Become a Public Health Leader in Spatial Frontiers with GeoHealth
Through a groundbreaking collaboration at the University of Southern California, online students in the internationally recognized Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Master of Public Health can specialize in GeoHealth by completing four spatial sciences concentration courses offered by the top-ranked USC Spatial Sciences Institute.
In the Master of Public Health GeoHealth track, the first specialization of its kind, you have an exclusive opportunity to:
- Develop your leadership skills as a spatially-enabled health professional.
- Explore how geographical contexts shape health outcomes, trends and inequalities.
- Discover why public health increasingly relies on spatial sciences.
The connections between public health and spatial sciences can be traced back to 1854, when Dr. John Snow used a map to identify the source of the contaminated water that spawned the cholera outbreak in Soho, England. Over 150 years later, subspecialties throughout public health increasingly rely on spatial sciences across the entire disease and human health spectrum, from fundamental science in disease causation (with an increased emphasis on environmental exposure assessment) to the assessment of the impact of health interventions at a global scale. Public health practitioners use Geographic Information Systems to develop effective frameworks for local, regional, national, and global action. Public health researchers aim to understand the geographic patterns that connect people, places, economic factors, and cultural values with well-being.
Here is a sample of geohealth research being conducted by USC faculty:
- Lue, E. and Wilson, J. P., Mapping fires and Red Cross aid with demographic indicators of vulnerability. Disasters 39: in press (2017).
- Chen, Z., Salam, M.T., Toledo-Corral, C., Watanabe, R.M., Xiang, A.H., Buchanan, T.A., Habre, R., Bastain, T.M., Lurmann, F., Wilson, J.P., Trigo, E., and Gilliland, F.D., Ambient air pollutants have adverse effects on insulin and glucose homeostatis in Mexican Americans. Diabetes Care, 39, 547-554 (2016).
- Ghosh, R., Lurmann, F., Perez, L., Penfold, B., Brandt, S., Wilson, J.P., Millet, M., Kunzli, N., and McConnell, R.S., Near roadway air pollution and coronary heart disease: Burden of disease and potential impact of greenhouse gas reduction. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124, 193-200 (2016).
- Ferguson, W.J., Kemp, K., & Kost, G., Using a geographic information system to enhance patient access to point-of-care diagnostics in a limited-resource setting. International Journal of Health Geographics, 15, 10 (2016).
- VoPham, T.M., Wilson, J.P., Ruddell, D., Rashed, T., Brooks, M.A., Yuan, J.M., Talbott, E.O., Chang, C.C.H., & Weissfeld, J.L., Linking pesticides and human health: A geographic information system (GIS) and Landsat remote sensing method to estimate agricultural pesticide exposure.Applied Geography, 62, 171-181 (2015).
- Chen, Z. Salam, M. T., Karim, R., Toledo-Corral, C. M., Watanabe, R. M., Xiang, A. H., Buchanan, T. A., Habre, R., Bastain, T. M., Lurmann, F., Taher, M., Wilson, J. P., Trigo, E., Gilliland, F. D., Living near a freeway is associated with lower bone mineral density among Mexican Americans. Osteoporosis International 26, 1713-1721 (2015).
- Cederbaum, J. A., Petering, R., Hutchinson, M. K., He, A. S., Wilson, J. P., Jemmott, J. B., and Jemmott , L .S., Alcohol outlet density and related use within an urban population in Philadelphia public housing communities. Health and Place 31, 31-38 (2015).
- Brandt S J, Perez L, Künzli N, Lurmann F, Wilson J P, Pastor M, and McConnell R, Near-roadway air pollution and the cost of childhood asthma exacerbations in Los Angeles County. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 134, 1028-35 (2014).
- Hricko, A., Rowland, G., Eckel, S., Logan, A., Taher, M., and Wilson, J. P., Global trade, local impacts: Lessons from California on health impacts related and environmental justice concerns for residents living near freight rail yards. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11, 1914- 1941 (2014).
- Dueker, D., Taher, M., Wilson, J. P., and McConnell, R. S., Evaluating children’s locations using a personal GPS logging instrument: Limitations and lessons learned. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 24, 244-252 (2014).
- Perez, L., Lurmann, F., Wilson, J. P., Pastor, M., Brandt, S. J., Künzli, N., and McConnell, R. Near-roadway pollution and childhood asthma: Implications for developing “win-win” compact urban development and clean vehicle strategies. Environmental Health Perspectives 120, 1619-1626 (2012).
The GeoHealth track of the Master of Public Health online program is designed to prepare your critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills, which are fundamental to spatial analysis, visualization and problem solving. Through a combination of foundational and track-specific courses, you can gain an in-depth understanding of how public health functions in today’s world and how you can make an impact through spatial methods and analysis. In addition, the practicum provides you with an up-close-and-personal experience in a community agency to further enhance your understanding of public health as a whole and the important role that the spatial sciences play in maintaining and improving people’s health and well-being.
Students will develop individual and small group projects to develop and apply their coursework, the themes and goals of which could spring from their current professional work or from potential future career opportunities. Spatial Sciences Institute and MPH faculty collaborate to advise and guide GeoHealth students in spatially-related capstone projects.
Offered in a flexible online format, the 16-unit MPH GeoHealth track can be completed in as few as 2 years.
Take two track core courses (8 units):
Then choose two track electives (8 units) from:
For individuals who want to work at the forefront of public health management, the field of geospatial health sciences provides a variety of career opportunities in local, regional, state, federal and international health agencies.
Organizations that recognize the importance of using GIS data, spatial analysis, and mapping in public health include:
- American Public Health Association
- Association of American Geographers
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network
- Departments of Public Health
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Hewlett Foundation
- National Cancer Institute
- National Institutes of Health
- National Library of Medicine
- National Science Foundation
- Urban and Regional Information Systems Association
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Trust for America’s Health
- World Health Organization
Those interested in the geospatial distribution of health information include:
- Policy makers
- Consumer groups
- Academic researchers
- Health officials
Those working at the intersection of geography and health also include health insurance providers and other users of bioinformatics and biostatistics, epidemiology and genetics of diseases, environmental health and health behavior research, including cancer, disease prevention and global health, environmental health and health behavior research.
Researchers in geohealth are exploring the adoption of spatial methods to understand better how place-based features and social characteristics affect health and human well-being and the integration of spatial methods, digital media and social networks to facilitate space-time research and spatial simulation in a series of health settings.