Measuring how clean water improves health in Nepal
Annette Fitzpatrick has always studied diseases of privilege. Stroke, clogged arteries, heart attacks — the kinds of things people...
Annette Fitzpatrick has always studied diseases of privilege. Stroke, clogged arteries, heart attacks — the kinds of things people in poor countries usually don't live long enough to worry about.
But the University of Washington epidemiologist was eager to branch out into the health problems of the developing world.
"It's something I've always wanted to do," she said. "But if you don't already have credibility in the field, you're stuck when it comes to getting grants."
Puget Sound Partners for Global Health is a local research consortium funded by the Gates Foundation that aims to bridge that gap with small starter grants to attract new people to the field.
Fitzpatrick is one of several local researchers to receive $50,000.
Her goal is to study the health effects of clean water in two villages in Nepal's lowlands.
Impoverished rice farmers and their families get their drinking water from streams and ponds contaminated by sewage. Fitzpatrick knew of a small nonprofit, The Living Earth Institute, which was installing wells and helping residents build their own latrines.
She piggybacked on that work, enlisting a Nepali women's group to survey 335 households about health problems and measure and weigh children to estimate the toll of frequent diarrhea on their growth. She bought a laptop computer to catalog the results.
The grant money only went far enough to collect "before" data, though there were hints that children's health improved within six months of latrine installation. Fitzpatrick is trying to find funds to collect another round of data once the wells have been in place for two years.
"International work really opens your eyes to the huge disparities in this world," she said. "This was such a gift."
— Sandi Doughton
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.