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The link between the air we breathe and human health affects millions globally, placing urban air quality as a leading contributor to the global burden of disease.  Research in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health is built around advanced exposure science, atmospheric modelling, and state-of-the science epidemiological approaches for measuring exposure and estimating human health risk associated with air pollution. Scroll down to explore the different ways our faculty are engaging with air pollution. 

Faculty Spotlight - 
  • Professor - Environmental Health

  • Jointly Appointed - Epidemiology

  • Jointly Appointed -
    Global Health


  • Rose Salamone
    Gangarosa Chair in Sanitation and
    Safe Water


  • Air Pollution

  • Global Health

  • Health Outcomes

  • Infectious Disease

  • Safe Water and Sanitation


The Household Air Pollution Intervention Network (HAPIN) Trial is an international multi-center study aimed at assessing the impact of a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cooking stove and fuel intervention on health. HAPIN Trial centers are located in four countries: Guatemala, India, Peru and Rwanda. Tom Clasen leads this study as one of three Principal Investigators. MPH and PhD students have the opportunity to work alongside Tom to conduct research for HAPIN.


Alumni Spotlight - 

MSPH - Environmental Health and Epidemiology 

Did you always know you wanted to focus on air pollution?

I became interested in the topic of household air pollution (HAP) upon reflecting on my lived experience as a small child in rural India. I often had lower respiratory infections as a child, likely from exposure to HAP coming from a wood-burning cookstove in my grandparents' kitchen. When I was in college, I interned at CDC and learned about the global environmental burden of HAP. This issue is really at the nexus of climate, environment, health, and women’s empowerment. Since then, I have yet to find another topic I am as passionate about from all these many fronts. To learn more about my journey into the clean cooking sector, check out my blog post for the UN Foundation website.   

What was your most memorable experience during your time at Rollins?

During my time at Rollins, I had the wonderful opportunity to conduct field research in Puno, Peru, for a project which directly tied into my thesis. This was a great opportunity for me to see how large-scale public health research studies are conducted and was my first time working with air monitoring equipment. I also was able to attend COP23, the annual global United Nations climate change negotiations. This was the first time I got to see how the UN operates and how these large, multi-governmental meetings work. These two experiences allowed me to see first-hand what environmental public health looks like at the community and global level.

Tell us about your experience working on the HAPIN project!

While at Emory, I was involved in two large-scale randomized control trials of clean cooking interventions. Both were looking at the health effects of switching households from traditional, biomass burning cookstoves to liquid petroleum gas cookstoves, which created much less HAP while cooking. During my time in Peru, I would wake up very early (~3am) to go into the field and visit households in our study to collect data before the families began working on their farms. I would then go to the office and quickly analyze the data to present to the PIs and give updates on study progress. It was great to be able to be so involved in the process of data collection, it very much informed my thesis writing and gave context to the study overall.

What is your current role? How has your work at Rollins influenced the work you do now?

I now work as the Environmental Health Associate at the Clean Cooking Alliance. In my role, I manage most of our health-related work and make sure our staff are up-to-date on the latest research findings from the health field. I also ensure the Alliance is present at important health-related events at the global level, for example, right now I am working on an event we are co-sponsoring at the WHO. My time at Emory in the EH department trained me well for this role. Since I have a dual degree in EH and EPI and did my thesis and practicum on clean cooking, I am able to understand the research from this field very well and communicate it clearly. I was also able to connect with top researchers in this field and these are connection that I maintain today.

Q&A with Maria

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