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Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R42CA064979-03 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Jacquez, Geoffrey
Organization: Biomedware
Project Title: Biostatistical Methods in Environmental Epidemiology
Fiscal Year: 1999
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DESCRIPTION: This Phase II STTR project will complete development of geographic disease surveillance software. Health professionals must often address cluster allegations brought forward by concerned citizens. Examples include well-publicized episodes in Woburn, Massachusetts and Love Canal, New York. Recent advances in computer databases and Geographic Information Systems provide more data than ever before, making possible proactive statistical testing of geographic hypotheses. Statistical tests are often designed for use in this proactive manner and are less applicable to reactive cluster investigations, where standard epidemiological study designs may be more appropriate. While an active and productive research area in academic institutions, recent advances in proactive biostatistical methods have not found their way into commercially available software, and, in general, are not taught as part of the epidemiology curriculum. As a result, researchers often lack both appropriate statistical tools and the educational foundation needed to analyze disease patterns. Accordingly, this research will accomplish two aims: (1) Complete development of the Phase I software prototype. (2) Prepare educational modules for university use. Accomplishment of these aims will foster the technical transfer of geographic and statistical methods and will enhance the ability of health professionals to explore geographic hypotheses of disease spread and causation. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The prototypes resulting from this research will have applications in disease surveillance, methodological research, and education. Of these, education has the greatest commercial potential because of the growing need for instructional materials in Spatial Information Science in general and in spatial epidemiology in particular. This need has caused organizations such as the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA), and, most recently, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), to formulate academic curricula in Geographic Information Science. However, instructional materials to implement the curricula are not commercially available. Instructional materials resulting from this research will help meet this need.

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