Broadly, we focus on the impacts of energy use - typically at the household level -- on air pollution, climate, and health. While progress on providing clean household energy arguably follows development trajectories, there is need to accelerate the transition to clean cooking through innovative policy and dissemination approaches. Our research group builds the evidence base for these transitions -- based on health, environmental, and economic benefits -- using the multidisciplinary field of Environmental Health Sciences -- which sits at the interface of laboratory science, aerosol chemistry, environmental engineering, and implementation science – as the foundation of our work.
With Pengbo Liu, PhD, MPH (Co-PI), Christine Moe, Danny Wilson, Ashley Styczynski, Nichole Starr, and N95Decon.
The global supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) – including surgical masks, N95 filtering facepiece respirators, gloves, and gowns – has been limited during the current pandemic. PPE serves as a first line of defense for healthcare workers and can play an important role in helping slow transmission of airborne pathogens like SARS-CoV-2. Our work focuses on two PPE-related aspects of the current pandemic. First, we will survey healthcare workers and facilities globally on their supply of PPE and usage practices. Second, we will evaluate methods of decontaminating cloth, surgical, and N95 masks that may be relevant for low-resource settings. Taken together, our findings can help optimize resource allocation and extend the use of existing supplies of PPE using decontamination methods suitable for low-resource settings.
With Lisa Thompson (Emory), Johannes Urpelainen (Johns Hopkins), Carlos Gould (Columbia), and Morsel Research and Development (Uttar Pradesh, India)
India has undergone a dramatic household energy transformation in recent years, driven by government initiatives to increase clean fuel access. These improvements have not led to complete transitions to clean cooking, with most households continuing regular biomass use, a trend that may be exacerbated by the COVID‐19 pandemic. We leverage and extend a recently completed energy survey of 1440 households in rural Jharkhand by deploying a follow‐up, telephone‐based questionnaire multiple times over the next year, enabling analysis of how COVID‐19 and stay‐at‐home orders alter energy use behaviors. Findings from this longitudinal study will help (1) understand drivers of stacking or exclusive LPG or biomass use; (2) provide insights into how resilient household energy use patterns are to sudden economic and social shocks; and (3) establish guidance that may inform planning for the next pandemic or other unexpected shock.
With Manish Desai, Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay, Naveen Puttaswamy, Sankar Sambandam, Gurusamy Thangavel, and Kalpana Balakrishnan.
The world’s most ambitious scale up of clean fuels has taken place across India in the past five years. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) program, building upon previous efforts, provided access to LPG for an additional 80 million homes. However, continued fuel stacking and inconsistent coverage of the intervention has left overall household air pollution exposure reductions in households and associated ambient air pollution reductions lower than what is needed to meet Indian national standards or WHO guidelines. The ongoing HAPIN trial will provide critical information on personal exposures and health effects of interventions at the household level for an LPG and free fuel intervention but little information regarding the effect of scaling such an intervention. Several recent modelling exercises suggest that household biomass burning results in significant contributions to ambient air pollution at national and regional levels. However, there is almost no actual data to support quantitative targets for program design and maintenance at the village and district level that could guide village coverage goals for household use of LPG to displace solid fuel burning. Because of the PMUY scale up history, patchy uptake at community levels, and relatively low level of industrial sources of pollution, Southern India, including currently enrolled HAPIN districts, provides an ideal setting to study the Reach and Effectiveness of this massive LPG program and to contribute evidence-based guidance to support critical implementation targets for policy around village- level coverage and LPG utilization. We request ISN support to conduct data gathering, analyses, and modelling of this natural experiment to help fill this important gap in implementation guidance.