GIS in Health Research

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

General Research sites focusing on GIS in health research and applications

Exposure and Risk Analysis – examples of peer-reviewed literature

  • 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

Physical Activity and Environmental Influences – Research Resources

  • Active Living Research - http://www.activelivingresearch.org/ - Active Living Research is a $12.5-million national program of The Robert Wood Johnson FoundationĀ® (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

Physical Activity and Environmental Influences – examples of peer-reviewed literature

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