Leveraging Geospatial Data, Technology, and Methods for Improving the Health of Communities: Priorities and Strategies from an Expert Panel Convened by the CDC
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In 2008, CDC convened an expert panel to gather input on the use of geospatial science in surveillance, research and program activities focused on CDC’s Healthy Communities Goal. The panel suggested six priorities: spatially enable and strengthen public health surveillance infrastructure; develop metrics for geospatial categorization of community health and health inequity; evaluate the feasibility and validity of standard metrics of community health and health inequities; support and develop GIScience and geospatial analysis; provide geospatial capacity building, training and education; and, engage non-traditional partners. Following the meeting, the strategies and action items suggested by the expert panel were reviewed by a CDC subcommittee to determine priorities relative to ongoing CDC geospatial activities, recognizing that many activities may need to occur either in parallel, or occur multiple times across phases. Phase A of the action items centers on developing leadership support. Phase B focuses on developing internal and external capacity in both physical (e.g., software and hardware) and intellectual infrastructure. Phase C of the action items plan concerns the development and integration of geospatial methods. In summary, the panel members provided critical input to the development of CDC’s strategic thinking on integrating geospatial methods and research issues across program efforts in support of its Healthy Communities Goal.