Amidst the nationwide discussion about suicide and mental health preservation, this map depicts the areas in the United States which suffer from a lack of mental health professionals and facilities. The Health Resource and Service Administration (HRSA) designates Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) scores to determine which areas are the most in need of more health professionals. Higher scores on this scale indicate an area with greater need.
At cursory glance, this map does not follow any overwhelming trends, with respect to cardinal directions; however, this map should spark more discussion about the socioeconomic and environmental factors that play a role in an individual’s access to mental health facilities and care. Conversations should also take place about how to get more mental health professionals established in the areas that in desperate need of service.
More information on this map can be found at the Rural Health Information Hub’s webpage.
The World Health Organization has posted several maps about information pertaining to Global Health. This one in particular shows the annual mean PM2.5 concentration for each country of the world. What is very interesting is the dark band of countries From China to Cameroon and Peru showing the highest average PM2.5 concentrations.
GIS is a powerful tool to represent straight out facts visually. But also a tool that can be used to rise new questions. The application is particularly useful in mixed method approach of a research study.
For example, CDC produced the following data and map on the rates of HIV diagnosis among adults and adolescents.
The maps show the distribution of new HIV cases being higher in the west, the northeast and the south. It shows states of Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Louisiana, and DC are among the top five. These facts among few other obvious ones show the observatory power of maps.
The map also leads to so many research questions :
- Is there a cultural factor that influences high rates in Nevada, given it has a very indigenous cultural makeup?
- What do Alabama and Mississippi do better to control the rates, when they are the geographical adjacents to LA and GA.
- Are there specific policies in DC that help people with HIV lead a better life – policies that help them deal with the stigma.
The are few questions among many that the map brings out.
Hence GIS can be used to represent data but also can be used as a tool to form research questions in mixed method analysis.
As the US continues discussion about states’ rights and the issue of abortion, this map depicts the differing stances taken by each state. You can see clusters of like-minded opinions, making this information valuable in any future discussion about abortive rights. You can find more information on this map at Guttmacher Institutes’ web page.
GIS a relatively new and is finding its way to improve health. Developing countries deal with more technological challenges to make use of GIS. But nonetheless, a very effective project with implication and impact on the local community of Ahmedabad, India is shown below. The project was impactful – was able to communicate the uneducated & also the educated mass on the issue. It went on to be heard by local policymakers too.
The above map developed by UMC in help with AMC staff shows the spatial distribution of slums and community health centers across the city.
UMC staff visited AMC’s existing UHCs and CHCs to understand their functioning and understand the requirements for upgrading facilities. UMC developed a methodology which involved meetings and interviews with health staff including medical officers, pharmacists, lab technicians, multi-purpose workers (MPW) etc. Separate SWOT analysis was conducted with medical health workers and with pharmacists, lab technicians and MPWs. UMC with assistance of AMC staff, identified slum pockets and communities on the base map of Ahmedabad and also marked existing health facilities provided by the AMC. These maps were later transferred to a GIS environment to analyze the accessibility of health facilities by slum dwellers. This assisted in locating newer health facilities as proposed under the NUHM. UMC also has prepared model layouts for the new proposed health centres for the AMC. A detailed phase-wise budget and a proposal was prepared for the AMC for submission to Government of India under the NUHM.
Source: Office of Urban Development Authority of Ahmedabad, India.
The Word Dental Federation created a map on the average consumption of sugars and sweeteners, measured by grams per person per day. This map is one of many maps created by the World Dental Federation about the indicators and factors of oral health and oral health related issues. Based on the map below, in most countries in the world, including the U.S., individuals are consuming more than 100 grams of sugar per person per day. This information is significant for developing policies and issues regarding oral health issues and chronic illnesses.
Visit the World Dental Federation’s website here to learn more about their work and maps related to oral health.
The following map is from the World Dental Federation. This map shows the incidence rate per 100,000 people of oral and lip cancer in individuals who are 15 years of age and older. Based on this map, the U.S. appears to have an oral cancer incidence rate of 5.0 – 6.9 per 100,000 people. This incidence rate is higher than other countries, which aren’t as developed or economically stable. Maps like this are important in understanding the differences in incidence and prevalence rates of many oral health-related issues.
For more information on the World Dental Federation and their maps on various oral health indicators, check out their website, here.