Geography Colloquium Series: Harnessing GIScience to Address Tomorrow's Health Challenges

Date and Time
Buchanan Hall 1930
Dr. C. Wang Poster
Dr. C. Wang Poster

Join us Thursday, February 8th to hear Dr. Changzhen Wang discuss her work: Harnessing GIScience to Address Tomorrow's Health


The rapid development of GIScience has witnessed its ability to understand and address real-world complex issues. One of the pressing needs in public health is to delineate reliable and meaningful units for analyzing geographic variations in health care markets and identifying social determinants of health. However, the replicability and reliability of the existing administrative units or the popular health care service areas have been questioned and the methods lack scientific rigor. To better serve public health research and policy, I will present several novel computational GIS methods to answer questions:

(1) How to delineate national Cancer Service Areas (CSAs) for leading cancer centers in the U.S.?
(2) how to develop novel computational GIS methods to delineate hospital service areas?
(3) How to delineate overlapping CSAs? And any implications for the NCI catchment areas?
(4) How can GIScience research be reproducible and replicable to foster interdisciplinary innovations

The results not only contribute to the theories, methodologies, and visualizations in GIScience but also support more effective analysis, management, and planning of public resources and services.
Finally, I will end my talk with a long-term vision for advancing GIScience through interdisciplinary convergence that combines health, spatial networks, artificial intelligence, and climate change.


Changzhen Wang is a Dean's Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama. She received her Ph.D. in Geography from Louisiana State University in 2022, M.E. in Cartography and GIS from Wuhan University in 2013, and B.S. in GIS from Southwest Jiaotong University in 2010. Her research focuses on the development and applications of GIS, computational methods, spatial network modeling and analysis, geovisualization, big data, and machine learning in spatial data science, health, transportation, and urban studies. Changzhen has co-authored a GlScience book and published several articles as a lead author in high-impact journals. Changzhen's works have been recognized by several prestigious awards, including the 2024 AAG J. Warren Nystrom Award Finalist, 2023 Annals of GIS Best Paper Award, 2022 AAG Peter Gould Student Paper Award, 2022 AAG GISS-SG Student Honors Paper Award Finalist, 2021 CPGIS Best Student Paper Award (First Place), and 2021 AAG Health Data Visualization Award.