202864 Using cartograms to illustrate disparities in oral health in Kentucky

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Daniel M. Saman, MPH , Division of Dental Public Health, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, Lexington, KY
Oscar Arevalo, DDS, ScD, MBA, MS , Division of Dental Public Health, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, Lexington, KY
Andrew O. Johnson, PhD , College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Cartograms, or density-equalizing maps, were used to visually depict an oral health indicator and its association to demographic and socioeconomic variables in Kentucky.


We created cartograms (wherein geographic areas such as counties or states are reshaped and resized in proportion to a variable) using ArcGIS 9.1 that visualize indicators including population, education, dental manpower, and income based on county data in Kentucky. Counties were transformed to adjust for the indicators of interest using the Gastner and Newman diffusion algorithm. A shaded depiction (chloropleth) of an oral health indicator (missing 6 or more teeth) was applied to each cartogram.


The maps show the disparities that exist in Kentucky with respect to oral health and the association with oral health and the examined indicators. The disparities in oral health in Kentucky are exacerbated by the striking differences in income and the dental workforce between counties.


The cartograms presented provide a different visual representation of disparities in oral health outcomes and access. These cartograms can be utilized as tools for policy makers to make more informed decisions when allocating funds for oral health.

Learning Objectives:
Assess the oral health disparities in Kentucky using a cartogram as a visual representation of surveillance data.

Keywords: Oral Health, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Education: Masters of public health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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