IMAGE OF THE WEEK
Rachel Passmore, a 2014 Penn State geography alumna, studies human geography. She’s worked in India and Grenada and is now enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University. She is featured on the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Youtube Channel.
- The Department of Geography has been recognized by Penn State Environmental Health and Safety as “certified” in meeting the Integrated Safety Plan Phase I requirements.
- Save the date for the Penn State GIS Day on Tuesday, November 13. As more information becomes available, the Penn State GIS Day site will be updated.
- Karen Cox was the April Rock In Role Award winner, selected by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Staff Advisory Committee (SAC). Karen stepped up to assist during renovations that were occurring in the Walker Building. She volunteered to help while a co-worker was on vacation and her help made it possible to meet renovation deadlines in multiple rooms. This allowed a new faculty member to move into their new office on time.
If there is an outstanding staff member you would like to nominate for upcoming Rock In Role awards, submit your nomination by the end of the month. All entries are reviewed and voted on by the SAC at their next meeting.
- Missy Weaver has been selected for the Smart Track to Success program at Penn State World Campus, receiving a scholarship, mentoring, and other resources to help her be successful as a new student.
Morocco’s food landscape has been undergoing a major shift: Obesity is on the rise while traditional, healthy food is becoming more scarce.
Penn State geography researcher Bronwen Powell wants to know what’s driving these trends. To do that, she and her team are on the ground in Morocco investigating how different foods end up in markets and how community members view those foods.
Geographers receiving grants include Denice Wardrop, Megan Baumann, Meg Boyle, and Xi Liu.
Twice a year, Global Programs seeks travel grant applications from faculty and graduate students. The Travel Grant program supports faculty travel related to developing global awareness, global literacy and global competency among our undergraduate population. Graduate students may apply for the grants for assistance with travel to international conferences with the goal of promoting and supporting global leadership in scholarship and international engagements.
Commentary II: New postcolonial insights on gender, indigeneity, and development, and refractions to environment and health issues
Karl S. Zimmerer
Progress in Human Geography
Postcolonialism is at once a vigorous knowledge network, a wide-ranging coalescence of theoretical analysis, a powerful critique of policy, and a practical toolkit used to dissemble and connect ideas and concepts. For the past few decades it has been extensively and productively engaged in rethinking ideas of nature and culture and applying these insights to environment and health issues. The postcolonial perspective on nature and culture has framed understandings of the powerful dynamics of gender, race, and ethnicity that permeate policy and management in these other fields. This perspective has offered major insight into the asymmetrical power relations of persistent social groups (women, indigenous people, Afro-descendants, urban and rural poor) and the entwining of their politically and policy-mediated relation to resource access and certain spaces. In the case of environmental issues, for example, these spaces have included the territories designated as parks, nature reserves, and protected areas.
A Large-Scale Location-based Social Network to Understanding the Impact of Human Geo-Social Interaction Patterns on Vaccination Strategies in an Urbanized Area
Luo W, Gao P, and Cassels S.
Computers, Environment and Urban Systems
Cities play an important role in fostering and amplifying the transmission of airborne diseases (e.g., influenza) because of dense human contacts. Before an outbreak of airborne diseases within a city, how to determine an appropriate containment area for effective vaccination strategies is unknown. This research treats airborne disease spreads as geo-social interaction patterns, because viruses transmit among different groups of people over geographical locations through human interactions and population movement. Previous research argued that an appropriate scale identified through human geo-social interaction patterns can provide great potential for effective vaccination. However, little work has been done to examine the effectiveness of such vaccination at large scales (e.g., city) that are characterized by spatially heterogeneous population distribution and movement. This article therefore aims to understand the impact of geo-social interaction patterns on effective vaccination in the urbanized area of Portland, Oregon. To achieve this goal, we simulate influenza transmission on a large-scale location-based social network to 1) identify human geo-social interaction patterns for designing effective vaccination strategies, and 2) and evaluate the efficacy of different vaccination strategies according to the identified geo-social patterns. The simulation results illustrate the effectiveness of vaccination strategies based on geo-social interaction patterns in containing the epidemic outbreak at the source. This research can provide evidence to inform public health approaches to determine effective scales in the design of disease control strategies.
Development of an Agent-based Model to Investigate the Impact of HIV Self-testing Programs for Men Who Have Sex with Men in Atlanta and Seattle
Luo W, Katz D, Hamilton D, McKennie J, Jenness S, Goodreau S, Stekler J, Rosenberg E, Sullivan P., and Cassels S.
JMIR Public Health Surveillance
In the United States HIV epidemic, men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the most profoundly affected group. Prevention science is increasingly being organized around HIV testing as a launch point into an HIV prevention continuum for MSM who are not living with HIV and into an HIV care continuum for MSM who are living with HIV. An increasing HIV testing frequency among MSM might decrease future HIV infections by linking men who are living with HIV to antiretroviral care, resulting in viral suppression. Distributing HIV self-test (HIVST) kits is a strategy aimed at increasing HIV testing. Our previous modeling work suggests that the impact of HIV self-tests on transmission dynamics will depend not only on the frequency of tests and testers’ behaviors but also on the epidemiological and testing characteristics of the population.
While we dialogue, others die: A response to ‘The possibilities and limits to dialogue’
Derek Alderman, Joshua FJ Inwood
Dialogues in Human Geography
We revisit Martin Luther King Jr’s famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail (2013 ), using his words to frame our thinking about the promise, limits, and efficacy of dialogue. The life and death politics of everyday oppressed people should directly inform any consideration of the merits of scholars engaging in (or disengaging from) dialogue, what they ultimately say, and with whom they engage in dialogue and political action. The stakes are too high—for the academy, broader society, and especially for those groups who bear the direct burden of injustice—not to engage in scholarly dialogue and debate. It is also important for scholars to communicate in resonant ways and enhance the value of their academic dialogue to oppressed groups. The most significant threat to scholarly dialogue is not necessarily from extremists; rather, the challenge lies in creating consequential dialogue with those who remain silent and indifferent in the face of what King called ‘the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed’.