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Medical Geography


Winston, Jennifer Jane & Emch, Michael E. (2013). Medical Geography.. Warf, Barney (Ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.


Medical geography is concerned with the analysis of spatial patterns of disease and health care provision. John M. Hunter famously defined the field as “the application of geographical concepts and techniques to health-related problems” (Hunter 1974, p. 3; cited under General Overviews). This definition of geography is human-environment interaction through time and space and conceptualizes environmental influences broadly to include the biophysical, built, and social environments. Hunter suggests that medical geography is at the heart of the discipline of geography, because all specialties have something to offer toward the understanding of health problems. The field has been historically divided into (1) studies of disease that often involve mapping and modeling and (2) those that concern geographic aspects of health services. Medical geographic studies of diseases are often placed in the theoretical context of disease ecology. Those that focus on spatial methods are sometimes called spatial or geographic epidemiology studies. The geography of health services is concerned with spatial aspects of access to health care, health care delivery, and the planning of health services. Medical geography is a holistic field that draws on the concepts, theories, and techniques of geography and other social and biophysical sciences. It spans the biological, environmental, and social sciences and uses both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. This bibliography begins with general overview texts and main theories in medical geography. It then moves to applications of these theories in the section Health and the Environment. It describes various methodologies to implement medical geographic theory in the section Mapping Disease and concludes with the section Location and Allocation of Health Services. Building on Hunter’s premise that scholars in a variety of disciplines can and have made important contributions to medical geography, this bibliography includes many articles that are published in journals that are not traditionally considered geography journals.


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Winston, Jennifer Jane
Emch, Michael E.