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More on GIS at ATSDR: 2000 and beyond. (Products & Services).

During its initial development, the primary focus of the GIS program at ATSDR was support of the public-health assessment and health consultation program in DHAC. GIS maps help health assessors identify geographic areas of particular health concern and susceptible subpopulations (e.g., children, women of child-bearing age, the elderly, and minority populations).

In ensuing years, epidemiologists in the Division of Health Studies used the GIS program to characterize sites for studies, and the Division of Health Education and Promotion used it to plan and conduct education programs in communities near hazardous-waste sites. ATSDR also uses GIS to determine past and future exposure potential, to analyze health data, and to investigate potential exposure to hazardous substances at the local, regional, and national levels.

Moreover, GIS data provide the basis of the population information used in many ATSDR publications. Because GIS maps greatly enhance the ability to integrate and graphically display a wide array of data, GIS maps are used in many agency reports (e.g., public-health assessments, health consultations, health studies, educational materials, and agency reports to Congress).

In early 2000, ATSDR expanded its outreach efforts with a satellite broadcast, "Geographical Information Systems in Public Health: Using Mapping and Spatial Analysis Technologies for Health Protection." This program provided information on

1. GIS concepts, terminology and data;

2. spatial statistics and analysis functions; and

3. applications of GIS in public-health practice and surveillance. The broadcast was directed at state health and environmental agencies, colleges and universities, and hospitals throughout the United States.

ATSDR also has expanded the availability of GIS products through its new Internet map server, GATHER. (See the related story in the Environmental Health-'Net section of this Journal.)

Copies of a video from the satellite broadcast can be ordered from Diane Drew, ATSDR Distance Learning Coordinator, Division of Health Education and Promotion, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1600 Clifton Rd., NE (MS E-33), Atlanta, GA 30333. Fax: (404) 639-6207; e-mail: <>.

(Adapted from Hazardous Substances and Public Health, a publication of ATSDR, Vol. 10, No. 2, Summer/Fall 2000.)
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Article Details
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Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2001
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