Geographic Information Systems and Public Health: Eliminating Perinatal Disparity is designed to introduce a community health group to the potential of using a geographic information system (GIS) to improve birth outcomes. Chapters in this book provide an overview of why geography is important in the investigation of health, the importance of the four main components of a GIS (data input, manipulation, analysis and visualization), how important neighborhood context is when using a GIS, and the general differences found between urban and rural health environments. In addition, the reader is introduced to the importance of GIS and confidentially, how a mobile urban population may impact GIS findings, and why pregnant mothers should catered for when making disaster response plans. Examples are drawn heavily from the Baton Rouge Healthy Start program, with one chapter providing an overview guide as to how GIS can be incorporated in the initial grant writing stage for such a program.
Andrew Curtis, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University. He is also Director of the World Health Organization's Collaborating Center for Remote Sensing and GIS for Public Health. Michael Leitner, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge. Dr. Leitner is the chair of the Cartography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers.