Center Affiliation and Expertise: Co-Leader, Population Health Research Theme
Dr. Baker’s research focuses on understanding how poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions affect maternal and child health in low-income communities. Part of her work is focused on using systems-level approaches to characterize the ecology of disease transmission, beginning with understanding how limitations in water and sanitation access affect variability in human behavior, and how behavior and the associated environmental stressors interact to create exposure that leads to a broad spectrum of adverse health outcomes. She explores a spectrum of outcomes, from diarrhea and malnutrition in young children to reproductive tract infections in women to adverse pregnancy outcomes. She is particularly interested in methodological challenges of evaluating impacts from community-level interventions, especially around the topic of sanitation management. Another part of Dr. Baker’s work involves developing scientifically rigorous tools and strategies for conducting microbial risk assessments that can track how sanitation-associated microbes spatially disperse in ecological systems populated by human populations.