 25.5 %; Pb 100 %). Individually, heavy metal(loid) concentrations did not exceed regulatory thresholds. Hazard, risk, and mitigation concerns expressed during interviews reveal that integrated human-nature concepts complicate common understandings of how hazard perceptibility (smell, sight, touch, and information) affects research-action spaces. Qualitative analysis of interviews and field notes revealed that soil-related hazards addressed by our biophysical protocols were less salient than changes with direct causal associations with flooding. We conclude by discussing the potential for the social-ecological hazard information that is fair-minded and transdisciplinary (SHIFT) framework to advance environmentally just approaches to research-action spaces after disasters.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.167577

    View details for Web of Science ID 001108301900001

    View details for PubMedID 37839486

  • Necessary conditions for sustainable water and sanitation service delivery in schools: A systematic review. PloS one Pu, C. J., Patel, P., Hornsby, G., Darmstadt, G. L., Davis, J. 2022; 17 (7): e0270847


    Access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services confers significant health and economic benefits, especially for children, but only if those services can be delivered on a consistent basis. The challenge of sustainable, school-based WASH service delivery has been widely documented, particularly in resource-constrained contexts. We conducted a systematic review of published research that identifies drivers of, or tests solutions to, this challenge within low- and middle-income countries (PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020199163). Authors in the first group employ cross-sectional research designs and interrogate previously implemented school WASH interventions. Most conclude that dysfunctional accountability and information sharing mechanisms drive school WASH service delivery failures. By contrast, most of the interventions developed and tested experimentally by authors in the second group focus on increasing the financial and material resources available to schools for WASH service delivery. Overall, these authors find negligible impact of such infusions of cash, infrastructure, and supplies across a variety of sustainability outcome metrics. Taken together, the evidence suggests that sustainable service delivery depends on three simultaneously necessary components: resources, information, and accountability. Drawing upon theory and evidence from social psychology, public management, and political science, we identify priority knowledge gaps that can meaningfully improve the design of effective interventions. We also highlight the importance of both interdisciplinary collaboration and local expertise in designing WASH programming that aligns with sociocultural and institutional norms, and is thus more likely to generate sustainable impact.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0270847

    View details for PubMedID 35857721