This module is intended to introduce students who have already studied the principles of geographical information systems (GIS) to the concepts, methods and techniques involved in using GIS for the analysis of health. Academic study of the geography of health has traditionally been divided between two traditions - firstly concerned with the causes and spread of disease and secondly with the organisation and use of health care services. The methods and examples covered in this unit 'GIS for Analysis of Health' deal primarily with the first of these. The unit introduces the analysis of health, with a particular objective to show that many of the central concepts surrounding health and disease are in fact ambiguous and contested - they have different meanings to different groups of people and at different times. GIS can play an important role in many aspects of health analysis, but should not be applied without recognition of contextual factors such as the interests of different agencies and the value-laden nature of standard definitions. Using a generalised model for disease causation, the role of environmental, individual behavioural and predisposing factors on health effects are explored. Attention is given to international sources of data describing health events, and the role of GIS is introduced in four analytical areas: mapping of health data; analysis of spatial clustering in health events; analysis of the spread of diseases; and measuring and modelling exposure to risk factors. This course has been designed for blended learning delivery and comprises an extensive set of online learning objects, each of which has associated directed activities. Data files for GIS practicals are provided for students to download and work on locally.
Pre-requisite: GEOG6061 or GGES6013