An Introduction to the Geography of Health: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

An Introduction to the Geography of Health

1st Edition

By Helen Hazen, Peter Anthamatten


304 pages | 12 Color Illus. | 76 B/W Illus.

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Health issues such as the emergence of infectious diseases, the potential influence of global warming on human health, and the escalating strain of increasing longevity and chronic conditions on healthcare systems are of growing importance in an increasingly peopled and interconnected world. A geographic approach to the study of health offers a critical perspective to these issues, considering how changing relationships between people and their environments influence human health.

An Introduction to the Geography of Health provides an accessible introduction to this rapidly growing field, covering theoretical and methodological background. The text is divided into three sections which consider distinct approaches and techniques related to health geographies. Section one introduces ecological approaches, with a focus on how natural and built environments affect human health. For instance, how have irrigation projects influenced the spread of water-borne diseases? How can modern healthcare settings, such as hospitals, affect the spread and evolution of pathogens? Section two discusses social aspects of health and healthcare, considering health as not merely a biological interaction between a pathogen and human host, but as a process that is situated among social factors which ultimately drive who suffers from what, and where disease occurs. Section three then considers spatial techniques and approaches to exploring health, giving special focus to the growing role of cartography and geographic information systems (GIS) in the study of health.

This clearly written text contains a range of pedagogical features including a wealth of global case studies, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter, a colour plate section and over eighty diagrams and figures. The accompanying website also provides presentations, exercises, further resources, and tables and figures. This book is an essential introductory text for undergraduate students studying Geography, Health and Social Studies.


"This book provides an excellent introduction to health geography. The highly accessible writing style, thoughtful organization of subjects, and helpful illustrations make this an ideal book for an undergraduate course in medical or health geography. Interesting and informative case studies, drawing on historical and current events, help to clarify important concepts. The book covers the breadth of the field and incorporates state-of-the-art scholarship in geography and allied disciplines such as anthropology, epidemiology, public health, and development studies. It is sure to inspire a new generation of students to take informed action on today's pressing public health concerns, locally and globally." Eric D. Carter, Grinnell College, USA.

"This timely and welcome addition to the Geography of Health literature draws together an impressive array of international work to consider the interaction of social, ecological and spatial perspectives in understanding how and why health varies at different geographical levels. Wide ranging and pertinent case studies are used to elucidate the theoretical development of the sub-discipline as well as providing detailed methodological guidance to students with interests in health and the environment. This clearly written tome will appeal not only to scholars of Geography but also to those from Sociology, Public Health, Epidemiology and beyond." Jamie Pearce, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Section 1: Ecological Approaches to Human Health 2. Ecological Approaches to Human Health and Environmental Change 3. Demographic Change and Emerging and Resurgent Infectious Diseases 4. Environmental Exposures Section 2: Social Approaches to Health and Healthcare 5. Social and Economic Environments 6. Culture and Identity 7. Power and Politics of Health 8. Geographies of Healthcare Section 3: Spatial Approaches to Human Health 9. Cartography and Visualization of Health Data 10. Health and GIS 11. Integrating Approaches to the Study of the Geography of Health

About the Authors

Peter Anthamatten is Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver, where he teaches health geography, GIS, mapping and cartography courses. Peter’s research interests include investigating the role of urban environments in the obesity epidemic and geographic education.

Helen Hazen is an environmental and medical geographer at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her courses include the Geography of Health and Healthcare and the Geography of Environmental Hazards. Her research interests are focused at the intersection of the natural environment and health.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General