Reflections from the Conference and Next Steps

Whew – what a crazy, wonderful three days!

Now that everyone is back at their respective institutions, it is time to reflect on what we learned and to begin applying it to our current and future endeavors. To start, a few highlights from each day.

DAY 1: Welcome!   

  • Collaborators shared their experiences with HWISE data collection and the unique features of each study site
  • Alexandra Brewis-Slade, a professor of global health and medical anthropology, drew connections between the development of the HWISE scale and the resurgence of a movement in anthropology to discover cross-cultural truths
  • Michael Tiboris, a global water fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, outlined the potential policy impacts of a scale that measures experiences of household water insecurity, including the ability to move away from metrics that only focus on supply and population (i.e. greater granularity)
  • The Northwestern team hosted a poster session to allow local researchers and HWISE attendees to collaborate and learn about the most cutting-edge in water research
Study team and local scientists across multiple disciplines discussing water research at a poster session

DAY 2: Data, data, and more data     

  • Data gurus Shalean Collins and Julia Yeam presented basic descriptives on the 8 study sites that have submitted data thus far (interesting fact: participants at our Tanzanian study site spend almost 10 hours/week fetching water)
  • Ed Frongillo drew on his past experiences with developing a validated food security scale, as well as an insightful paper, to help study collaborators understand the process of determining the underlying domains of water security
  • Ashley Hagaman and Justin Stoler engaged attendees in a discussion about experiences from the field and how to improve the process going forward
  • Roseanne Schuster presented preliminary results from our ongoing cognitive interviews and described how they will be used to improve the quality of our questions
  • Kayaking and paddleboarding on Lake Michigan!
HWISE collaborators preparing to paddle out onto Lake Michigan

DAY 3: Next steps   

  • Various team members hosted discussions about how to move forward with scale development, grant proposals, and conference presence
  • Led by Sera Young, the group was able to eliminate several superfluous questions from our current scale, making it more refined and easier to implement
Team members discussing ways to analyze the data and improve scale validation

There were many wonderful things that happened at this conference – things that could only happen by having everyone sit down together at one table. We learned about best data management practices, venues for communicating results, methods for refining the HWISE scale, and ways to get improve the study design. Most importantly, though, people were able to talk, laugh, collaborate, and make meaningful connections that will ultimately allow for even better research.

Thank you to all our collaborators – we hope to see you again soon!

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