SPH students use new technology to track diseases
Loma Linda University students are joining the ranks of institutions such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organiza-tion that use cutting-edge technology to understand cause-and-effect relationships between environment and poor health.
With the installation of the TerraSeer® Space-Time Intelli-gence System™ in Loma Linda’s geoinformatics laboratory, public health students will be able to create dynamic maps that animate the life of a disease—its travel through time and across geography. The technology can help students understand patterns for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, West Nile Virus, breast cancer, and SARS and choose how to best act to halt and prevent such maladies.
“Students trained in the program will understand the dynamics that exist in real-world events, clarify complexities, and be able to make better decisions through data analysis and intuitive data understanding,” says Seth Wiafe, MPH, assistant professor and director of the School of Public Health’s health geoinformatics laboratory.
The Space-Time Intelligence System (STIS) Suite allowed TerraSeer scientists to establish patterns of breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer on Long Island in relation to toxic air pollution. Loma Linda students, in turn, can use these same capabilities to study past, hypothetical, or current incidents of disease. The suite, anchored by the Space-Time Intelligence System, and including the analysis modules Boundary-Seer® and ClusterSeer®, is in use by a number of prestigious schools such as Harvard University, MIT, and the University of California at Los Angeles. In addition to teaching and research activities, LLU will also serve as a beta testing site for future TerraSeer software releases.
“We are delighted to see an institution like Loma Linda using TerraSeer software to help address the health issues of the 21st century,” says TerraSeer president Nicholas Jacquez.
TerraSeer is providing the software to Loma Linda for training and research purposes in April and will also grant individual licenses of the Space-Time Intelligence System Suite to students who successfully complete LLU’s 2005 Health Geoinformatics Summer Institute, a graduate certificate program lasting June 20 through September 2.