Geospatial analysis by GeoHealth Innovations focuses on food access and the environment

Over the past two months, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies has release two additional community health equity reports (CHERs) for Cook County, Illinois and Bernalillo County, New Mexico. These two reports included mapping and analysis performed by GeoHealth Innovations.

To examine access to healthy food in Cook County, GeoHealth Innovations analyzed the distribution of and access to chain supermarkets and large scale independent grocers. A methodology to measure food access was developed by GeoHealth Innovations with support from VCU’s Center on Society and Health and members of the Cook County Place Matters community team. The measure was based on the inverse distance from each population weighted centroid to all categorical food vendors within the study area. An ordinary least squares regression was then used to account for influence of population density on food access. The resulting residual values were the food access index.

Using the LISA (local indicator of spatial autocorrelation) analysis tool from Arizona State University’s GeoDa software package, the association between educational attainment and food access was examined. The LISA value measured the clustering of pairs of similar attribute values. In this case, a higher LISA values reflected pairs of the lowest educational attainment and lowest food access values. A dot density overlay of racial and ethnic distribution was added to the map. Several patterns emerged and are highlighted in the Cook County report.

In Bernalillo County, thematic mapping by GeoHealth Innovations helped to bring a 22-year difference in life expectancy in census tracts across the county to light. Other thematic maps of Bernalillo County included percentage of low-birth weight infants and density of environmental hazards. The density of environmental hazards was derived from point-level data provided to GeoHealth Innovations by the Bernalillo County Place Matter team. Several types of environmental hazards were aggregated by census tract and the density of hazards per square mile was calculated.

For more information or to view the reports, visit the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies or GeoHealth Innovations.