Medical Geography

Medical Geography

Medical Geography

Medical Geography

Synopsis

This text presents an overview of medical geography with an emphasis on understanding disease ecology - the origin and transmission of disease. Updated, this edition has new chapters on data, data analysis and research design. It also includes more material on: women's health issues; health issues deriving from global change; illustrations of the use of GIS; challenges for health care in the USA; current research on AIDS; and health care in post-Soviet eastern Europe.

Excerpt

Much has changed in the world and in the discipline of geography since the first edition of this text was published in 1988. The Soviet Union has fallen apart, and with it the Soviet health care system. The free market economically, politically, and socially has become a global runaway force. AIDS, which in the mid-1980s was a new epidemic of poorly understood etiology, has become a modern pandemic plague of enormous demographic and social impact. Infectious disease in general, newly emerging or now unaffected by our drugs, is renascent. World population has grown by more than 1 billion, has lowered its fertility to three children per family and its growth rate to less than 2%, and has picked up and headed for the city. Health promotion has become the world theme, and biomedicine has been forced off its pedestal. Social science has developed an interdisciplinary theoretical perspective and a new vocabulary for addressing old processes. Geographic information systems, with their ability to manage and portray spatial data, have become the dominant tool in geography and have transformed a variety of health analyses and the structuring of public data. Medical geography as a subdiscipline has become less concerned with the optimization of health service delivery or a dichotomy between health service and disease ecology (etiology). Instead, it has become increasingly concerned with health geography as a behavioral and social construction and disease ecology as an interface between the natural (physical world) and cultural dimensions of existence.

This text still endeavors to provide a broad-based, comprehensive survey of the rich diversity of medical geography for upper-division undergraduates and graduate students while also serving as a sound reference for the complexities of classifications, processes, and systems. Our perspective remains holistic and international. We still hope to provide the necessary biological background for geographers to understand disease processes and the necessary geographical background for health researchers to understand spatial processes. Students who have used the text in the past decade have included . . .

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