Spatial Information for Human Health

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Corwin Pavilion

[button link=”” type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”]Agenda[/button] [button link=”” type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Speakers [/button] [button link=”” newwindow=”yes” type=”icon”] Posters [/button]


Invitation spatial-2016In addition to a poster exhibit, the event featured the Channel Islands Regional GIS (CIRGIS) presentation of their 2016 high-resolution LiDAR elevation data program and the 2015 aerial imagery acquisition project. The Plenary Session, featured presentations by David Kerr (Sansum Diabetes Center) and Aaron Blackwell (UCSB, Dept.of Anthropology), moderated by Susan Cassels (UCSB, Dept. of Geography). Presenters discussed their research and gave their perspectives on how spatial information technologies can be applied to the study and enhancement of human health.

While the theme is in regard to human health, posters and demos that illustrate the application of spatial thinking on any topic related to spatial studies were presented in the Poster Exhibit. Thirty-six posters and two demos were presented to a diverse audience from the private sector and academic communities.


Aaron Blackwell, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Market Integration and the Health of Amazonian Amerindians

Many Amazonian peoples are currently undergoing transitions from subsistence to market based
economies. Along with these changes in subsistence, come changes in diet, disease, and sociality. Here, I discuss work with two Amazonian populations, the Shuar of Ecuador and the Tsimane of Bolivia. Both have lived traditionally through small scale horticulture, hunting, fishing, and gathering, and both groups have seen substantial changes in market integration over the past decade. However, these changes have not been distributed uniformly in space. Often, those living closer to or with greater access to towns and roads experience market integration more quickly, while those living more remotely continue traditional livelihoods. We use this spatial distribution as a proxy for changes through time, to examine how market integration impacts children’s growth, body composition, disease transmission, acculturation, fertility, and other health outcomes.

Bio: Aaron Blackwell is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a human biologist and behavioral ecologist whose research examines health and life history in small scale Amazonian societies. His research examines how immune function develops in populations exposed to high levels of pathogens and how early life experiences shape health later in life in both small scale and industrialized populations. His research incorporates both field and laboratory work to examine biological outcomes. Blackwell’s other interests include examining how market integration affects health and development, senescence and aging, and ecological effects on parental investment and growth.

David Kerr, M.D. FRCPE
Director of Research, Sansum Diabetes Center

A Diabetes Digital Village

For clinicians, scientists and diabetes industries, the online diabetes #wearenotwaiting community is making it clear that the traditional approach to healthcare is not providing the quality and outcomes that are desired by adults and children living with diabetes. One opportunity that has to the potential to improve diabetes care is the use of the smartphone as a platform for care delivery. The challenge is to make sure that this disruptive approach will (a) be used by the target audiences, (b) provide measurable “metrics of success,” and (c) has a sustainable return on investment. With the smartphone this will generate vast amounts of new information not limited by geography, economics or culture. Data will be empowering and it will also change the “balance of power” in favor of the patient-as-a-consumer which may be uncomfortable for the professions. The digital revolution is at an embryonic stage but its growth and influence, will, like the technologies themselves, be exponential.

Bio: David Kerr is Director of Research at Sansum Diabetes Center. He is a UK trained physician and endocrinologist and has spent many years trying to help people “tame the beast” that is diabetes. His research focuses on modifying and creating technology to benefit the maximum number of people with diabetes for the longest period of time and with the minimum disruption to their lives. Kerr is Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University and for many years has held a Gold Clinical Excellence Award from the National Health Service in the UK.

Susan Cassels, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography
Research Associate, Broom Center for Demography
University of California, Santa Barbara

Bio: Susan Cassels, plenary session moderator, is an assistant professor of Geography and a research associate at the Broom Center for Demography at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her work spans many disciplines, including demography, epidemiology, and geography. Cassels’ research interests are in the areas of population health, migration, epidemic modeling, HIV/AIDS, and sexual networks. Currently, Cassel’s research is focused on migration and residential mobility and its effects on sexual risk behavior, sexual network structure, and HIV transmission. She has ongoing projects among heterosexuals in Ghana and among men who have sex with men in Seattle and Los Angeles.

spatial@ucsb.local2016: Poster and Plenary Session