June 6, 2012

BSSR Lecture: Geospatial Methods in Health Research

Speaker - Ellen Cromley, PhD, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Geospatial methods have established their value in health research and in public health practice over the last 30 years, but there remains great potential for developing the role of these methods in health even further. This presentation outlines key geospatial concepts and their relevance to a broad range of issues in health research design, from study site selection and sampling to data acquisition and analysis to dissemination of findings to research protections for human subjects. The lecture includes an introduction to global and local spatial statistics, spatial regression models, and models of spatially varying processes. The presentation suggests ways to make health research more spatial and better able to uncover from the vast data available the key configurations of factors that come together in particular places to affect our health.

Ellen Cromley is a medical geographer. She completed a B.A. in Urban and Environmental Studies at Case Western Reserve University, an M.A. in Geography from Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Kentucky. She co-authored GIS and Public Health (2002) with Sara McLafferty. The second edition was published in October, 2011. She began her career at Hunter Health Plan in Lexington, Kentucky, a Neighborhood Health Center, and worked for Appalachian Regional Hospitals before her career as a professor in the Department of Geography, University of Connecticut. She spent four years as Senior Research Associate at The Institute for Community Research in Hartford, Connecticut, as an investigator on grants funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (alcohol as a factor in sexual risk behavior among young men in slum communities of Mumbai, India), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (housing status and stability among low income drug users in Hartford), and the National Institute of Mental Health (delivery of a multi-level intervention to promote female condom use). She has been a consultant on a research project funded by the National Cancer Institute environmental factors affecting physical activity in older women). Dr. Cromley has served as a career development award mentor for researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Connecticut Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention who were seeking to integrate geographic methods and GIS into their work. She served as a member of the NIH Community-Level Health Promotion study section.

This page last reviewed on May 1, 2015