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7/27/17: Contextualizing Health Behaviors using Spatial Data and Technology: Advances, Opportunities, and Challenges

July 27, 2017



Marta Jankowska, PhD
Qualcomm Insitute
University of California, San Diego


About the Webinar:

Spatial technologies are playing a key role in research studies aiming to consider contextual aspects of behaviors connected with health. A recent development is the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to better measure patterns of access to and engagement with the environment. Exciting research has resulted with examples including measuring total daily access to food environments with GPS data, incorporating built environment measures as moderators in intervention and health change studies, evaluating the effects of built environment interventions and natural experiments, and the use of Smartphone sensors for monitoring environmental exposures. These types of studies are becoming the scientific basis for a new wave of mHealth research focused on individual interactions with environments as people move from location to location. Researchers have begun envisioning hyper-personal interventions (so-called Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions, JITAI) that could target a patient’s behavior and context through the use of GPS, GIS, and other body-worn sensors. In this talk, Dr. Jankowska will discuss technological and computational advances allowing for such intervention opportunities, as well as the major challenges that have yet to be overcome.

About Marta Jankowska:

Dr. Marta Jankowska earned her doctorate in Geography, specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), spatial statistics, and health geography. As a health geographer, she is now a researcher in the Qualcomm Institute at UCSD. Dr. Jankowska received NSF funding for her doctoral dissertation, which she planned and implemented in Accra, Ghana, focusing on the use of GPS data collection, photography, and survey data regarding health perceptions of children. She completed her postdoctoral training at UCSD Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. Since then she has been PI on four pilot grants, including one as part of the Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics (TREC) in Cancer initiative, through which she has overseen the development of a HIPAA-compliant geodatabase system used for secure storage and processing of large GIS and GPS datasets. She is currently the PI of an NSF-funded grant examining the relationship between the built food environment, obesity, and dietary behaviors. Her expertise is in spatial analytics including GIS, GPS, and spatial statistics as applied to health related problems. More about Marta Jankowska.

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