Nikki Behnke

Research Assistant

Nikki is a Research Assistant at the Water Institute, where she focuses on environmental health in health care facilities. She has been working with the Water Institute since early 2015, when she joined the Processes for Sustainability of Community-managed Water Systems project as an undergraduate research assistant. After carrying out field research in Zambia, she worked with the team to analyze the data and produce manuscripts, with four papers being published as a result.

After graduating from UNC in 2016, Nikki moved to Washington, DC for a year to work with Water 2017, a non-profit organization focused on global water security advocacy. Before returning to UNC for her MSPH, she joined the Water Institute’s Baseline Assessment of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) in Health Care Facilities in Malawi project, leading a field research team that conducted quantitative and qualitative data collection in 45 government–run health care facilities in Malawi.

Nikki’s master’s research at UNC was focused on environmental health of forcibly displaced populations, and included a systematic literature review and field research with World Vision at Azraq refugee camp in Jordan during the summer of 2018. She took Arabic classes in addition to her MSPH coursework throughout her master’s program, which led her back to Jordan after graduation to study Arabic on a David L. Boren Fellowship for six months.

Nikki is particularly interested in the intersection of WaSH and international security, with a focus on the Middle East, water system sustainability, qualitative and mixed-methods research, and non-household settings, including refugee and IDP settlements and health care facilities.

Master’s Thesis title: Moving from emergency response to sustainable development: the evolution of WaSH and waste management services in Azraq refugee camp, Jordan

Profile Information
Selected Projects
Selected Research Products
  • Environmental health in protracted displacement: a systematic scoping review.  Behnke, N., Cronk, R., Banner, B., Cooper, B., Tu, R., Heller, L., & Bartram, J. (2020). Science of the Total Environment.
  • Environmental health in forced displacement: a systematic scoping review of the emergency phase. Shackelford, B. B., Cronk, R., Behnke, N., Cooper, B., Tu, R., D’Souza, M., Bartram, J., & Schweitzer, R. (2020). Science of the Total Environment.
  • Application of tools to monitor environmental conditions, identify exposures, and inform decision-making to improve infection prevention and control practices in Malawian maternity wards. Oza, H. H., Fisher, M.B., Abebe, L.S., Cronk., R., McCord, R., Reuland, F., Behnke, N., Kafanikhale, H., Mofolo, I., Hoffman, I.F., & Bartram, J. (2020). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 
  • Energy access in Malawian health care facilities: consequences for health service delivery and environmental health conditions. Reuland, F., Behnke, N., Cronk, R., McCord, R., Fisher, M., Abebe, L., Suhlrie, L., Joca, L., Mofolo, I., Kafanikhale, H., Mmodzi Tseka, J., Rehfuess, E., Tomaro, J., Hoffman, I., & Bartram, J. (2019). Health Policy and Planning.
  • The Implementation of Environmental Health Policies in Health Care Facilities: The case of Malawi. McCord, R., Cronk, R., Tomaro, J, Reuland, F., Behnke, N., Mmodzi Tseka, J., Banda, C., Kafanikhale, H., Mofolo, I., Hoffman, I., & Bartram, J. (2019). International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 
  • Post-construction support models to improve rural water service sustainability: a systematic review. Miller, M., Klug, T., Cronk, R., Kelly, E., Behnke, N., & Bartram, J. (2019) Science of the Total Environment. 
  • Improving environmental conditions for involuntarily displaced populations: water, sanitation, and hygiene in orphanages, prisons, and refugee and IDP settlements. Behnke, N., Cronk, R., Snel, M., Moffa, M., Tu, R., Banner, B., Folz, C., Anderson, D., Macintyre, A., Stowe, E., & Bartram, J. (2018). Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development.
  • Seasonality, water use and community management of water systems in rural settings: qualitative evidence from Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia. Kelly, E., Shields, K.F., Cronk, R., Lee, K., Behnke, N., Klug, T., & Bartram, J. (2018).  Science of the Total Environment.
  • The role of social capital and sense of ownership in rural community-managed water systems: qualitative evidence from Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia. Kelly, E., Lee, K., Shields, K.F., Cronk, R., Behnke, N., Klug, T., & Bartram, J. (2017). Journal of Rural Studies.
  • Water system hardware and management rehabilitation: qualitative evidence from Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia. Klug, T., Shields, K. F., Cronk, R., Kelly, E.R., Behnke, N. L., Lee, K., & Bartram, J. (2017). International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2017.02.009.
  • Resource mobilization for community-managed rural water systems: evidence from Ghana, Kenya, and ZambiaBehnke, N. L., Klug, T., Cronk, R., Shields, K. F., Lee, K., Kelly, E.R., Allgood, G., & Bartram, J. (2017). Journal of Cleaner Production. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.04.016.
Email: Nikki Behnke