Health Geographics Research Initiative Projects
NYU Langone’s Health Geographics Research Initiative, or GIS Health, has several active projects that involve using geographic data, methods, analysis, and visualization to understand the spatial patterns of health and health behaviors.
Local Measures of Population Health
Using large administrative claims databases, we are developing novel geographic methods to identify local communities that are hot spots of disease at a highly granular level. With these big data samples, we can better provide health services locally and transform the way we measure population health.
New York City Health Atlas
Working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Vital Statistics of New York State, and with financial support from the New York Community Trust and NYU Langone’s Community Service Plan, we are working on developing a comprehensive health atlas of New York City by merging geographic data from multiple sources. This resource will arm academic researchers and public health institutions with the data they need to improve health in areas where health outcomes are particularly poor.
Using GPS to Track Health Behaviors
In several of our studies, we equip participants with global positioning system (GPS) devices to track their health behaviors in a geographic context. For instance, we have studied the relationship between obesity and public housing residents’ ease of mobility within their New York City neighborhoods. Other research analyzes how male residents who have sex with men are influenced by their neighborhoods. We are studying their health behaviors and disease rates in cities like Jackson, Mississippi, as well as in cities abroad such as Paris, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi.
Real-Time Geographic Analysis for Disasters
Using real-time geographic analysis, we are developing new methods to deliver information to those responding to emergency situations. We are also analyzing spatial data obtained after a disaster to help those involved in disaster management prepare and respond to future events. For example, we mapped emergency department visits to flood zones during Hurricane Sandy to identify patients with specific vulnerabilities after a disaster.