Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Health and Kinesiology

First Advisor

D. Randy Black

Committee Chair

D. Randy Black

Committee Member 1

Gerry Hyner

Committee Member 2

Lori Snyder


Diarrhea is estimated to be responsible for 3.3 million deaths a year and is particularly problematic in the developing world among children. The Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations has set a goal of reducing mortality among children by two thirds during the new millennium. However due to the nature of diarrhea it is often difficult to study its patterns, distribution, and determinants.

This study presents an analysis of the relationship between diarrhea and sanitation infrastructure and medicinal plant use in 4 rural Costa Rican communities. Over the past few decades' access to clean drinking water and municipal piping has increased dramatically in Costa Rica. This study reaffirms the protective effect imparted by sound sanitation infrastructure and diarrhea established by previous studies (OR = .305, .098-.951). This study also presents a re-evaluation of the original study instrument and proposes changes that could be made to improve the results of the original study and should serve as a guide for inexperienced researchers in the future.