Programme and videos

TODAY'S THEME: geo-health

Wednesday 27 October 2021 - Lead by Ellen-Wien Augustijn & Carmen Anthonj


Welcome coffee/tea (8.30 hrs)

Opening by Karin Pfeffer

Keynote presentations: Geo-Health in research and practice

Ellen-Wien Augustijn on Geo-Health and the Living Textbook

Jürg Utzinger (Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Basel, Switzerland)

Studying Geo-Health and career paths after: Alumni and students' perspectives 

Lunch served in the annex for participants of the sessions


Networking for career paths in Geo-Health: Alumni and students' perspectives



Healthy populations are critical to sustainable development, with numerous factors determining health including population characteristics, socioeconomic conditions, the environment, exposure to health risks and access to healthcare and governance. In spite of the progress made in global health over the past decades, many challenges remain. Today we discuss how to address global health challenges, involving global public health and geoinformation science experts, alumni and students from ITC for keynote lectures, sharing of experiences and discussions, for network sessions and matchmaking events.

At ITC, one of our focus areas is Geohealth: the integration of geographic information, technologies and spatial concepts with epidemiology. We consider health and disease are complex and require a dynamic approach to understanding the drivers behind the patterns that we see. Geospatial technologies and GiScience play a vital role in visualizing where and when diseases occur in space and time, providing context and helping us understand why they may be prevalent, who may be affected and how to potentially address a health risk. By using spatial data and geoinformation technology to analyze access to health services, identify, understand, and predict geographic variations in health status and disease occurrence, monitor and map health trends in academia, decision-making, and public health practice, we support ITC’s mission to empower society through capacity development, and to co-create geospatial solutions that address global challenges, including global public health. The ultimate aim is to support the development of more effective health care interventions.

GeoHealth at ITC is growing rapidly, and we have developed a collaborative research and learning environment that enables us to address a variety of health and disease issues all over the world. 

The GeoHealth day at ITC will consist of four sessions.

Session 1 (09:00 – 10:30)

Keynote presentations: Geo-Health in research and practice

Two keynote speeches will look at global health challenges that the world is currently facing, while also highlighting the geographic issues they entail. The keynotes include an “outside” perspective of an expert in global health with focus on the African continent, region-specific impacts of climate variability and health system priorities, as well as an “inside” perspective of our very own expert in GIScience and GeoHealth. Both will be discussing the importance, prospects and challenges of using spatial information for addressing and strengthening global health. 

Session 2 (11:00 – 12:15)

Studying GeoHealth and career paths after: Alumni and students’ perspectives

Two talks by alumni at ITC will reflect on the GeoHealth studies at ITC, and possible career paths after graduation. Interaction with the alumni through questions and answers in an online/hybrid panel discussion will be facilitated.

Session 3 (13:30 – 15:30)                

Networking for career paths in GeoHealth: Alumni and students’ perspectives

One talk by alumni at ITC will reflect on the GeoHealth studies at ITC, and possible career paths after graduation. 

A network session and short talks, pitches of research projects will be facilitated through an online/hybrid conference environment.

Session 4 (16:00 – 17:00)

Matchmaking & collaboration

Matchmaking session to bring together those researchers, alumni, students, decision-makers and practitioners interested in finding new ways and discussing future plans to work together in collaborations, project proposals, projects and capacity building, research initiatives, and sharing open courseware. This event will be set up as an online world café setting, focusing on global health challenges we should prioritize. 

Short bios of our speakers

Jürg Utzinger is the Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Basel. He holds an MSc in environmental science, a PhD in epidemiology and pursued several years of postdoctoral research in demography and epidemiology at Princeton University in the USA. His research, teaching and training interests pertain to the epidemiology and integrated control of neglected tropical diseases and health impact assessments of large footprint projects in low- and middle-income countries. He is engaged in trans-national global health research consortia with ongoing projects in China, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa and Tanzania.

Justine Blanford is a Professor of GeoHealth at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at University of Twente, Netherlands

She holds an MPhil in Geography from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Biology from Imperial College, UK. Her research, teaching and training interests are centred around using GIScience methods, data visualizations and geographic information to better understand spatial and temporal dynamics of health and disease outcomes.   

Frank Osei (Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at University of Twente, Netherlands.

Dr Frank Badu Osei is currently an Assistant Professor of spatial statistics/epidemiology at the Faculty of Geoinformation Science and Earth Observations-University of Twente. He holds a BSc degree in Geodetic Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana, and a Ph.D. degree in Applied Spatial Statistics from the University of Twente-Netherlands. His research interests are in geostatistics, hierarchical spatial data modelling, disease mapping and Bayesian statistics. Some specific research activities involve the development of spatial and spatio-temporal statistical models for epidemiological and environmental data. He has expert knowledge in both frequentist and Bayesian modeling. His computing skills revolve around the R software for statistical computing, WinBUGS (JAGS), BayesX, STAN.

Nazmul Sohel (Senior Statistician/Epidemiologist at McMaster University, Ontario)

Nazmul Sohel is a Senior Statistician/Epidemiologist at the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Faculty of Health Science, McMaster University.

He holds a PhD in International Health from Faculty of Medicine, Uppsala University, Sweden. he has extensive work experience in observational studies, exposure or outcome measurements, data modeling, and spatial epidemiology. His research interests include statistical and methodological issues related to observational study. He also interested in development of methods in spatial analysis and the application of such methods in disease clustering for understanding the relationship between environmental exposure and health outcomes.

Shaheen Abdulkareem (Lecturer for Artificial Intelligence at University of Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq)

Shaheen A. Abdulkareem currently works as a lecturer for Artificial Intelligence in the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Duhok (Kurdistan-region, Iraq).

 Her background is in computer science, and she holds an MSc in Geoinformatics from the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente, The Netherlands (2010), and a PhD from the Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social Sciences (BMS) at the University of Twente, The Netherlands (2019).

Shaheen's research field of interest is simulating human behavior, infectious diseases risk perception and Artificial Intelligence using Spatial Agent-based modelling. More focus is on implementing machine learning algorithms to steer agent’s behavior for complex decision making.