GIS and Health Symposium call for abstracts

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The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), in partnership with the American Public Health Association, invites abstract submissions for the 2016 GIS and Health Symposium. The theme for this year’s Symposium is “Mapping the Way to Healthy Communities.” The event takes place June 1-3, 2016 in Washington, DC. and abstract submissions are due on March 15.

University of South Florida Distinguished University Professor Russell S. Kirby, serves on the symposium planning committee. He notes, “This is our fifth national conference. The symposium program will be developed, in large part, from abstracts submitted by the community through this call.”

The Committee welcomes the submission of individual papers, complete sessions and panel discussions on a variety of GIS-related topics. Specifically, the committee seeks abstracts related to the following topics:

  • Connecting health with spatial relationships (and data) – thinking about health in a more spatial format
  • Tools for policy-makers, planners, researchers.
  • Role of GIS in communicating health information/issues
  • Health impact assessments
  • Metrics/measuring health outcomes through GIS
  • Creating synergy between the public health realm and urban and regional entities carrying out planning, research and policy.
  • Focused policy session – cross-sector session addressing the Surgeon General’s National Prevention Strategy “Health in All Policies” approach
  • Access to healthcare / health facilities and services
  • Agriculture and food systems (access to healthy foods, food safety)
  • Active living, recreation, and physical activity from transportation; obesity strategies and interventions
  • Health equity (include income considerations, minority groups, aging, persons with disabilities, etc.)
  • Urban ecology/urban health – natural and human systems (social ecology; humans and environment)
  • Climate change/resiliency – effects on natural and human health/systems
  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Health and hazards
  • Crime, violence, personal safety/health
  • Injuries, disabilities, risk
  • Built environment – land use, transportation, resource management systems, Complete Streets, infrastructure, “Healthy Communities” (Applying GIS to Build a Healthy Community); also livability; active communities (transportation and recreation)
  • Epidemiology; disease vectors; spread of infectious diseases – emerging technologies and health issues (Ebola response, Zika virus, PAHO)
  • Exposures (air quality, water quality, lead, etc.)
  • Chronic diseases and the environment, including cancers, diabetes and obesity
  • Mobile field data collection mobile field data collection (examples: homeless point in time counts, food safety/restaurant inspections, facility inspections that includes things like hospitals, nursing homes, foster care sites, etc.)
  • Community mapping; crowd-sourcing health-related data
  • Data privacy, confidentiality
  • Other related topics


Additional details about the symposium and submission process can be found at Specific questions may be directed to Dr. Russell S. Kirby at