From Theory to Practice: Addressing Evidence Gaps and Applications of the Drinking Water Disparities Framework

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups: Applied Geography Specialty Group, Water Resources Specialty Group, Health and Medical Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM (PST)
Room: Virtual 44
Organizers: Kayla Anderson, Yolanda McDonald
Chairs: Kayla Anderson


Safe drinking water is fundamental for building a culture of health. While the US has one of the safest drinking water supplies in the world, harmful contaminants that are detrimental to public health are present in our public water supplies. As a result, it is crucial to examine the complex set of entities and actors, which influence drinking water quality in order to ensure access to safe drinking water.

This session highlights empirical research that addresses the complexity of drinking water as outlined in VanDerslice (2011) Drinking water infrastructure and environmental disparities: evidence and methodological considerations and Balazs and Ray’s (2014) Drinking Water Disparities framework. VanDerslice, and Balazs and Ray’s stress the need for evidence-based research to engage the complex intersections of the natural, built, and sociopolitical environments that affect drinking water quality and subsequent outcomes. The papers in this session address methodological gaps in drinking water research and components of the framework to explain how to mitigate challenges and disparities in drinking water quality. Topics in this interdisciplinary session include:

-Methods for constructing public water system service boundaries
-Utilizing community partnerships to understand the technical, managerial and financial challenges within community water systems
-Impact of social/political dynamics on regional water quality narratives
-Connections between human body systems and drinking water contaminants

Balazs, C. L., & Ray, I. (2014). The Drinking Water Disparities Framework: On the Origins and Persistence of Inequities in Exposure. American Journal of Public Health, 104(4), 603–611. doi: 10.2105/ajph.2013.301664

VanDerslice, J. (2011). Drinking water infrastructure and environmental disparities: evidence and methodological considerations. American Journal of Public Health, 101(Suppl 1), S109–S114. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300189


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Ashley Kim*, Vanderbilt University, Aakash Manapat, Vanderbilt University, Mariah D. Caballero, Vanderbilt University, Dmitry Semenov, Vanderbilt University, Yolanda J. McDonald, Vanderbilt University, So Exactly Where Are Community Water Systems Located? 15 9:35 AM
Presenter Kayla Anderson*, Vanderbilt University, Yolanda J McDonald, Vanderbilt University, Operators Know Best: Utilizing Public Water System Operators to Understand Technical, Managerial, and Financial Challenges Facing Community Water Systems in Tennessee 15 9:50 AM
Presenter Mariah Caballero*, Vanderbilt University, Thushara Gunda, Sandia National Laboratories, Yolanda J McDonald, Vanderbilt University, Jonathan M. Gilligan, Vanderbilt University, Pollution in the Press: Employing Text Analytics to Understand Regional Water Quality Narratives 15 10:05 AM
Presenter Yolanda McDonald*, Vanderbilt University, Emily Murray, University of Missouri, Preetam Cholli, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Katherine Allison, Vanderbilt University, Elaine Hill, University of Rochester Medical Center, Health-based drinking water violations: A human body systems framework to understanding human health impacts. 15 10:20 AM
Discussant Jim VanDerslice University of Utah 15 10:35 AM

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