An international group of leaders in the health GIS field, including SSI’s Director John Wilson, have released a summary of this year’s Vespucci Institute meeting hosted by USC earlier this year on Catalina Island.
The report, published in the Journal of Spatial Information Science, identifies key trends in the practice of health GIS, including:
- major initiatives through which new data are available
- development of technologies that can more closely tie environmental conditions to individual exposures, such as wearable sensors
- deployment of games as a means to motivate healthy behaviors
- advances in geographically specific data on genetic and biological determinants of disease.
Four promising future research directions were proposed at the meeting, including: 1) much closer ties between environmental data and disease, through creation of health landscapes with multiple health layers that can be analyzed spatially; 2) emergence of many spatial tools in the health marketplace, both for personal monitoring and for health management; 3) better incorporation of lag periods between exposure and disease in space-time models of disease; and 4) incorporating advances in exposure data to move away from place of residence as the proxy for exposure.
SSI maintains strong ties with health researchers across the USC campus and has several faculty affiliates from the health sciences.