AAG Theme: Geography, GIScience, and Health: Building the International Geospatial Health Research Network (IGHRN)

Building on a foundation of numerous AAG initiatives with the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, this Special Theme of the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting will explore new frontiers in geospatial health research and applications and generate research synergies through the expansion of the International Geospatial Health Research Network (IGHRN).  It will also address progress achieved by the AAG Initiative for an NIH-wide Geospatial Infrastructure for Health Research. These AAG initiatives have generated an increased awareness by health researchers as well as other geographers of the core role that geography and GIScience can play in addressing global health needs, both in research and in practice. The theme seeks to bring together national and international scholars, practitioners, and policy makers from different specialties, institutions, sectors, and continents to share ideas, findings, methodologies, and technologies, and to establish, and strengthen personal connections, communication channels and research collaborations through the IGHRN.
We welcome participation from geographers, GIScientists, health researchers, and other scientists working at the frontiers of geography, GIScience, and health at the AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 3-7, 2019. Papers on all aspects of health research and its intersections with geography or GIScience are welcome. Topics may include but are not limited to:

• genomes, exposome, and geography
• exposure monitoring utilizing real-time, smartphone-based sensing, GPS/GIS methods
• spatial patterns of drug abuse and treatment
• mental health and the environment 
• migration and health
• gene-environment interactions
• crowd sourcing of geospatial data for health
• social media data for health 
• mHealth and global health service delivery initiatives
• health disparities and inequalities
• disease ecologies
• interactions among environment, pathogens, humans, and institutions
• neighborhood effects on health behaviors and outcomes
• geographies of public health policies
• spatial and spatiotemporal analysis and modeling of disease
• advances in spatial and space-time statistics for health 
• mobilities and health
• life course and health
• health care provision, access, and utilization
• health and well-being
• methodological issues in health research (e.g., Modifiable Areal Unit Problem, Uncertain Geographic Context Problem)
• international comparison of health issues
• global health research and public health initiatives
• geocoding, geoprivacy and sharing of confidential geospatial data 

For more information, please contact members of the Theme organizing committee at geohealth@aag.org. The Symposium organizing committee members are:

Mei-Po Kwan (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) – Co-Chair
Kirsten Beyer (Medical College of Wisconsin) – Co-Chair
Yonette Thomas (International Society for Urban Health) – Co-Chair
Doug Richardson (American Association of Geographers) – Co-Chair

David Berrigan (National Institutes of Health - NCI)
 Ling Bian (University at Buffalo, SUNY)
Yanwei Chai (Peking University, China)
Eric Delmelle (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
Zan Dodson (American Association of Geographers)
Susan Elliot (University of Waterloo, Canada)
Michael Emch (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Jessica Finlay (University of Michigan)
Debarchana Ghosh (University of Connecticut)
Peng Gong (Tsinghua University, China)
Sue Grady (Michigan State University)
Daniel Griffith (University of Texas, Dallas)
Tim Hawthorne (University of Central Florida)
Marco Helbich (Utrecht University, the Netherlands)
Robin Kearns (University of Auckland, New Zealand) 
Yongmei Lu (Texas State University)
Sara McLafferty (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Jeremy Mennis (Temple University)
Jamie Pearce (University of Edinburgh, U.K.)
Kin Qin (Wuhan University, China)
Mark Rosenberg (Queen’s University, Canada)
Clive Sabel (Aarhus University, Denmark)
Xun Shi (Darthmouth College)
John Shi (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Lwasa Shuaib (Makerere University Kampala, Uganda)
R.B. Singh (University of Delhi)
Kathleen Stewart (University of Maryland)
Chetan Tiwari (University of North Texas-Denton)
Jinfeng Wang (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)
Michael Widener (University of Toronto, Canada)
Zaria Tatalovich (National Institutes of Health - NCI) 
 

Featured Sponsored Sessions

Wednesday, April 3


Local Lessons, Global Solutions in the Urban Health-Geography Nexus
Sponsored by the International Society for Urban Health 
12:40 PM – 2:20 PM
Washington 6, Marriott, Exhibition Level

 
The future of global health is urban and calls for a focus on the intersection of geography and urban health. The global development agenda has recently entered a new era under the Sustainable Development Goals framework. This framework presents a broad, universalist approach with a strong focus on equity, leaving no one behind. Cities are critical to the urban health/geography dynamic since 55 percent of the world’s population dwells in cities, with a projected growth of 2.5 billion by 2050. Significantly, 90 percent of that population will be in lower-and-middle-income-countries (LMICs) primarily in Africa and Asia. For example, despite being the least urbanized globally, sub-Saharan Africa is rapidly urbanizing, with its urban population is projected to reach 55% by 2050. In line with the Sustainable Development Goal agenda, understanding specific health and livelihood conditions of urban communities require adequate data at local levels often lacking through national surveys, which mostly provide national indicators that blur inter- and intra-sub-group inequities. The evidence suggests that urban residents have better health than their rural counterparts but that the advantages of urban life are unevenly distributed. Determinants of health include spatial geography, urban development, and city governance; they include access, distribution and maintenance of urban resources, amenities and infrastructures. In this panel, we discuss local solutions with potential global impact.
 

