Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2009

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Rushton, Gerard

First Committee Member

Wallis, Anne B

Second Committee Member

Honey, Rex

Third Committee Member

Rajagopal, Rangaswamy

Fourth Committee Member

Kumar, Naresh


This research explores the ways in which communities can connect their experiential knowledge of space and place with observed spatial patterns of disease to increase our abilities to both understand underlying processes and implement effective interventions. We develop and test new methods for integrating observed patterns of disease with community knowledge, validate these methods through generation of new knowledge and hypotheses about processes that have produced cancer patterns, begin to translate this new knowledge into potential interventions, generate much needed recommendations for best practices in research that integrates Geographic Information Science (GISc) and community engagement, and generate new hypotheses for future research. Methods include the creation of continuous surface representation maps of cancer burdens and selected behaviors related to health risks, using adaptive spatial filtering, and a community-based project in which community members generate hypotheses regarding high rates of cancer in their community and explore and annotate cancer burden map layers in a GIS environment. We partner with community and public health practice partners in order to increase the likelihood of translation of research results into evidence-based intervention. Methods of spatial data analysis, community mapping and concept mapping are used.


colorectal cancer, community, disease mapping, geographic information science, geography, participatory


xiii, 301 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 285-301).


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Copyright © 2009 Kirsten M M Beyer

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