Presentation Title

Say Yes to GIS: Spatial Analysis in a Health and Inequality Curriculum

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

Social Epidemiology looks at how political, economic, and social factors create particular patterns of disease. GIS (Geographic Information Systems) lets you view and analyze data spatially on a map.

In this presentation, we will share what we learned during two semesters of incorporating GIS into a 200 level Social Epidemiology course at Haverford College. Overall, we found that, despite a significant learning curve, challenges finding and using good data, and considerations adjusting the curriculum to incorporate GIS, GIS offered unique benefits for understanding the relationship between health disparities and various political, economic, and social factors.

Start Date

5-24-2018 2:45 PM

Description

Social Epidemiology looks at how political, economic, and social factors create particular patterns of disease. It is particularly concerned with unjust exposures and health outcomes, focusing on the ways that widespread inequalities in health are maintained by social systems and structures. These political, economic, and social factors--as well as patterns of diseases--are inherently connected with geography and place. Where are people dying from opioid overdoses? Where are people dying from homicides? What is the life expectancy in a given neighborhood? How does that compare with income, education, vocations for those same places? Are people healthier if they have a farm market or supermarket in their neighborhood? GIS (Geographic Information Systems) provides a great tool for exploring such questions.

Anne Montgomery (Visiting Assistant Professor of Health Studies at Haverford College) teamed up with Sharon Strauss (Instructional Technology and Training Specialist at Haverford College) and Vicky Tam (Senior GIS Analyst at the University of Pennsylvania) to incorporate Geographic Information Systems, or GIS. Many students were new to both the concepts of Social Epidemiology and GIS.

In this presentation, we will share what we learned during two semesters of incorporating GIS into a 200 level Social Epidemiology course at Haverford College. We will provide an overview of the GIS tool we used, ArcGIS Online. Then we will discuss successes and challenges in selecting a GIS tool, adjusting the curriculum to include a significant GIS component, teaching GIS to the class, finding and uploading good data, and presenting data clearly and meaningfully on a map. We hope to hear experiences from session participants that have used GIS in other courses, or taught similar courses without a GIS component.

Overall, we found that, despite the significant learning curve and other challenges, GIS offered unique benefits for understanding the relationship between political, economic, and social factors and health disparities. Through our session, we hope to give participants a framework for understanding what is involved with spatial analysis, and both why and how you can incorporate it into courses in social sciences.

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May 24th, 2:45 PM

Say Yes to GIS: Spatial Analysis in a Health and Inequality Curriculum

Social Epidemiology looks at how political, economic, and social factors create particular patterns of disease. GIS (Geographic Information Systems) lets you view and analyze data spatially on a map.

In this presentation, we will share what we learned during two semesters of incorporating GIS into a 200 level Social Epidemiology course at Haverford College. Overall, we found that, despite a significant learning curve, challenges finding and using good data, and considerations adjusting the curriculum to incorporate GIS, GIS offered unique benefits for understanding the relationship between health disparities and various political, economic, and social factors.