Centre for Research and Action in Public Health, UC Health Research Institute, University of Canberra, Australia
Neil is Associate Professor of Health Geography in the Health Research Institute, University of Canberra in the Spatial Epidemiology Group. He is concurrently appointed Adjunct Fellow in the School of Architecture and Built Environment, Healthy Cities Research Group, The University of Adelaide, Senior Research Fellow, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University and Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Population Health Research, Health Science, at the University of South Australia.
Neil completed his doctorate in Geography at the University of Adelaide and has had a work history spanning academia, local and state government and private consulting Prior to the University of Canberra he was Deputy Head, Spatial Epidemiology and Evaluation Research Group and Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health, University of South Australia, was a Lecturer, Geographical and Environmental Studies, University of Adelaide and Senior Research Associate at National Key Centre for Teaching and Research into the Social Applications of Geographic Information Systems, University of Adelaide, the South Australian State Demographer & Strategic Statistical Advisor, for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Adelaide, the Principal Researcher, Tamar Region Master Planning Authority, Tasmania.
Neil has been involved in the application of GIS to population, urban, social and health for more than 30 years and was a part of the successful National Key Centre for Teaching and Research into the Social Applications of Geographic Information Systems at the University of Adelaide 1995-2000. His work has spanned many applications of GIS to social science and public health, the impact of the built environment on physical activity and obesity, developing socio-economic GIS databases and the use and adaptation of government collected and maintained administrative data for social and health research, and the integration of GIS into government systems. For the last 17 years Neil's work has focused on the impact of the built environment on physical activity, obesity and chronic disease. Neil helped develop the Australian walkability index as part of the PLACE project (part of the International Physical Activity and the Environment Network) which has researched walkability across 12 countries and continues to research place-health associations. Neil has published extensively across the different work sectors with more than 80 articles and reports and presented at local, state, national and international conferences.
Geohealth: The Importance of Place in Understanding Health.
There is a simple concept in geography – Tobler's Law "everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things". This simple concept underpins the Place and Health work and extends analysis to explore not just traditional measures but aspects of the environment that people interact in. GIS is an "All Pervasive Enabler" and extends our capability to understand how "near things" might impact health.
Spatial technologies have made significant gains over the last 30 years. Spatial data availability has also improved over time. Spatial modelling has improved and the importance of "place" among health researchers has grown considerably. A quick check of place-health papers published outlines this interest. In 1983, 1 paper was published, 1 in 1962, 52 in 1971, by 2017 there were more than 1500 papers published. This presentation will focus on the gains and the challenges of doing "place-Health" better spatially.