GeoHealth Lab seeks to understand environmental health (particularly exposure to air pollution), environmental justice, and health disparities using GIS, geospatial technologies, and spatial statistical methods.
The core concept within this broad range of topics is human mobility. Noting that people move around over space and time, GeoHealth lab goes beyond residence-based static approaches and utilizes fine-grained spatiotemporal methods and travel pattern data (e.g., GPS tracking data, travel-activity diaries, and data collected from low-cost sensors) to untangle the complexities of the social/environmental impacts on health and health disparities. Incorporating human mobility into environmental health research is important because it enables the examination of a full spectrum of geographic and temporal contexts in which people interact with environmental/social factors.
Ongoing Research Projects
Ethics Protocol for Vaccine Distribution and Eastern North Carolina COVID-19 Mapping (2020)
- Sponsor: COVID-19 CARES Act Research Fund, North Carolina General Assembly.
- Project Objectives: 1) To enhance public health monitoring and surveillance capabilities of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in eastern N.C. through advanced geospatial analysis and visualization methods and 2) to identify high priority populations for vaccine distribution and delivery.
A Low-Cost Mobile Air-Pollution Sensor with Geospatial Mapping: A Tool for Community-Engaged, Environmental Health Disparity Research (2020-2021)
- Sponsor: Center for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE) Pilot Project Grant, CHHE at North Carolina State University (supported in part by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences [NIEHS] under Award No. P30ES025128).
- Project Objectives: To test the feasibility of a user-friendly, portable, low-cost air-sensing device, coupled with geospatial mapping technologies, as a tool to engage environmental justice communities and promote community awareness of air pollution and health risks.
Community Air Quality Monitoring Using Low-Cost Air Sensors and Citizen Science Approaches (2020-2021)
- Sponsor: Engaged Outreach and Scholarship Academy (EOSA) Research Grant, Office of Community Engagement and Research, East Carolina University.
- Project Objectives: To engage communities to establish a dense air monitoring network using low-cost sensors in eastern North Carolina.
Mapping Accessibility with Dignity: An Inclusive, Equitable University Environment for People with Disabilities (2020-2021)
- Sponsor: Diversity and Inclusion Research and Scholarship Program Seed Grant, Office for Equity and Diversity, East Carolina University.
- Project Objectives: To create an interactive web map that supports the accessibility of individuals with disabilities using GIS to create a more inclusive, accessible campus
Available RA positions
Several Graduate/Undergraduate Research Assistant positions are available. Please contact me at parky19[at]ecu.edu for more details.
- 1 Full-Time M.S. Research Assistant (2-year): This is a full-time 2-year RA position beginning in Fall 2021. A successful candidate will work on multiple research projects in the lab, pursuing an M.S. degree in Geography.
- 1 Undergraduate Research Assistant (Spring 2021): Undergraduate RA will be involved in a community-engaged research project that uses low-cost air pollution sensors to establish a dense air monitoring network in eastern N.C. and identify pollution hot spots. The student will use GIS for data visualization/analysis and work with the community partner, Clean Air Carolina.
- 2 Undergraduate Research Assistants (Spring 2021): Undergraduate RAs will be involved in a project that aims to create an interactive web map that supports the accessibility of individuals with disabilities using GIS.
Completed Research Projects
Segregation and Its Effects on Social Disparities in Exposure to Air Pollution (2017-2019)
- Sponsors: National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) Grant (#1735295) (Award Abstract) & American Association of Geographer (AAG) Dissertation Research Grant
- Project Objectives: To examine the association between disparities in exposure to air pollution and racial/ethnic segregation using human movement pattern data and advanced geospatial methods.
Park, Y.M. & Kwan, M.-P. (2017). Multi-Contextual Segregation and Environmental Justice Research: Toward Fine-Scale Spatiotemporal Approaches. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(10), 1205.
Park, Y.M. & Kwan, M.-P. (2018). Beyond Residential Segregation: A Spatiotemporal Approach to Examining Multi-Contextual Segregation. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 71, 98-108.
Park, Y.M. (2020). Assessing Personal Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution Using Individual Travel-Activity Diary Data and an On-Road Source Air Dispersion Model. Health & Place, 63: 102351.
Park, Y.M. & Kwan, M.-P. (2020). Understanding Racial Disparities in Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution: Considering Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Population Distribution. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 17(3), 90