The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3034.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 8:32 AM

Abstract #73879

Spatial epidemiology: Overview and applications

Daniel Wartenberg, Environmental and Community Medicine, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 170 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, 732-445-0197,

Spatial epidemiology, a relatively new sub-discipline, is the study of the geographic (and space-time) distribution of occurrence of disease and injuries in human populations and the determinants of those occurrences. Although epidemiologic interest was very limited when GIS software was first introduced in the early 1980s, this interest is growing rapidly with the increasing availability of geographically indexed databases of health, population and risk factor information, advances in computing power and GIS tools, and the development new, spatially-based statistical methods. We will discuss four important uses of spatial epidemiology with examples: disease mapping, the visual depiction of the occurrence of disease and injuries by location, for example origin, residence, or occurrence, including methods to address small area (small sample) instability; the investigation of disease clusters, i.e., methods for detecting and characterizing an unusual aggregation of cases in an identifiable subpopulation, including prospective surveillance; data linkage, or methods for assessing the correspondence of geographic patterns of disease or injury with those of suspected risk factors, such as habitat identification for vector-borne diseases; and, spatial study design, such as geographic technology-based improvements in the design and conduct of epidemiologic study, for example for situations with both rare diseases and rare exposures, as in the study of residential magnetic field exposures and childhood leukemia. These examples and applications represent only a glimpse into the rich and varied opportunities in this developing field. This research is supported in part by NCI grant R01 CA92693-01 and ATSDR/CDC cooperative agreement U61/ATU272387.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Geographic Information Systems, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Epidemiologic Applications of Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA