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Geographic Information Systems aid health research in developed and developing countries
Date:6/12/2013

TAMPA, Fla. (June 12, 2013) The current special issue of Technology and Innovation - Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, is devoted to public health research using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to help provide beneficial data for public health researchers focusing on health risks and food access in rural Alaska; racial disparities in health care and resources in Fort Worth, Texas; and pathways for health care development in remote areas of Nepal.

GIS describes a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present geographical data. GIS merges cartography, statistical analysis and database technology. The researchers whose work is presented in this issue used GIS to better understand the relationship between their populations of inquiry and resources within the populations' spatial dimensions.

In this special issue of T&I, researchers report on their use of the GIS as a research tool and also on the challenges encountered in enlisting GIS.

GIS research in rural Alaska

Tenaya M. Sunbury, Department of Health Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, used GIS to carry out environmental public health tracking of non-fatal falls in rural Alaskan villages and also in accessing the quality and accessibility of healthy foods in Anchorage.

"Considerable potential exists for GIS to play a key role in Alaska and other rural places," said Sunbury. "GIS has the potential to transform public health and bring the 'public' back to 'public health' by bridging the gap between complex epidemiological data and a variety of audiences."

Sunbury evaluated non-fatal falling injuries using data from the Alaska Trauma Registry to geocode patients hospitalized between 1991 and 2009, as well as population data from the U.S. Census. GIS identified sp
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Contact: Judy Lowry
jhlowry@usf.edu
813-974-3181
University of South Florida (USF Innovation)
Source:Eurekalert

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