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Friday, April 17, 2015


10:00 – 10:30  am   Registration & Breakfast


10:30 – 12:30 pm

 Water and Poverty in Urban Slums


Shafiqul Islam, Director, Water Diplomacy Program, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Professor, Water Diplomacy, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Sharmila Murthy, Assistant Professor of Law, Suffolk University; Visiting Scholar, Sustainability Science Program, Harvard Kennedy School
Ramnath Subbaraman, Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Research Advisor, Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action, and Research (PUKAR), Mumbai, India
Heather ArneySenior Manager of Information, Monitoring & Evaluation,
Liza Weinstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Northeastern University 

For a rapidly urbanizing South Asia with competing – and often conflicting – demands for water, which problems, when addressed, have the greatest potential to make an impact? Building on our 2014 SAI Symposium panel Water from SAARC to Slums, we will focus on the challenges of expanding water access in urban slums. Who bears the burden, at what cost, and at what scale?  For example, in Mumbai, 55% of the city’s 12 million people live in slums with poor water access, but women and children bear the disproportionate burden of water poverty.  The complexity of urban water access is influenced by a range of contextual and contingent factors including the legal exclusion of large populations from the city water supply, the role of informal water vendors (i.e., the “water mafia”), the challenges of aging and inadequate infrastructure, and the disconnect between cost, price, and value of water.  Drawing on case studies of urban water poverty from South Asia and other regions, we seek to engage the panelists — and the audience — in a conversation about how to diagnose, characterize, and intervene to address water poverty in urban slums.


12:30  – 1:00  pm   Lunch


1:00 – 3:00 pm

 Mental Health and Disasters


Workshop facilitators: Ruth Barron, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
John TorousResident Physician in the Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
Chair:Jennifer Leaning, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights.
Comments by:Janet Yassen LICSW and Shamaila Khan Ph.D

Given the high volume of trauma and the likelihood of increased exposure to major disasters in South Asia, senior decision makers and first responders need specific training. Due to their extremely high levels of stress, there is a tremendous amount of turnover among crucial emergency personnel. This creates a knowledge gap in proper response methods, which increases the risk of psychological trauma and mental health distress in emergency and disaster response situations.

Using examples from their work, panelists will discuss the acquisition of knowledge about the emotional impacts of overwhelming events, research on acute disasters around the world and how to address people’s mental and physical health in such situations. How can recent developments in mobile mental health tools help with rapid response in disaster situations? The workshop will look at research and practice from other parts of the world that could be effective and relevant in South Asia.