Saturday, April 6

Women and Girls: The Intersection of Health and Geography
Sponsored by the Women’s Economic Imperative (WEI) 
1:10 PM – 2:50 PM
Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level

 
Women constitute half of the world’s population. They make significant economic and social contributions toward the health and wellbeing of societies, communities, and families. Yet their contributions are systematically undervalued and discounted across the globe. The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, honed-in on the need to focus on the role of healthy women when he said: “Women’s economic empowerment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. We will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if there is no accelerated action to empower women economically. We know that women’s participation in all spheres of life, including in the economy, is essential to sustainable and durable peace and to the realization of human rights.” United Nations, March 2017. The objective of this session is to engage thinkers and policy makers in a discussion on the role and status of women at the intersection health and geography and the implications for global wellbeing, economic and social development.  

Browse the Session Schedule

Highlighted Sessions and Plenaries

Thursday, April 4 

 

Plenary: Integrating Geography, GIScience, and Health Research
1:10 PM - 2:50 PM
Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
This plenary will feature leading scholars who will discuss research and trends at the nexus of Geography, GIScience, and Health Research. 

Panel: Replication of Scientific Research: An Integrated Approach to Sharing, Accessing, and Building on Research Involving Confidential Geospatial Data
3:05 PM - 4:45 PM
Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
The ability to replicate and reproduce research is a cornerstone of the scientific method. While most research funding agencies encourage or require data sharing, open access, and the replication of research results by other researchers, these goals are often thwarted by legal or technical restrictions when such research involves confidential geospatial data. This session proposes an integrated and robust approach to the persistent challenges of sharing and accessing research data needed to advance science, while also protecting and building on the rapidly increasing body of research involving confidential geospatial data.


Friday, April 5

Workshop: An integrated approach for sharing, accessing, and analyzing confidential geospatial data: the Geospatial Virtual Data Enclave (GVDE) 

8:00 AM - 9:40 AM
Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level

This workshop is open to anyone involved in research using or collecting confidential geospatial data. Attendees will be introduced to the GVDE as an integrated platform for research involving confidential geospatial data, and given a brief overview of unique challenges associated with these data, as well as the importance of providing viable solutions to securely share and access data for replication of scientific research. In this workshop, a demonstration will be provided on how to gain access to this platform and the geospatial data analysis capabilities of the platform, followed by interactive discussions with the audience regarding the GVDE platform and important considerations for research using confidential geospatial data. 

Plenary: Global Perspectives on Geospatial Health Research

1:10 PM - 2:50 PM
Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level

This plenary will feature leading international scholars and policymakers who will provide global perspectives on current geospatial health research, and address policy needs.

Panel: Building the International Geospatial Health Research Network

3:05 PM - 4:45 PM
Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level

Panelists will summarize new research frontiers in geospatial health research and share their perspective on fostering international networks to share findings across borders and generate synergies. IGHRN’s main objectives include research and service by its affiliate organizations at the forefront of geospatial data and advanced analytics to address health issues ranging from, but not limited to, climate change and environmental and social determinants of health, to chronic, infectious, and biological disease and mental illness. The IGHRN will facilitate the sharing of geographic and geospatial health data and resources among international global health providers and institutes around the world to improve health research.

Saturday, April 6

Workshop: Geomasking techniques built-into an integrated platform for research involving confidential geospatial data: the Geospatial Virtual Data Enclave (GVDE)

9:55 AM - 11:35 AM
Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
This workshop is open to anyone involved in research using or collecting confidential geospatial data. Attendees will be introduced to the GVDE as an integrated platform for research involving confidential geospatial data, and given a brief overview of unique challenges associated with these data, as well as the importance of providing viable solutions to securely share and access data for replication of scientific research. In this workshop, a demonstration will be provided of built-in geomasking capabilities of the GVDE platform to protect data confidentiality, followed by interactive discussions with the audience regarding appropriate use of geomasking techniques in different scenarios and the importance of defining geomasking parameters.

Plenary: Wrap up of the AAG Geospatial Health Theme: Emerging Trends in Geospatial Health Research

1:10 PM - 2:50 PM
Marshall South, Marriott, Mezzanine Level

This plenary will provide an overview of the research that has been shared during the sessions in the “Geography, GIScience, and Health” theme. Speakers will summarize and discuss trends, challenges, and future directions which have emerged from the AAG’s GeoHealth theme during this Annual Meeting.