UTH

The Joint Collaborative on Geospatial Analysis & Health (JCoGA&H)

A collaboration of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Get Involved

Mock up City 3D model with map pins on top of houses

About the Collaborative

This collaboration between UTHealth Houston School of Public Health and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) is a part of the UTHealth Houston and MD Anderson Population Health Collaborative.

The environment and context where individuals live, work and play are increasingly recognized as key factors for overall health and wellness, including the risk of chronic disease. Within the last decade, emergent technological capacity in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geospatial data science has resulted in a growing research community developing and applying geospatial approaches in health research and practice.

The Joint Center on Geospatial Analysis & Health (JCoGA&H) was created to conduct and deploy focused geospatial analysis to:

  • Build consensus on shared strategic impact priorities in population health and health equity
  • Enhance access to spatial analysis essential to research, policy analysis, and public health practice
  • Directly enable researchers, public health practitioners, and community-based organizations in Greater Houston, across the State of Texas, and nationally to utilize spatial analysis to improve and inform their work in population health
  • Democratize geospatial data to generate synergy in geospatial data science to improve population health and address health disparities

Core Functionalities

  • Provide state-of-the-art geospatial data analysis and visualization expertise to support chronic disease prevention and control research and practice
  • Provide customized geospatial support to community-based organizations and build community capacity in geospatial technology
  • Establish the strategic and operational structure for a best-in-class strategic resource core in geospatial data analysis and visualization

How to get involved

If you are interested working with us or in receiving spatial analysis consultation, please contact [email protected]. For those interested in collaboration, please complete this survey

Meet our Team

JCoGA&H brings together a multi-disciplinary team of practitioners, researchers, and subject matter experts in public health and health systems research and practice, spatial data expertise, health disparities research, community and stakeholder engagement, and health data informatics. Utilizing this multi-PI governance structure with deep experience in Texas, across the United States, and globally creates a highly-collaborative, solution-focused environment in which learning applied to practice, inclusion of communities, partners, and learners, and capacity building in spatial analysis to advance health are pursued through a team science model:

Co-Directors

Core Team

  • Marcita Galindez, MPH
  • Travis Anthony, MSDS

The Joint Center on Geospatial Analysis & Health was founded through a grant from the UTHealth Houston/MD Anderson Cancer Center Population Health Initiative Collaborative Projects Fund. Principal Investigators of the original study were Cici Bauer, Ph.D., Ryan Ramphul, Ph.D., Larkin Strong, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Michael T. Walsh Jr., M.H.A. The center transitioned to the Joint Collaborative on Geospatial Analysis & Health in March 2024.

Community Partners

Engagement of community stakeholders throughout the development of JCoGA&H represents a differentiating feature of this work, as it ensures that the solutions we provide capture and present information that is relevant and accessible to stakeholders who seek to address chronic disease burden and other health challenges. Working in partnership with communities with limited access to services and resources for health, JCoGA&H leverages several key networks comprised of community-based organizations, clinical providers, and public health practitioners. JCoGA&H interacts intentionally with multiple stakeholders across the region and state, as well as nationally, to advance understanding and application of the environment and context where people live, work and play as key factors in understanding and transforming overall health and wellness. 

Noteworthy current or recent products, analyses and collaborations include:

Texas-Specific Dashboard of CDC PLACES Data

Screenshot of Data dashboard
View the Texas-Specific Dashboard of CDC PLACES Data

How to use our Texas-Specific CDC Places Dashboard

Note 1: This mapping dashboard should be viewed on a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen, not a tablet. It may take some time to load when it’s opened for the first time, but will run smoothly shortly thereafter as the cache memory of your browser adjusts. It works best using the Google Chrome browser.

Note 2: This dashboard uses the newly released CDC PLACES database to identify high disease burden areas and vulnerable populations throughout the state of Texas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) PLACES Project (launched in December, 2020) provides small area estimates (SAE) on 27 chronic disease measures:

  • 5 measures related to unhealthy behaviors
  • 13 health outcomes
  • 9 preventive services

The data sources that generate these measures include the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, Census Bureau population data, and American Community Survey (ACS) estimates. SAEs are displayed at the census-tract level for 2018.

According to CDC, the PLACES project will be updated in the future and may add more measures (e.g., fruit and vegetable consumption) on the basis of CDC public health priorities, public interests, and funding resources.

Note 3:To cite use of Texas-Specific Dashboard of CDC Places Data, please use the following citation: UTHealth-MD Anderson Joint Center on Geospatial Analysis & Health. (2022). Texas-Specific Dashboard of CDC Places Data. Retrieved from [https://sph.uth.edu/projects/jcogah]


Texas-Specific Dashboard of Social Vulnerability

jcogah-dashboard-2
 View the Texas-Specific Dashboard of Social Vulnerability

How to use the Texas Specific SVI Dashboard

Note 1: This mapping dashboard should be viewed on a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen, not a tablet. It may take some time to load when it’s opened for the first time, but will run smoothly shortly thereafter as the cache memory of your browser adjusts. It works best using the Google Chrome browser.

Note 2: This dashboard displays data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) that was formulated to construct a vulnerability index similar to the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index. The CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) uses 15 neighborhood-level census variables to create a vulnerability score for each census tract in the US. Visualizations on this dashboard are unique because they are relative to the state of Texas, unlike other platforms which show data in relation to the entire country. This dashboard is also unique because it displays data at the census block group level, which is a more granular spatial resolution than other platforms.

Note 3: To cite use of Texas-Specific Dashboard of Social Vulnerability, please use the following citation: UTHealth-MD Anderson Joint Center on Geospatial Analysis & Health. (2022). Texas-Specific Dashboard of Social Vulnerability. Retrieved from: [https://sph.uth.edu/projects/jcogah]

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