Health Geographics Research Initiative
The Health Geographics Research Initiative, or GIS Health, in NYU Langone’s Section on Health Choice, Policy, and Evaluation uses geographic information systems (GIS) and advanced geospatial analysis to study the interplay between where people live, work, and play and their health. We then use our results to better focus population health efforts. Our goal is to understand how “health geography”—the spatial distribution of social, economic, behavioral, and environmental forces—influences population health so we can improve the health of communities in New York City, in other regions of the United States, and around the world.
We partner with a wide range of organizations, such as the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Sullivan County Public Health Services, on collaborative projects, providing the following expertise.
Areas of Expertise
Our team uses a variety of disciplines within the field of geographic science to analyze health geography.
We measure the geography of health in novel ways, such as mapping the “food environment” in a neighborhood to ensure we are targeting healthcare and population health interventions appropriately to the needs in that location.
We identify unique geographic trends within data using advanced techniques in spatial analysis, including hot-spotting, cluster analysis, and spatially weighted regression.
We consult on the accuracy of geographic inputs to ensure analyses are scientifically rigorous.
Mapping and Visualization
We help audiences understand geographic health research by bringing it to life through mapping and other geographic visualizations.
Small Area Analysis
We can help measure very small geographic units, such as neighborhoods, census tracts, and even discrete buildings, using innovative methods, such as spatial empirical Bayesian smoothing, which helps to account for spatial uncertainty in disease rates.
GPS Use in Studies
We work with teams to help equip participants with global positioning system (GPS) devices in studies. GPS data add another level to health research by revealing patterns about how people move around within a neighborhood or other geographic areas.