GIS is widely used in health research. This page offers some examples of general research sites, and more detailed examples of how GIS and spatial analysis is being used in studying exposure and risk, and in studying the role of the environment in physical activity and health. All of these are directly related to issues of spatial, social and environmental justice. The combination of health and geography is expanding very rapidly, so these are just starting points. Use article databases (e.g., Scopus) to find more research. See also our GIS Food and Spatial Justice sections.
General Research sites focusing on GIS in health research and applications
Exposure and Risk Analysis – examples of peer-reviewed literature
Physical Activity and Environmental Influences – Research Resources
Physical Activity and Environmental Influences – examples of peer-reviewed literature
- Center for Disease Control (US) - GIS in Public Health - See also Epi Info (data resources for public health maps)
- WHO Data Repository (World Health Organization) – includes links to maps and downloadable databases that can be linked to geographic data
- National Cancer Institute (US) - Cancer Mortality Maps and Graphs
- USGS – Human Health Section- information on how the USGS as the chief natural resources information US agency aids health research
- Current Public Health Research using GIS at Harvard - some good local examples of how GIS is used in health research (accessed 6/17/09)
- [Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) - DHS analyzes and distributes survey results regarding health, nutrition, HIV for over 75 countries. See the DHS GIS Overview page for online mapping and GIS-friendly data download/requests.
- Pan American Health Organization – GIS in Public Health Project (GIS-EPI) - a project to promote the use of spatial analysis and application development for health surveillance and evaluation in the Americas (in Spanish)
- International Journal of Health Geographics - a journal focusing on GIS and spatial analysis in health
- Maantay, J.. 2007. Asthma and air pollution in the Bronx: Methodological and data considerations in using GIS for environmental justice and health research. Health and Place, 13 (1), pp. 32-56
- McEntee, J.C., Ogneva-Himmelberger, Y. 2008. Diesel particulate matter, lung cancer, and asthma incidences along major traffic corridors in MA, USA: A GIS analysis. Health & place, 14 (4), pp. 817-828
- Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
- Special Issue on Environmental Justice (vol. 9, no. 1, 1999) – http://www.nature.com/jea/journal/v9/n1/index.html - includes article on GIS-based measures.
- Gordian, Mary Ellen et al. 2006. An Investigation of the Association Between Traffic Exposure and the Diagnosis of Asthma in Children – Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (2006) 16, 49-55. Available online: http://www.nature.com/jes/journal/v16/n1/abs/7500436a.html
- Swartz, Christopher H et al. 2003. Historical reconstruction of wastewater and land use impacts to groundwater used for public drinking water: Exposure assessment using chemical data and GIS. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (2003) 13, 403 – 416. Available online: http://www.nature.com/jea/journal/v13/n5/abs/7500291a.html
- Gunier, Robert B. et al. 2003. Traffic density in California: Socioeconomic and ethnic differences among potentially exposed children. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 13, 240 – 246. Available online: http://www.nature.com/jea/journal/v13/n3/abs/7500276a.html
- Dearwent, Steve M. et al. 2001. Locational Uncertainty in Georeferencing Public Health Data Sets. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 11, 329 – 334. Available online: http://www.nature.com/jea/journal/v11/n4/abs/7500173a.html
- Julia Green Brody et al. 2002. Using GIS and historic records to reconstruct residential exposure to large-scale pesticide applications. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology (2002) 12, 64-80. Available online: http://www.nature.com/jea/journal/v12/n1/abs/7500205a.html (study of Cape Cod, MA)
- Active Living Research - http://www.activelivingresearch.org/ - Active Living Research is a $12.5-million national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation® (RWJF), created to stimulate and support research to identify environmental factors and policies that influence physical activity. Findings from this research will be used to help inform policy, design of the built environment and other factors to promote active living. (See especially the News & Resources – Literature Citations)
- Design for Health - http://www.designforhealth.net/ - from the web site: “Design for Health is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota that serves to bridge the gap between the emerging research base on community design and healthy living with the every-day realities of local government planning.” For GIS specific methods, see the various “Protocols and Kits” under “Resources by Type” – http://www.designforhealth.net/resources/protocols.html
- Brownson, R.C., Hoehner, C.M., Day, K., Forsyth, A., Sallis, J.F.. 2009. Measuring the Built Environment for Physical Activity. State of the Science. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36 (4 SUPPL.), pp. S99-S123.e12.
- Maroko, A.R., Maantay, J.A., Sohler, N.L., Grady, K.L., Arno, P.S. 2009. The complexities of measuring access to parks and physical activity sites in New York City: A quantitative and qualitative approach. International Journal of Health Geographics, 8 (1), art. no. 34
- Leslie, E. et al. 2007. Walkability of local communities: Using geographic information systems to objectively assess relevant environmental attributes. Health & Place, 13(1): 111-122