Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Environmental, Agricultural & Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Dr. Chandran Achutan

Second Committee Member

Mr. Randy Gottler

Third Committee Member

Dr. Christopher Wichman


The goals of the Service Learning/Capstone Experience (SL/CE) project included identifying current perceptions regarding lead in municipal drinking water and related environmental health and safety concerns in the Sunnyslope community of Phoenix, Arizona; evaluating and improving the current outreach program in order to effectively target drinking water perceptions; and identifying strengths and weaknesses in the City of Phoenix Water Services Department (WSD) and Environmental Services Division (ESD) that contribute to negative public perceptions of municipally supplied drinking water. Objectives used to meet the stated goals included developing and distributing a survey to measure perceptions of the above issues through a combination of sampling techniques throughout the Sunnyslope community. Additional objectives included improving upon the current outreach program to include water quality information in order to address safety and health concerns shared by many Phoenix residents through discussion with community and neighborhood groups, creation of a Powerpoint presentation for future use and application in outreach, and discussion with a local community block watch about perceptions. This included evaluating current outreach by WSD and ESD and comparing to the survey results; a focus group of four individuals identified further issues and improvements that can be made to potentially improve perceptions. Methods involved with the project included using the health promotion and ecological model to guide survey development so that perceptions could be appropriately gauged with a cross-sectional survey study design. A survey was developed, distributed and collected through electronic and paper delivery using both modified cluster and convenience sampling. Modified cluster sampling involved distributing surveys door-to-door and soliciting residents willing to complete the survey on paper or electronically through a provided survey link. Convenience sampling involved creating a solicitation on, which is a social media site for neighborhoods; soliciting participants through a local block watch social media page, at meetings, and via email lists; soliciting at the Acacia Library; and soliciting participants at small local businesses in Sunnyslope. Statistical analysis was conducted using Excel; primary analyses included Chi-square tests for homogeneity and descriptive statistics in order to determine trends in perceptions. Ultimately, the project was anticipated to increase understanding of the perceptions regarding specific environmental and safety concerns of water quality within a culturally, economically and socially diverse subset of the City of Phoenix with the intent of improving outreach and transparency.