Geospatial Core

About the Core

The mission of the Big Data Health Science Center Geospatial Core is to conduct cutting-edge geospatial research and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) science and provide training in the use of GIS, spatial analytics, and other technologies to enhance multidisciplinary health-related research in South Carolina.

Core members include Drs. Jan Eberth (Core Director), Whitney Zahnd (Co-Director), Melissa Nolan, Zhenlong Li, Dwayne Porter, Susan Cutter, and Nathaniel Bell. If you are interested in learning more about our Core services or to become a Core member, please contact Dr. Eberth at jmeberth@mailbox.sc.edu.

Activity 1

Innovative research is taking place within the Geospatial Core. Our investigators are currently conducting funded research to quantify the impact of residential location on health outcomes, harness social media data to monitor health trends, identify geographic pockets of social vulnerability and resilience, detect disease outbreaks, and describe trends in access to health care services.

Activity 2

Members of the Geospatial Core have diverse content expertise to share with your team. We offer hands-on help and consultation to incorporate GIS and spatial analytics into your business strategy, research project or grant, or data system. Our faculty can also assist your team with spatial data collection, management, analysis and dissemination strategies.

Activity 3

The Geospatial Core hosts seminars, courses, and workshops on GIS and spatial analytics for investigators and trainees across a broad range of disciplines. Check the Events tab for more information and future event dates. Contact our Director for course-related listings offered on the UofSC campus.

Faculty

Jan M. Eberth, Ph.D.

Core Director

Dr. Eberth employs geospatial, statistical, and qualitative approaches to understand the distribution and causes of cancer disparities, with the larger goal of identifying policy- and systems-level solutions to make health equity a reality. Her research team is currently engaged in studies examining cancer screening accessibility in the U.S. and its impact on patient-level outcomes. As Director of the Rural and Minority Health Research Center at the Arnold School of Public Health, Dr. Eberth works with investigators across the university to identify and address problems experienced by rural and minority populations in order to guide research, policy, and related advocacy.

Whitney Zahnd, Ph.D.

Core Co-Director

 

Dr. Zahnd utilizes social epidemiologic, spatial, and health services research methods to address rural and geographic disparities across the cancer control continuum. She has a particular interest in reducing cancer disparities among rural minority populations.

Melissa Nolan’s research interests lie in infectious diseases and health disparities. Her work focuses on patient-oriented public health approaches to tackle diseases that disproportionately affect the impoverished. Her current projects focus on the clinical epidemiologic characterization of Chagas disease in the US, Mexico, and Central America, developing a remote sensing model for prioritizing mosquito breeding habitats for insecticide spraying in resource-limited areas, clarifying the immunologic response to polyparasitism in pediatric populations, and refining trichomoniasis patient profiles of at-risk adolescents.

Zhenlong Li, Ph.D.

Core Member

Dr. Li’s primary research field is GIScience with a focus on spatial computing, big data analytics, and geospatial cyberinfrastructure/cyberGIS. By synthesizing cutting-edge computing technologies, geospatial methods, and spatiotemporal principles, Dr. Li and his Geoinformation and Big Data Research Lab aim to accelerate spatial information extraction and advance knowledge discovery to support domain applications such as disaster management, climate analysis, human dynamics, and public health.

Dr. Porter’s research interests include exploring and expanding the increasingly important roles that technology and technological innovations play in monitoring, assessing, modeling and managing our environmental resources and associated environmental, public health and environmental justice issues. Dr. Porter focuses on the use of the tools of GISciences to develop and apply spatial models to study the impacts of anthropogenic and physiographic influences to coastal resources and potential human health concerns. 

Susan L. Cutter

Core Member

Dr. Susan Cutter is a Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography at the University of South Carolina where she directs the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute.  Her primary research interests are in the area of disaster vulnerability/resilience science and how vulnerability and resilience are measured, monitored, and assessed.  

Dr. Bell’s research program of research addresses three topics: (1) societal determinants of health; (2) methodologic research on improving access to and outcomes of medical care; and (3) conceptual frameworks to understand, analyze, and improve access to and outcomes of medical care.

Kevin Remington

Core Member

 Kevin Remington is the Campus GIS Coordinator