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About Us

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The Health Statistics and Geography Lab is specialized in analyzing neighborhood environment and public policy impact on health behaviors, health outcomes and health care utilizations. The lab is particularly interested in smoking, obesity, diabetes, physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, age-related cognitive and physical functional decline, accidental falls, traumatic injuries, and associated health care utilizations.

      Analyzing Data

The lab has extensive expertise in analyzing state and community-level socioeconomic, demographic and geospatial data. The group provides a comprehensive array of methodological  research support including geo-coding, US Census data, community environment and disease prevalence mapping, probability sample survey design, web-based database design and operation for large scale multisite population-based surveys, federally funded human subjects studies, advanced statistical and geospatial modeling, and public reporting.

    Environmental Assessment

For neighborhood environment assessment, the lab has developed instruments for objectively assessing community walking and nutrition environment, including the Older Pedestrian Environment Survey (OPES), Community Nutrition Environment Evaluation Data Systems (C-NEEDS), Food Purchasing Surveys and Activity Space and Time Use Surveys. For assessment of health care utilizations, the lab is experienced in analyzing statewide hospital discharge data as well as Medicaid and Medicare claims data.  

     Ongoing Projects

The lab supports Dr. Li’s several ongoing projects on community-based health and environmental studies including the NIA-funded "Neighborhood Risk Factors for Falls in The Elderly" study, NIMHD-funded "Health Care Reform and Disparities in the Care and Outcomes of Trauma Patients" study, and CDC-funded “Removing the Social, Environmental and Family Barriers to Childhood Obesity Prevention”.


 The lab also provides methodological support to the AHRQ-funded FORCE-TJR National Registry of Total Joint Replacement Surgeries, NIH-funded National Consortium for HIV Vaccine Development, and CDC-funded Prevention Research Center at UMass Chan.  The lab collaborates closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and is assisting the department with the design, implementation and evaluation of state-wide public health surveillance and intervention projects.