As one of the first, University of Gävle launches Master programme in Geo-Health
“We are good at GIS* and we are good at health; now we combine the two in the new subject Geo-Health. We will gain improved planning in health care, improved quality and safer help to people,” says Nader Ahmadi, pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Gävle.
Geo-Health is a new transdisciplinary field in research and education which combines, health with geographic information systems (GIS).
“Its attraction lies in the application of GIS-knowledge within the field of health care, which enables better planning,” Nader Ahmadi says.
He gives a few concrete examples:
- In case of epidemics, and in tracking diseases or behavioural disorders, it will be possible to map afflicted areas and their characteristics.
- In research on ill-health among pupils, you can, for instance, study the distance from the school to various fast-food restaurants and sweetshops, map these distances and, in this way, relate poorer health in pupils to being in these areas.
- In elderly care, and especially in the care for people with dementia, GIS technology can be used as an alternative to locking up patients or having them under constant surveillance.
University of Canterbury
A delegation from the University of Gävle recently visited the University of Canterbury, New Zeeland. The University of Canterbury started to develop this field almost exactly at the same time as the University of Gävle did, and has already established courses and some research, Nader says.
The University of Canterbury has developed the area GeoHealth with assistance from Future Position X, and together they are already conducting a research project in Gävleborg.
“We initiated our discussions last year and now we see a possibility to cooperate. We are good at GIS and we are good at health, and they have combined these two in a number of courses.”
International programme on an advanced level
The University of Gävle will create an international programme, an online master programme taught in English only, which will be able to recruit globally.
A few examples of such combinations of GIS and public health exist in the world, but most of these are freestanding courses in Europe and USA. Nader believes that the new programme will be attractive also internationally.
“If we are able to adapt and use GIS-technology for health, it will create spin-offs for many businesses in the region,” Nader Ahmadi concludes.
*GIS - Geographical information system, is a computer system that retrieves, stores, analyses and presents geographical data.
For more information, please contact:
Nader Ahmadi, pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Gävle
Phone: 026-64 81 97, 070-428 39 65
Text: Douglas Öhrbom