Spatial Science for Public Health Center
NEW RESEARCH ALERT
COVID Control: A Johns Hopkins Research Study Acquiring health data directly from individuals rather than relying on reports from hospitals or clinics could significantly increase the accuracy and efficiency of identifying COVID-19 outbreaks, and is likely to greatly expand disease surveillance capabilities in the general population. In collaboration with researchers at the School of Medicine and Whiting School of Engineering, we have developed and released an app which allows user to record their self-measured body temperature regularly, and optionally other symptoms including, but not limited to, dry cough, breathing difficulties and change in smell or taste. Temperature and symptoms are then mapped geographically, and spatial statistical methods are used to identify emerging clusters of symptomatic individuals representing potential emerging COVID-19 outbreaks. Using confirmed COVID-19 data for ground truth validation, our analytical approach implements spatial statistical methods to identify regional changes in the likelihood of disease, thereby enabling a selective approach in health policy and resource allocation.
Harnessing the Power of Geography in Public Health
The science of spatial analysis, its development, application, and practice, is inherently multidisciplinary. Maps have become a powerful and integral tool in public health research and practice for conveying spatial information and synthesizing data from multiple sources, and as a catalyst for developing new directions for analyzing and interpreting public health data. However, the field of spatial analysis continues to evolve along a continuum of efforts and areas of expertise. These components include advancing technologies for the collection and creation of spatial information - for example as derived from satellite imagery and cell phone tracking. Further areas focus on the software for mapping and integration of spatial data within a geographic information system as well as the methods of spatial statistics for the analysis and interpretation of mapped data.
The Johns Hopkins Spatial Science for Public Health Center (SSPHC), a joint effort by the departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, promotes a comprehensive approach towards spatial analysis bringing together these key components under a unifying paradigm. Through research and training, the SSPHC provides a nexus for researchers, practitioners and students from various disciplines to continue to develop and advance the field of spatial analysis.