Connecting Neighborhoods and Health: An Introduction to Spatial Epidemiology
New York University – Abu Dhabi

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of diseases in human populations. Traditional epidemiology focuses on demographic (e.g. age) and behavioral (e.g. physical activity) determinants of health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. This course will focus on Spatial Epidemiology, i.e. the spatial distribution and spatial determinants of health and wellbeing in human populations across the globe. For example, the course will elucidate connections between neighborhood (e.g. residential, social and work) characteristics (e.g. crime rate, density of fast food restaurants, distance to parks) and multiple health outcomes (e.g. obesity, mental health, substance use). The course will provide students with a historical, theoretical and methodological overview of the dynamic and re-emerging field of Spatial Epidemiology. This is an introductory-level course; as such, the course intentionally is broad, covering a range of issues and topics (e.g. neighborhood characteristic assessment methods, methods to examine neighborhood boundaries, identification of spatial clusters [“hot spots”] of disease, quantitative methods to evaluate connections between neighborhoods and health, and connecting neighborhoods to health disparities)

Social Dimensions of Health

New York University – Abu Dhabi

This is an introductory-level course on social variables (e.g. social class, social networks/support, poverty, neighborhood environments, residential segregation, race/ethnicity, discrimination, housing conditions, work environments, and income inequality) that affect population health and overviews theories of disease distribution, with an emphasis on social theories including social production of disease and ecosocial theory.

Assessing Neighborhoods in Epidemiology
Epidemiology and Population Health Summer Institute at Columbia University

A large body of research in epidemiology and population health has investigated connections between neighborhood characteristics (e.g. park access, crime, fast food restaurants) and a myriad of health outcomes (e.g. obesity, mental health, substance use). This research has characterized neighborhood factors in multiple ways. This one-day course will discuss standard and emerging methods to study neighborhood characteristics. In particular, the course will provide an overview of neighborhood characteristic assessment methods, including self-report, eco-metrics, systematic social observation, geographic information system (GIS) methods, web-based geospatial methods, real-time geospatial methods and crowd-sourced geospatial methods. We will discuss the strengths and limitations of each neighborhood characteristic assessment methods, and students will be provided with examples of each neighborhood assessment method applied in the epidemiology and population health literature. In addition, this course will discuss different methods to examine neighborhood boundaries, including self-report, administrative definitions, egocentric buffers and global positioning system (GPS)-defined activity spaces. We will discuss the strengths and limitations of each method of examining neighborhood boundaries (e.g. spatial misclassification, technical difficulty), and students will be provided with examples of each neighborhood boundary applied in the epidemiology and population health literature.