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Using GIS in MCH Research & Planning

Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET

Overview | Presenter Information | Agenda | Resources | Archive


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been used by government and commercial entities for many purposes ranging from urban planning to sales and marketing. GIS allows users to store, edit, and analyze spatial or geographic data, in addition to creating maps presenting the results. The potential for this type of data analysis to provide more detailed information on specific areas and populations and on associations between geography and health outcomes has been recognized and utilized by many public health researchers and program planners.

This DataSpeak conference will provide maternal and child health professionals, researchers, and program planners with a basic understanding of GIS and the methodology involved, as well as examples of how GIS has been used to examine variation in maternal and child health outcomes and disparities in access to care at the State and local level. The Vice Chair of the MCH Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health will begin the conference by providing an overview of GIS and its applications for MCH data analysis. A full professor and MCH researcher in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will demonstrate the use of GIS in spatial analysis through her work examining the impact of neighborhood ethnic density on reproductive outcomes and access to prenatal care in New York City. Finally, the Chief of Epidemiology and Program Development at the California Department of Public Health's, Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Program will discuss how this state has used GIS to map teen birth rates by geographic area and race and ethnicity. He will also provide insights into lessons learned on the use of GIS in program planning and tracking MCH outcomes.