Abstract for:Systems modeling in global environmental health research: the case for enhancing intervention design and program implementation in Household Air Pollution and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Several causes of significant global disease burden fall in the realm of environmental health, namely Household Air Pollution (HAP) and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). In both of these arenas, interventions – such as water filters, improved sanitation facilities, and clean cookstoves – have the theoretical potential to yield significant health benefits. In most experiments and larger-scale implementation efforts, however, the interventions have only partially and imperfectly realized the desired health gains, if any effect was seen at all. Importantly, even interventions that have been effective in trials often fail at the implementation stage because of economic, environmental or behavioral challenges at scale, or changes in the enabling conditions over time.  The field of Implementation Science is charged with understanding the processes that make effective interventions successful and sustainable in service delivery programs at scale and over time. We suggest that systems science, and computational modeling in particular, could offer powerful and underutilized tools to enhance implementation science in both WASH and HAP. We provide a number of examples of the potential application of systems dynamics modeling, social network analysis, and agent based modeling to the rich data sets of WASH and HAP.