Research Interests  Edward L. Kinman, Ph.D. 

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    My interests center on the geography of health and how to communicate strategic and practical health-related information to various publics. Geography is an attractive rallying point for health inquiry as a population’s well-being is a synthesis of numerous social, economic, and environmental processes at multiple scales, ranging from the household to the global. I am particularly interested in the Health For All (HFA) movement, which advocates a universal HFA value system, makes health central to
    development, and recognizes the importance of sustainable health systems. I am currently pursuing these interests in a number of concurrent projects as well as in classes I teach.

    Since the early 1990s I have been studying the efforts of a U.S.-based non-governmental organization (NGO) to develop a church-based health program in Chilimarca, Bolivia. My early work focused on the utilization of the project’s primary care clinic. I completed a systematic data analysis of various clinic records and a community household survey to ascertain the nascent provision of health services. Findings identified numerous access barriers typical of utilization studies in a multicultural setting, like
    distance decay, language spoken, cost, hours of service, and availability of medicines. In addition, it showed the importance of employing political economy at the micro scale.

    Recently, I have expanded my work to include the role of experienced place. This involves understanding the process that situates health delivery in the simultaneously tangible, negotiated, and experienced realities of place. In such an analysis, the Chilimarca Clinic is not studied as an objectively defined locale with the sole purpose of treating patients. Rather, it is a place with bundles of social relations and practices, producing various experiences and meanings for all associated individuals. I found
    that the increasing use of the clinic by community outsiders reproduced the class tensions found in broader society so that Chilimarca residents felt like the ones who were out of place at the clinic. Experienced place, therefore, had become an access barrier for the very people the facility was ostensibly meant to serve.

    A second foci centers on communicating strategic and practical health-related data to various publics. Automated cartography and geographic information systems (GIS) has transformed the ways in which many people think about and handle spatial information by renewing the importance of the visual image. I have worked on four monographs with the Missouri Department of Health with the goal of improving the accessibility of epidemiological data to the general public. My contribution has been the production and analysis of maps and graphs that visualize the nature of the health problem being addressed. Two of these monographs have already had a wide circulation, with one being used at a national conference sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as a prototype for other state health agencies.

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