One focus of the center is analyzing spatial health trends using geographic information systems technology. Easy-to-read maps are posted for public consumption on the center’s website. WMU graduate and undergraduate students provide mapping and analysis, as well as online geospatial database development for interactive online mapping. Students interact with the center through research assistantships/associateships and advanced geography information systems course projects.
Another focus of the center is confirming visual findings with statistical analysis. There are situations when mapping health-related data requires methodology beyond geography information systems. For example, comparisons across regions with varying sample sizes cannot be conducted based on counts/proportions on the maps. In those cases, statistical model-based mapping that combines information from various secondary data sources in a coherent mathematical fashion is required. HDReAM investigators develop novel statistical methods to address the complex nature of health-related data, such as, zero-inflated data or space-time processes.