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University of Wisconsin–Madison
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The Wisconsin Idea in Action

Testing Maps and Graphics to Promote Safe Drinking Water from Private Wells

The broad goal of my research is to improve how environmental risk is communicated to the public in order to foster accurate risk beliefs and appropriate behavioral responses. Current work focuses on images to communicate risk because they can leverage the innate power of human vision to support meaningful comprehension, influence risk beliefs and behavior, and potentially address numeracy barriers. I have conducted a number of studies among Wisconsin residents who have a private well who are ultimately responsible for the quality and safety of their drinking water. The primary purpose of this study was to assess how features of maps influence well owners' intentions to have their water tested for or to mitigate exposure to arsenic.


The goal of this translational research is to generate evidence that informs how state and local agencies communicate environmental health risk to Wisconsin residents. This particular research study applies to projects at community partners' agencies in which maps are used to communicate environmental risk information to public audiences.

Focus Areas

Project Leader

Dolores (Lori) Severtson Severtson
Assistant Professor

School or College
School of Nursing

This project was last updated on Sep 12, 2011. Do you have an update for this project? Find out how to contribute.