142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Geospatial Thinking into Public Health Program Delivery - An American Cancer Society Perspective

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Liora Sahar, PhD, GISP , Statistics and Evaluation center, Intramural Research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA
Kenneth M. Portier, Ph D Biostatistics , Intramural Research Department, Corporate Center, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA
Elizabeth Ward, PhD , American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA
Marcia Watts, MBA , Health Promotions, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA
Background:  American Cancer Society (ACS) staff engages in multiple activities to support cancer patients, survivors and caregivers and influence cancer policies in the US.  GIS is a key tool in Public Health program planning, delivery and evaluation. Non-profit programs, such as those in ACS, have not typically used geospatial analysis in planning resource allocation and implementing services, advocacy activities and research funding. While leadership identifies objectives, program managers determine local population targets and activities. Many programs utilize volunteers and staff, and hence program success requires effective communication methodologies.

Objective/Purpose:  Report on geospatial analyses and visualizations needs within ACS and describe how reports containing geospatial products for pilot programs are being distributed across the organization to inform decision making at all levels of the organization.  

Methods:  A needs-assessment to evaluate geospatial data and analysis requirements was performed as part of a larger organizational transformation in ACS.  Program directors were surveyed about data and analysis required to support effective and quality program delivery. Internal and external sources of data and the appropriate tools to satisfy these needs were identified and acquired. 

Results:   Advanced spatial analysis and modeling are used to help target program delivery to focus populations. A transportation shortage index that identifies geographic areas for expansion of patient transportation services (ACS Road To Recovery program) is presented. A geospatial analyses that supports volunteer and patient recruitment efforts for a key quality of life program (the Look Good Feel Better personal appearance and self-image improvement sessions) is also presented.  

Discussion/Conclusions: Establishing robust geospatial analysis and visualization within health non-profits such as ACS enables informed decision making and better planning and resource allocation.  Continued development of programs using geospatial analysis and visualizations are needed to improve program processes and outcomes, and to train staff and volunteers to better target populations in need.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the geospatial need-assessment process as implemented within ACS. Describe the current state of geospatial capacity and the plan to the future. Discuss how advanced data visualization, analysis and modeling can increase efficiency of program delivery and resource utilization specific to ACS program

Keyword(s): Cancer, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the pricipal or co-principal of multiple research funded project in academia, industry, working with the federal govenment and now with the American Cancer Society. I am leading and collaborating on multiple projects aimed at using geospatial technology within the American Cancer Society and with external collaborators.
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.