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Geohealth: Improving Public Health through Geographic Information

Explore how spatial data and geographic information systems (GIS) can be used to understand and improve public health.

5,026 enrolled on this course

World being held in hands
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

The environment in which we live and work can have a profound effect on our health – an effect that is explored by the emerging field of geohealth.

This free online course will introduce you to new developments in geohealth, looking at the latest thinking and methods for using spatial data and geographic information systems (GIS) in health settings.

Understand geohealth techniques and best practice

The course consists of ten different topics, ranging from data collection techniques to spatial simulation, and aims to bridge the gap between scientific research and health professionals.

By the end of the course, you will understand how spatial data and geo-information techniques can contribute to solving public health problems, and be aware of best practice when using GIS in the health field.

Learn with health and geo-informatics specialists

The Geohealth course has been developed by three well-known institutions with experience in both the health domain and the field of geo-informatics:

  • Public Health Foundation of India helps to build institutional and systems capacity in India for strengthening education, training, research and policy development in the area of public health.
  • Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam aims to improve health and ensure equitable socio-economic development as much as intercultural cooperation with partners worldwide.
  • Faculty of ITC at the University of Twente is recognised worldwide for achievements in teaching, research and capacity development in the field of geo-information science and earth observation.
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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Nowadays, GIS is used frequently in the health domain for creating maps showing disease prevalence and many other types of studies. We can split to domain into geographical epidemiology, studying the relationship between disease and the environment, and the geography of health facilities, concerned with the planning of health care and the evaluation of access to health facilities. However, there seems to be a gap emerging between health professionals on the one hand and scientists on the other hand. Many new techniques are being developed that do not seem to find their way towards the health workers yet, but have great possibilities for the collection, analysis, and mapping of health data.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second This free, online course presents a selection of these innovative researchers and explains the techniques in an understandable way, with clear videos and exercises. The course is a collaboration between the Public Health Foundation of India, the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, and ITC faculty of the University of Twente in the Netherlands. These institutes have long experience in working with two geoinformatics within the health domain and combined training and research activities in an international setting. My name is Ellen-Wien Augustijn, and I invite you to join this course and hope you will become more aware of new techniques to apply GIS within the health domain.

What topics will you cover?

  • Components of a GIS for health applications (spatial data, software, mapping, analysis techniques, people)
  • In depth topic on “Accessibility and Health Facility Planning”
  • Using Volunteered Geographic Information within the Health Domain
  • Spatio-temporal machine learning and data mining
  • Using Self-Organizing Maps to discover spatio-temporal patterns
  • Agent-Based modeling for health applications
  • Spatial dependence and variograms
  • Spatial Clustering and Smoothing
  • Universal Health Coverage

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Debate with other participants about recent developments within the field of GeoHealth
  • Reflect on components of the Geohealth system and the relevance of these components
  • Investigate several new analytical approaches with the GeoHealth domain
  • Contribute to the discussion on the relevance of several new analytical techniques
  • Explore scientific research in the Geohealth domain

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for professionals working in both human and animal health, and GIS specialists and geo-scientists who are interested in the health domain.

Who will you learn with?

I am a teacher and researcher at ITC. My research focusses on "Spatial Analyses" and "Agent-Based Modeling". I am most interested in spatial-temporal diffusion patterns of infectious diseases.

I am a researcher at the Public Health Foundation of India. Interested in spatial epidemiology and the environmental determinants of chronic diseases.

I am an epidemiologist working at the Royal Tropical Institute, the Netherlands. I am specialized in spatial epidemiology and the use Geographic data and Information Systems for decision support.

Who developed the course?

University of Twente

As a young and entrepreneurial university in the Netherlands, the University of Twente prepares young people to tackle the grand challenges the world will be facing during the coming decades.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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