Geographic Information Systems and Health Applications

Geographic Information Systems and Health Applications

Omar A. Khan (Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, USA) and Ric Skinner (Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA)
Release Date: July, 2002|Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 344
ISBN13: 9781591400424|ISBN10: 1591400422|EISBN13: 9781591400769|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-042-4


The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the health sector is an idea whose time has come. The current applications of GIS in health are diverse and extensive. The present GIS environment is heavily driven by technology and such an approach is indeed logical for the most part. However, the needs of less-developed countries in utilizing the concepts and technologies of mapping should not be neglected in the continuing evolution of GIS. Geographic Information Systems and Health Applications presents a sampling of the many applications utilizing GIS in the field of health.

Reviews and Testimonials

The mid nineties saw a profusion of interest in GIS applications to health. This helped to promote the dissemination and acceptance of this new data management, analysis and display methodology in a variety of health fields. In many cases, however, data was displayed in an exploratory fashion, without enough input being given to the methodological aspects of spatial data measurement, analysis and description. This resulted in simplistic, and sometimes erroneous, interpretations leading to some wariness and disillusionment with GIS as a tool that could be used in a wide variety of settings with some level of ease and confidence. This book is an important step in attempting to address this issue. It gives examples of how a variety of methodological approaches can be used for health applications utilizing GIS. While the book does set a high methodological standard for the application of this technology, it offers insight to how this can be applied in a wide variety of settings, ranging form academic to service delivery, industrial to developing country settings.

– Dr Saqib Shahab, Medical Health Officer, Canada

This book is remarkable in shedding light on the spatial aspects of disease and its socioeconomic correlates, public health, preventative measures, and the availability of health resources. The chapters include a variety of spatial and statistical analysis models and techniques, drawn from public health, epidemiology, and medicine. Often geographic information systems (GIS) are utilized as a complement along with other technologies and techniques, such as GPS, remote sensing, and market share analysis. The scope of the book is worldwide, with studies of health problems in North America, Asia, and the Pacific. The contributions provide valuable insights into disease and public health problems and solutions, and elucidate a group of current spatial and GIS models and methods that scientists and practitioners can apply to similar studies. This book is an excellent contribution to the GIS and health literature.

– James B. Pick, University of Redlands, USA

In many ways this volume is successful in bringing together a comprehensive picture of how GIS are being used for health applications.

– Annals of the Geographic Information Systems and Health Applications, March 2004, Volume 94, Number 1.

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Omar A. Khan has a keen interest in the field of health and GIS and has served as co-chair of the First and Second International Health Geographics Conferences. His interests include health care for the under-served and an active research interest in international health. Khan is currently at the University of Vermont. He served as the first Director of the South Asia Infectious Disease Network (SAIDNET) and presently works with the South Asia Public Health Forum as well. He has served as a consultant for the US Dept of Health & Human Services as well as international disease control programs such as the AIDS International Training & Research Program (AITRP), through the University of Alabama School of Public Health.
Ric Skinner is the Senior GIS Coordinator in the Geographic Information System Program in the Department of Surgery at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. Ric provides overall coordination of GIS activities at BMC and with BMC’s community, state and national partners, as well as supports GIS Program staff, in the application of GIS to healthcare. Ric has over 30 years of professional experience: 12 years in the utilization of GIS in healthcare and environmental areas, and over 20 years pursuing research in environmental management and assessment. Prior to BMC, he was a Research Scientist in the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services providing GIS support on epidemiology studies, specifically in cancer control and prevention. He was also the department’s GIS Coordinator and Representative to the Interagency GIS Team. In the mid-1990s, Ric was an independent consultant providing GIS services to several hospitals in eastern Pennsylvania and a major healthcare information provider in Virginia. The majority of his professional career was spent in environmental monitoring and surveillance for electric power companies in Michigan and Pennsylvania. During this time he also designed, constructed and operated three aquatic bioassay laboratories. Ric initiated and co-chaired the First International Health Geographics Conference in 1998 in Baltimore, MD, and co-chaired the Second International Health Geographics Conference in 2000 in Washington, DC. He is on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Health Geographics. He has authored or co-authored over 100 publications, reports and presentations on such topics as GIS, health geographics, and environmental management and assessment.