2023 CGA Conference: From Geospatial Research to Health Solutions


Mon - Tue, Mar 20 to Mar 21, 8:30am - 5:10pm


CGIS South S030 (Doris and Ted Lee Gathering Room), 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Questions on the health of an individual, the health of an environment, an ecosystem, a home, a city, a nation, a continent and a planet motivates a range of geographic theories, methods, and practices. Our understanding of the health of a body has long been linked to ideas about the organization of societies and the planning of cities. New mapping technologies, forms of spatial analysis, and dynamic access to health data have presented researchers with new opportunities to inquire into the various landscapes of health. In this conference, we explore the urgent questions of health that impact our planet, enrolling the latest technologies and techniques for spatial analysis and geographic representation. We welcome multidisciplinary perspectives on health geography, medicine, public health, design, security, environmental health, and epidemiology, as well as approaches not limited to the applied, but that might inform application, to include the historical, theoretical and methodological, opportunities for collaboration, cooperation and governmental involvement, among others.

This event is free and open to the public. Registered participants are welcome to submit a poster to be included in the poster exhibit. Please send PDF file (42” x 36”) to jblossom @ cga.harvard.edu for review before March 10th. The event will be streamed live as a Zoom webinar. Link will be sent to registered emails prior to the event date. 

For the latest on Harvard’s COVID-19 policies and protocols, please refer to the Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 Resources: Activity & Workplace Planning website.

Note: The registration form is Harvard centric, but non-Harvard people are welcome to register and attend this event too. Please select "non-Harvard" in the pick lists, and enter "NA" if you are not working with any Harvard faculty.

Preliminary Program (updated on January 19, 2023)

Keynote Speakers:

Mei-Po Kwan is Choh-Ming Li Professor of Geography and Resource Management and Director of the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kwan is Fellow of the U.K. Academy of Social Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She has received many prestigious honors and awards, including the Distinguished Scholarship Honors from the AAG. Kwan has been included in the 2019 Highly Cited Researchers list by the Web of Science Group. She has delivered over 220 keynote addresses and invited lectures in about 20 countries. Kwan's research interests include environmental health, sustainable cities, human mobility, urban/social issues in cities, and GIScience. Her recent collaborative projects include the development of a Geospatial Virtual Data Enclave (GVDE) for sharing and analyzing confidential geospatial data, and examination of the health risks of female sex workers, adolescent and adult participation in high-risk drug use, individual exposure to air pollution and noise, and environmental influences on physical activity. More information about Kwan is available at http://meipokwan.org.

Este GeraghtyDr. Este Geraghty is the Chief Medical Officer at Esri where she leads strategy and messaging for the Health and Human Services sector. In this role, she’s helped organizations worldwide use location intelligence to combat Zika virus, grapple with the opioid crisis, combat homelessness, enhance health preparedness & response, inform strategic planning, optimize healthcare access, and traverse the COVID-19 pandemic while tackling inequity.  Formerly the Deputy Director of the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics at the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Geraghty focused on open data and interoperability. As an Associate Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine at the UC Davis, she conducted research on geographic approaches to advancing community development. In addition to degrees in Medicine, Medical Informatics, and Public Health, she is a board-certified public health professional and a Geographic Information Systems Professional.  She has been the recipient of two Larry L. Sautter Golden Awards for innovation. In 2020, Dr. Geraghty was featured in the Emmy Award winning documentary, “Geospatial Revolution: Mapping the Pandemic.” In 2021, she was named by HIMSS as one of the most influential women in Health IT. And in 2022, she was listed as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders in Medicine by Women We Admire.

David Berrigan, PhD, MPH, is a biologist in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute. His research has examined energy balance, carcinogenesis, physical activity and acculturation using a mix of animal models, population data, and methodological studies aimed at improving survey data and incorporating GIS tools and data-layers into survey data sets. Recently he co-edited a book with Dr. Nathan Berger titled Geospatial approaches to Energy Balance and Breast Cancer. David is strongly committed to research aimed at health for all via environments and institutions that foster healthy behaviors regardless of demographic or economic circumstances.



Center for Geographic Analysis


Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Harvard Data Science Initiative

Institute for Quantitative Social Science

NSF I/UCRC Spatiotemporal Innovation Center


Image sources on logo image left to right: Top row: Artificial intelligence concept graphic [Shutterstock], Access to health clinic in Lesotho map [Harvard CGA], Dr. John Snow image [Wikipedia]. Middle row: Heart rate graphic [Public Domain Pictures]; Tanzania travel time to clinic [Harvard CGA]; Heart disease in USA [Wikipedia]; GPS locations in neighborhood [Harvard CGA]. Bottom row: GPS air pollution mapping in Boston, MA [Harvard CGA], Ebola health care workers in West Africa [PBS Newshour]; Virus graphic [Freepic]. Composite image editors: Yuting Chen and Jeff Blossom.
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