The Spatial Sciences Institute has had two post-doctoral research associates who have applied spatial concepts and technologies in their academic research and who have exhibited exceptional ability with a strong record of independent research. The post-doctoral research associates were selected based on an evaluation of their promise as future academic leaders. They have carried out both independent and collaborative research with Spatial Sciences Institute faculty, faculty affiliates, and researchers at other institutions.
The post-doctoral research associates for 2015-2017 have been:
Noli Brazil, Ph.D.
2013 Ph.D., Demography, University of California, Berkeley
2013 Graduate Certificate, Geographic Information Systems, California State University, San Francisco
2007 M.S., Statistics, Stanford University
2003 B.S., Business Administration, University of California, Berkeley
2013 – 2015 Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course, Yale University, postdoctoral associate
Dr. Noli Brazil’s research focuses on several areas of inquiry linked by a broad interest in the causes and consequences of educational inequality, neighborhood social organization and social control, and spatial methods in demography with specific applications in population health. These research interests currently take shape in three distinct sets of projects. The first of these projects explores the interactive relationship between neighborhoods and schools in influencing youth education outcomes. The second project examines the relationship between neighborhoods and crime. The final project applies spatial exploratory and regression methods on topics in health and migration.
Dr. Brazil is now an assistant professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of California, Davis.
Loraine A. Escobedo, Ph.D.
2015 Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of Southern California
2008 Master of Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Southern California
2006 B.S., Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of Southern California
As a postdoctoral scholar at the USC Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) from August 2015 – January 2017, I have had the opportunity to further develop interdisciplinary collaborations among the nation’s top experts in geographic information science, preventive medicine, sociology, health policy and economics. My ongoing collaborations include a population-based case-control study that investigates the association of early life factors and early onset melanoma among adolescents and young adults, and a project that aims to incorporate spatial uncertainty from geocoding misclassification into the overall exposure assessment model applied to the role of pesticides in childhood leukemia.
The postdoctoral experience also provided valuable time to develop innovative and impactful projects and seek funding opportunities. As a 2016-2017 Scholar for the Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, I was leading a study that examines spatial and racial/ethnic disparities in adherence to colorectal cancer screening among the elderly using data from SEER-Medicare and the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program. Findings from this pilot study can be directly translated into a comprehensive colorectal cancer control and prevention program to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among age-eligible adults, and ultimately, reduce colorectal cancer mortality and health disparities among this vulnerable group.
The generous professional development funds provided by SSI also allowed me to attend and present at various conferences and meet potential collaborators. One example of this conference was the Community Health Maps workshop held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. The workshop introduced low-cost mapping tools and a manageable workflow that can empower community-based organizations to collect, visualize and analyze geospatial data to improve the health and well-being of their own community members. Working with an interdisciplinary team, I applied the process in the creation of a smartphone-based app designed to collect real-time “Sunsmart” behavior. The presentation of data and results from such user-friendly methods come with responsibilities to maintain geoconfidentiality, a topic I am interested in pursuing and collaborating on with the Community Health Maps project.
In the Fall 2016 semester, I was excited to work with the first cohort of the new Population, Health and Place PhD program through the SSCI 600: Geography of Life and Death course that I co-taught with Dr. John P. Wilson. As part of the Undergraduate Research Associates Program, I also enjoyed working with SSI faculty, the SunSmart project and GeoDesign majors to apply spatial science in real-world public health interventions.
As of January 2017, I became Senior Service Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Division of Vital Statistics (DVS) in Hyattsville, Maryland to lead a project to compute life expectancy estimates as a measure of population health at the census tract-level in the United States.