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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UAB Uses NASA Data to Determine Public Health Applications

Dr. Leslie A. McClure, professor and head of the Section on Research Methods & Clinical Trials in the department of biostatistics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham—working with Dr. Shia T. Kent, postdoctoral trainee in UAB’s department of epidemiology, as well as collaborators at NASA and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA)—recently described a remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS)-based study that had three objectives: to characterize fine particulate matter (PM2.5), solar insolation, and land surface temperature using NASA satellite observations, EPA ground-level monitor data, and North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) data products on a national scale; to link these data with public health data from the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) national cohort study to determine whether these environmental risk factors are related to cognitive decline, stroke, and other health outcomes; and to disseminate the environmental datasets and public health linkage analyses to end users for decision-making through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) system.

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[Photo: Dr. Leslie A. McClure

This NASA-funded study directly addressed a public health focus of the NASA Applied Sciences Program—which “promotes and funds activities to discover and demonstrate innovative uses and practical benefits of NASA Earth science data, scientific knowledge, and technology”—by addressing issues of environmental health to enhance public health decision-making.

“Environmental Public Health Applications Using Remotely Sensed Data” was published recently in Geocarto International.

Journal article: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10106049.2012.715209#.U_N1cvldWJk