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Geospatial Forum with Dr. Marynia Kolak (Univ. of Chicago)

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November 4, 2021 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

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Dr. Marynia Kolak
Associate Director of Health Informatics, Senior Lecturer in Geographic Information Science, and PI of Healthy Regions + Policies Lab at the Center for Spatial Data Science, University of Chicago; hosted by Dr. Aaron Hipp

Presentation Title
The Next US Covid Atlas: Reanimating Data Analytics with Stories, Connection and Geographic Thinking


A spatial perspective isn’t (just) about making compelling visualizations, but also investigating how complex human-environment interactions impact the theory, design, methods and infrastructure of research. Detangling how place impacts, interacts with and/or drives factors of health outcomes for different people and neighborhoods is essential to reducing health disparities. In this forum talk, Dr. Kolak highlights how development of the US Covid Atlas took a journey from data visualization and tool of exploratory spatial data analysis to infrastructure for innovative research, complex storytelling and multidisciplinary thinking. A dedication to coalition building and collaboration proved essential throughout, highlighting the promise of Open Science.


Marynia Kolak, Ph.D., ​is a health geographer and data scientist using open science tools and an exploratory data analytic approach to investigate issues of equity across space and time. Her research centers on how “place” impacts health outcomes in different ways, for different people, from opioid risk environments to chronic disease clusters. She focuses on quantifying and distilling the structural determinants of health across different environments, tying socio-ecological models of public health with geocomputational methods and quasi-experimental policy evaluation techniques. Marynia is Principal Investigator of the Healthy Regions and Policies Lab leading multiple projects with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and more. She is the Associate Director of Health Informatics and Senior Lecturer in GIScience at the Center for Spatial Data Science, University of Chicago. She additionally served as a Health and Medical Specialty Group (AAG) board member, was chair of the Chicago Public Health GIS Network, and received the 2020 Nystrom Award for recent dissertation at the American Association of Geographers. She received her Ph.D. in Geography at Arizona State University, M.F.A in Writing from Roosevelt University, M.S. in GIS from John Hopkins University, and B.S. in Geology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



November 4, 2021
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Category:
Jordan Hall 5103
2800 Faucette Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695 United States

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