In Memoriam. The H in WASH: a reflection on the contribution, style and legacy of Professor Val Curtis

Oliver Cumming*, Guy Howard, Peter Kolsky, Steve Luby, Roma Chilengi, John M Colford, Param Iyer, Barbara Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial (Academic Journal)


In this paper we reflect on the contribution, style and legacy of Professor Val Curtis, an important, and sometimes controversial, figure in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector who sadly passed away on October 19, 2020. Across numerous scientific articles, and several books, and operational programmes, she established herself as a world-renowned scientific expert in the field of hygiene and behaviour change, as well as a major thought-leader in the WASH sector. We identify four major scientific contributions which she made over three decades of research that spanned multiple fields, including engineering, epidemiology, and psychology. Beyond her research, she tirelessly championed hygiene as a public health priority, using her talents as a communicator to
secure concrete changes in relevant policy and practice. We are confident that her example, as both a public health researcher, and as a hygiene champion, will inspire future generations of WASH researchers and practitioners to be bold and ambitious.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1037-1040
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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