Geohealth is the integration of geographic information, technologies and spatial concepts with epidemiology.

Health and disease is complex and requires 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 the problem.

Here at ITC 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. For more information on what we have done and how geospatial technologies and data can be used for geohealth see publications.

If you are interested in applying geo to health related topics and would like to collaborate with us please get in touch.  

RESEARCH

Research is lead by our scientific staff listed below:

Justine Blanford

Spatial Analysis/data science/geocomputational modeling; spatial and temporal analysis; changing risk; perception of risk; mobility; social media and non-traditional geospatial data; host-pathogen interactions across space and time; accessibility to healthy environments; accessibility to healthcare; mobility. Education: online education; education for geohealh. View website | Send an e-mail: j.i.blanford@utwente.nl

Alfred Stein

Spatial and spatio-temporal statistics; image analysis; Bayesian statistics; hospital analysis; air quality. View website | Send an e-mail: a.stein@utwente.nl

Sherif Amer

Access and Accessibility, Health Seeking Behavior, Health Inequalities, Community Health Profiling, Environmental Health Risks. View website | Send an e-mail: s.amer@utwente.nl

Carmen Anthonj

Contact us | Who-is-who | Home ITCHealth service provision in complex, hard-to-reach and underserved settings; impact of extreme weather events and emergencies on health; local knowledge and risk perceptions and their applicability in health-related policy and practice. View website | Send an e-mail: c.anthonj@utwente.nl

Ellen-Wien Augustijn

Spatial analysis, agent-based modeling, machine learning; Spatio-temporal analytics and modelling. View website | Send an e-mail: p.w.m.augustijn@utwente.nl 

Raul Zurita Milla

Analysis of GIS, EO and crowdsourced data using data mining and machine learning approaches + a strong interest in big and open geodata science; Spatio-temporal analytics and modelling. View website | Send an e-mail: r.zurita-milla@utwente.nl

Frank Osei

Spatial statistics, spatial epidemiology (including cluster detection and analysis, disease mapping, geographic correlation studies). View website | Send an e-mail: f.b.osei@utwente.nl

PROJECTS

Some of our projects include:

Water, Health and WASH

Tick-bite mapping project

Agent-based modeling and disease diffusion

(c) C. Anthonj (2020)

 


A great number of diseases are entirely or partially attributable to or linked with inadequate drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). This makes the provision of safe WASH, as well as the implementation of healthy hygiene behaviours vital. We look at the various links between global health and water security in rural, urban and indigenous communities globally. Our research focusses on: 

  • Water-related infectious disease exposure and prevention;
  • Local knowledge, health risk perceptions and impact on behaviour;  
  • Use of data to inform decision-making;
  • Mixing methods and triangulation of data.

By combining 10 years’ worth of monthly tick captures by volunteers with weather data, satellite images and land use data, we were able to develop a tick prevalence prediction model. Link  

Agent-based modeling (ABM) can make a real contribution to understanding the spread of infectious diseases in space and time. The fact that ABMs are intrinsically spatial and allow for combined modeling of pathogen and human behavior has contributed to their popularity over the past years. Our research in this domain focusses on three aspects: 

  • Human risk perception and behavior change  
  • Reproduction of spatio-temporal patterns 
  • The integration of ABM and Machine Learning 


Healthcare access and planning

Temporal trends and spatial clustering

Obesity

Access to healthcare is important for many reasons. The humanitarian response to the military operation around Mosul in Iraq was one of the most complex in the world. For WHO Iraq safeguarding adequate access to secondary health care (with contingency procedures and alternatives in place) was crucial. 

Occurrence and distribution of diseases fluctuate over space and time.  Here we use a variety of spatial statistical methods to understand dynamically changing patterns of disease across space and at different time intervals. Link 

Obesity has nearly tripled since the 1970s worldwide. Understanding the drivers of the spatial distribution of obese hotspots is important for developing strategic intervention programs. Here we use a variety of geographic data to better understand the spatial distribution of obesity. Obesity in the Netherlands  

Publications

For more information about past projects and how spatial analysis methods have been used for geohealth visit our publications.

EDUCATION

ITC is known to be one of the top institutes worldwide in the field of Geo-information science and earth observation. At ITC, we train students to engineer approaches for designing future-oriented solutions to the world's biggest challenges. We encourage our students to participate in public-private partnership projects initiated by ITC and other organizations.

For more information about our study programs visit here. PhD vacancies will be listed here.